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What you can expect from the world’s second tallest building Merdeka 118 and 118 Mall

It’s official. Despite being only 85% complete as of writing, Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka 118 is the world’s second tallest building, reaching a final height of 678.9 metres.

Its imposing scale means that the tower is dwarfed only by the 830-metre-tall Burj Khalifa and, by extension, surpassing three other edifices shaping KL’s skyline – the Petronas Twin Towers and the Exchange 106.  

Originally slated to finish in 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic and concomitant lockdown led to a delay to the construction progress. The 118-storey megatall skyscraper, inclusive of 5 subterranean floors, is set to open in late 2022. 

Merdeka 118
Merdeka 118 Office and Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Drop-off

Who will occupy Merdeka 118?  

The development began in 2014 under the purview of Permodalan Nasional, one of Malaysia’s most valuable fund management companies. Among its extensive ownership are conglomerates Sime Darby and UMW, as well as developer SP Setia.  

Valued at an eye-watering RM5 billion, the mixed-use development is carved upon an historical enclave. The Fender Katsalidis-designed tower forms the centrepiece of phase 1 and 2. Phase 3 of the project is envisaged to be completed by 2025.  

Merdeka 118 is expected to usher in a new age for its derelict and storied surroundings. Adjacent landmarks to the precinct such as Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara will witness renewed interest from tourists and business travellers. Immediate tourist areas feeding the precinct include the bustling Petaling Street and the rejuvenated Kampung Attap.   

Merdeka 118
Merdeka 118 Observation Deck

Characterised by a dominant, peripheral 160-metre-tall spire, the building’s architecture is drawn upon the iconic imagery of the country’s founding father Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s ceremonial hand-raising gesture, declaring the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom, on 31 August 1957.  

The skyscraper extends 518.2 metres to the roof. A secondary observation deck, located within the spire, operates at 566 metres, instantly making it the tallest of its kind in Southeast Asia. 

According to DesignBoom, Merdeka 118 offers in excess of 3.1 million square feet of floor area and 1.7 million square feet of office space. Permodalan Nasional will occupy 60 of the total 80 storeys reserved as offices, while the remaining floors are set aside for other commercial and non-lettable purposes.  

The tower will be the first in Malaysia to receive a triple platinum green rating for its environmentally conscious design. Another headline-making tenant is the country’s first-ever Park Hyatt, putting down roots on the top-most 17 floors. The luxury lodging comprises 232 units, including 28 suites and 30 apartments. 

118 Mall joins Kuala Lumpur’s burgeoning retail landscape 

Being both skyscraper and shopping complex-obsessed, the capital of Malaysia is also welcoming another retail component beneath the looming shadow of Merdeka 118. 118 Mall differentiates itself from other established complexes through four acres of greenery and linear park

The modern retail podium facilitates natural lighting through an expansive glass dome. The complex is spread across 7 floors, with approximately one million square feet lettable. The centrepiece is a multi-tier water feature anchoring on the local culture. Although not much information on tenants is available as of writing, the mall is divided into various sections, including the self-explanatory Eat Street and Malaysian Artisan District. It is anticipated to open in 2022.  

Masjid Merdeka
Masjid Merdeka

As part of the masterplan, citing the Edge, Permodalan Nasional will also institute a textile museum highlighting Malay fabrics and Masjid Merdeka, a contemporary mosque capable of holding up to 3,000 worshippers.  

Three luxurious residential buildings will encircle the tower. As reported by the Sun, one of which is already taken up by Oakwood Premier. The second Oakwood property in town is on course to open by 2024. 

The Merdeka 118 Community Grants Programme

Citing PNB president and group CEO Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, The Edge reported that the Merdeka 118 development will have a wider reverberation. The Merdeka 118 Community Grants Programme has been created to power new social endeavours. Initiatives eligible for the grant must be located in the Petaling Street and Jalan Hang Tuah precincts; the Sports Quadrant, consisting of Stadium Merdeka, Stadium Negara, the Malaysian Association of Basketball, Stadium Chin Woo and the Olympic Council of Malaysia Sports Museum; in addition to the Kampung Attap and Pudu precincts.

How can you get to Merdeka 118? 

Merdeka 118 is connected to the Merdeka MRT and Plaza Rakyat LRT stations. It is also within walking distance to Hang Tuah LRT and monorail stations, both are linked with Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport Kuala Lumpur. 

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Hero and feature images by David Gan/Getty Images. All other images by Merdeka 118 unless stated otherwise

Justin Ng
Digital Content Director, Kuala Lumpur
Often think of myself as a journalist and so I delve deeper into a range of topics. Talk to me about current affairs, watches, travel, drinks, new experiences and more importantly, the business, economics and dynamics behind it.
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