- Officially, Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur is now the second-tallest building in the world, after Burj Khalifa (height: 828 metres) in Dubai.
- Expected to be launched later this year, it will have the highest observiation deck in Southeast Asia.
- A sprawling 7-storey mall is expected to open in 2024.
The Merdeka 118 soars over 2,220 feet high above Malaysia’s capital. The mega-tall tower is a record-breaking skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur, a growing hub of business in southeast Asia renowned for its signature high-rises.
The home of iconic Petronas Twin Towers ranks in the league of ambitious cities, with new engineering wonders that are bigger, taller and more advanced than anything ever built before.
In physical terms, Merdeka 118 is huge. It took more than $1 billion to build.
To build this colossus, thousands of workers were involved in the extraordinary project. They had to battle torrential rains, stifling heat and deadly lightning storms in the tropics.
Here’s all you need to know about Merdeka 118:
Construction and project cost
Ground-breaking was held in February 2016, in a ceremony led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, then the Malaysian prime minister.
The project took an estimated RM5 billion ($1.14 billion).
Merdeka 118 has an overall height to 678.9 meters. That includes the tower's 40-storey spire — equivalent to 160.4-metre/ 526 ft — which was completed on November 30, 2021.
This makes it the tallest man-made structure in South-east Asia and the second-tallest in the world.
As for its spire, visitors will be able to ascend the spire's spiral staircase all the way to its 16th level. The height of 566 meters would be Level 16 inside the spire. The spire will also have perforations to allow air to pass through.
Merdeka is a term in Bahasa Malaysia which means “free”. It is derived from the Sanskrit maharddhika (महर्द्धिक) meaning "rich, prosperous, and powerful". In the Malay archipelago, the term had acquired the meaning “independence.”
When will it officially open?
The tower's completion is a highly-anticipated event. Move in for some of occupants is expected sometime in mid-2023, according to the building's owner, PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd.
“Physically, it will be ready, that means the offices can move in (by then),” Datuk Tengku Ab Aziz Tengku Mahmud, CEO of PNB Merdeka Ventures told local media.
The 118 Mall, which occupies 7 storeys of the skyscraper, is expected to open in 2024.
Who designed and built it?
The triangular glass planes on the building's facade were inspired by patterns found in Malaysian arts and crafts —even as it also symbolically represents “the rich cultural mix that defines the people of the country”.
The building was designed by Fender Katsalidis, Melbourne-based architects who are behind two tallest buildings in Melbourne the 297-meter Eureka Tower (2006) and the 317-metre Australia 108 (2020). Fender Katsalidis works with RSP KL for the project.
The main contractors are Samsung C&T and UEM Group. Samsung C&T is also the same company that built Dubai’s Burj Khalifa jointly with Besix.
What are the facilities?
According to the developer, PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd, Merdeka 118 will have the following:
- 3.1 million square feet of floor space
- 1.7 million square feet of top-grade office spaces, distributed over 83 floors — from level 8 to level 96.
- 17 storeys earmarked for Park Hyatt hotel, the first in Malaysia.
- 252 hotel guest rooms — from levels 98 to 112.
- A 7-storey shopping center called the "118 Mall" (expected in 2024)
- 6 storeys of underground parking
- 8,100 parking spaces are located directly below the office floors.
- The View at 118 (115, 116, and a mezzanine floor within level 116)
- 87: lifts/elevators
- 40-storey spire, illuminated by 865 LED lights
- 100% rainwater harvesting system, to water the outdoor greenery within the precinct.
- Directly connected with its own Merdeka MRT station (also has access to 2 LRT stations at Plaza Rakyat & Hang Tuah)
- Access to 2 monorail stations at Maharajalela & Hang Tuah.
Local media reported that PNB would be the first to occupy the space when the tower is complete.
The Park Hyatt, the tallest hotel in Kuala Lumpur and the first Park Hyatt property to open in Malaysia, will contain 252 guest rooms and the tower's highest eating location.
The hotel is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2023.
It will be highest viewing deck in Southeast Asia, reachable through a lift that takes little over a minute to reach the 115th floor. It will offer unrivalled a 360-degree view of Kuala Lumpur’s urban landscape.
Merdeka 118 is also expected to be one of the capital’s poshest retail and residential experiences, even as the 7-storey mall will open a new retail experience for residents and visitors alike.
“This is a major investment to contribute to the urban development of Kuala Lumpur,” said Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Group Chairman of the Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), the tower’s developer and one of the largest fund management companies in Malaysia.
There’s no doubt Merdeka 118, an engineering feat and an iconic tower for the future, will be a place of celebration for the city and the world.