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Western Market gets go-ahead for revitalisation

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Friday) announced that it has awarded a contract for the management, maintenance and letting of the Western Market to the Telford Recreation Club Limited.

Earlier the URA invited 20 interested parties to submit detailed proposals for the operation of the Western Market, a preserved historic building in Edwardian architectural style. Three proposals were received.

After careful deliberation, the URA Board accepted the recommendation of an assessment panel to award the contract to the Telford Recreation Club.

The proposal by the Telford Recreation Club is to revitalise the Western Market with a judicious mix of cultural entertainment, classical dancing, stylish delicatessens and special interest shopping. Interior redecoration and rearrangement will be designed in such a way that visitors will find the venerable place not only leisurely but also appreciable with a touch of finesse and nostalgic elegance in both Chinese and Western style.

"It is clearly the best proposal for attracting more local and overseas visitors to the Western Market. And it also provides a financially viable package that justifies the URA's continued commitment to the preservation and operation of the historic building," a URA spokesman said.

"The key to sustaining the preservation of a historic building like the Western Market is to bring it back to life and make it enjoyable to the general public, while maintaining its historic architecture and value carefully.

"The proposal by the new operator fits this requirement very well," the spokesman said.

Built in 1906, the three-storey building in Sheung Wan occupies a gross floor area of about 40,000 square feet, of which about 9,700 square feet on the first floor has been tenanted to a number of specialist cloth traders.

The contract will be effective 1 May 2003 with an initial lease term of five years, subject to further extension. The new operator will be given full responsibility not only for all business operations but also the preservation and maintenance works for the building.