GEORGE TOWN: The only KFC outlet in the state operating at a pre-war mansion along Larut Road here, will be shuttered for good next week after the restaurant chain decided to cease its operations there for undisclosed reasons.
The outlet opened in June 1987 and has since been a favourite hangout for schoolchildren and adults alike.
Prior to the fast food chain’s opening, it was the home of Penang’s first millionaire industrialist, Lim Cheng Teik. He was also the youngest George Town municipal commissioner at the age of 26.
Lim was described as the “most travelled Chinese in Malaya” by the Pinang Gazette and the Straits Chronicle newspapers in colonial times.
He owned several mansions in Penang and is remembered through a road named after him off Kelawei Road, the Medan Lim Cheng Teik.
The 1916-built mansion is called the “Limburg” and has been classified as a “castle mansion” resembling the chateaux of the Loire Valley during the French Renaissance period, according to author Jon Sun Hock Lim.
In Lim’s book “The Penang House and The Straits Architect 1887 -1941”, made available by the Penang Heritage Trust, the Limburg is among the most “outstanding” architectural structures of the Straits Settlements in the 20th century.
The Limburg was designed by architect Henry Neubronner and draughtsman Chew Eng Eam.
When contacted, local KFC franchise owner QSR Brands (M) Holding Bhd’s managing director Mohamed Azahari Mohamed Kamil said the branch would be closed on March 16 as both the building owner and QSR had reached a “mutual agreement” to not renew the tenancy for the building.
He said the 22 staff at the branch would be transferred to other outlets.
Meanwhile, checks by FMT this evening showed the outlet was busier than usual, with many getting into the compound to take pictures of the building.
Jason Tan, 25, an insurance agent, fondly remembered how his parents used to bring him there as a kid to reward him for excellent grades in school.
“I remember playing at the playground on the right side of the building when I was in Standard One. It was the best playground around at that time,” he said.