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Site plan of Graham Street market.
Artist's impression of the two-story block for accommodating wet market shops. (Viewing from Graham Street).
Artist’s impression of the two-story block for accommodating wet market shops. (Viewing from Gage Street)

Makeover of Graham Street Market

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) will adopt tactical measures along with the implementation of the Peel Street/Graham Street project in order to keep the nearby century-old market intact as well as to enhance its vibrancy.

At a media briefing to announce details of these measures after the URA Board meeting today (Monday), the Chairman of URA, Mr Barry Cheung, said:  "These measures are targeted to ensure that business is as usual in the market during the construction of the project and to prevent it from further shrinking as a result of natural gentrification already taking place there."

The URA has heard the voices of the community to retain the market when it announced the Peel Street/Graham Street project in 2007.  These arrangements are mapped out in response to the aspirations of the community which called for extra efforts to revitalise the market because of its long history and significant local character, he added.

Strictly speaking, the market is outside the boundary of the Peel Street/Graham Street project.  Nevertheless, the URA considers it as a golden opportunity to improve the living environment of residents in dilapidated buildings as well as to help saved the market from further shrinking.

To achieve this end, the URA has mapped out a comprehensive plan to address the needs and requirements of shops and stalls operating in the market.  Construction work will be carried out in stages to minimize inconvenience to market stall operators and users.

"First, the affected shop operators will be allowed to continue their operations until actual construction or demolition takes place," Mr Cheung explained.

Second, safety hoardings and decorative protection will only be erected on either side of the streets at any one time so as to allow them to continue their businesses.

Arrangements will also be made to market-related wet provision shops within the redevelopment area, under which they will be temporarily re-located within the three sites of the project.

Third, upon completion of the project, priority will be given to these shop operators to be accommodated at market rent in the future two-storey retail shop building which is easily accessible from all directions.

We have also reserved storage space totalling some 300 square metres in the project for hawker stall operators who need to rent additional space for storing their goods, Mr Cheung added.

"Though the proposed phased development will result in a longer redevelopment period of up to 18 to 24 months with an additional development cost of about $200 million, we have considered it worthwhile to undertake these measures so as to save the shrinking market and to enhance its vibrancy," said Mr. Cheung.  The original development cost for the project is estimated at $3.8 billion.

To improve traffic flow in the area, there will be no residential carpark for private cars.  Only one basement carpark will be provided for loading and unloading activities.

The URA has been actively engaging the community and stakeholders in planning for the project since 2005.  "All along, we have attached a great deal of importance to the preservation of historical elements in our projects whenever possible. While the Master Layout Plan for the project has been approved by the Town Planning Board (TPB) in May 2007, the URA, in response to call for extra efforts in preservation, set up a Conservation Advisory Panel comprising local District Council members, residents and hawker representatives, historians and experts to advise on the heritage and hawker related issues," said Mr. Cheung.

The URA is going to hold a public forum early next month to solicit community views on the above measures. "I sincerely call on members of the public to come forward to make known their views and to join hands with URA to enliven this century-old market,' said Mr Cheung.