Public consultation for Mallory Street project begins
A two-month public consultation exercise for the Urban Renewal
Authority (URA)'s Mallory Street revitalization project in Wan
Chai, a pilot project to help foster Hong Kong's development of
cultural and creative industries, begins today (Wednesday).
Announcing the territory-wide consultation initiative for the project, Miss Maria Tam, URA Board member and Chairperson of a Special Committee for the project, said: "This project is such a new and unprecedented attempt that we consider it very important to widely consult the general public as well as the prospective operators."
The Special Committee is formed by the URA's Wan Chai District Advisory Committee (DAC) with representatives of the Wan Chai District Council and District Office.
The consultation exercise aims to collect views and suggestions from both the general public and operators in the cultural and creative industries. While the general public will be asked for their aspirations and the trade mix they would like to see in the project, the views of operators will be sought specifically on the architecture design, rent level, mode of self-supporting operational management, etc.
A detailed consultative document and questionnaire will be sent to operators in the creative and cultural industries by mail. Copies for the general public are available at all District Offices and the URA Neighbourhood Centres. Besides, members of the public can download the document and questionnaire from the URA Website at www.ura.org.hk or send in their views by email.
"We want to stress that we do not have any preconceived idea of precisely what the trade mix should be and how the project should be run. We are completely open to any sensible and practicable theme, variety of cultural and creative industries and mode of management that may be proposed, as long as they are deemed sustainable and compatible with the goal of fostering the cultural and creative industries," Miss Tam said.
The consultation will last until 30 November 2005.
Occupying an area of about 8,400 square feet, the project stands at a site which currently has two rows of "Tong Lau" comprising 10 Grade II listed buildings.
Subject to the approval of the Executive Council and the Town Planning Board, the URA proposes to invest $100 million to redesign, restore and refurbish six buildings of four-storey at Mallory Street to provide about 20 partitioned units of about 650 square feet each for individual users.
The remaining four buildings at Burrows Street, which are in a very poor condition, will be demolished to make way for a 3,000-square foot theme garden for public enjoyment. Nevertheless, an effort will be made to retain the façade of the Burrows Street buildings, if technically feasible.
As there is a limit to the number of operators this pilot project can accommodate, we have to be very careful on the selection of future users, Miss Tam said.
Depending on the time required for completing the necessary statutory planning procedures, it might be possible for construction work to commence in 2006 and be completed in 2008.
Miss Tam said the project would greatly improve the living standard of the existing residents at the site, provide a custom-built environment for cultural and creative business operators to try out innovations and new ideas as well as create a positive rippling effect by catalyzing more economic activities and interests in the neighbourhood.
Of the $100 million development cost, about $62 million is estimated for acquisition and rehousing. It is targeted that the project will be self-supporting in day-to-day operation.