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Existing view of Mallory Street project
Existing view of Mallory Street project
Artist's impression of  Mallory Street revitalisation project
Artist's impression of Mallory Street revitalisation project
Comix Home Base
Comix Home Base
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Venue set up

Hong Kong Arts Centre awarded the Main Operator contract for Mallory Street/Burrows Street Revitalisation Project

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Friday) announced that the Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC) has been awarded the contract for the Main Operator of Mallory Street/Burrows Street Revitalisation Project ("Art Community") in a public tender exercise.

Announcing the tender result at a media briefing this afternoon, the Chairman of the URA, Mr Barry Cheung, said: "In the coming year, the URA will work closely with HKAC to design and complete a custom-built environment at the Mallory Street project for the cultural and creative industries based on its innovative proposal. Upon its completion in mid-2012, this project will provide members of the public a venue for enjoyment of a variety of cultural activities."

Mr Cheung pointed out that the URA had made three new and unprecedented records in this project which comprises the revitalisation of a cluster of 10 pre-war Grade 2 historic buildings into a hub for culture and creative industries.

First, this is the first pure preservation cum revitalisation project of the URA since its set up in 2001. In recent years, the URA has also launched three other preservation/revitalisation projects, namely, the Prince Edward Road West/Yuen Ngai Street and Shanghai Street/Argyle Street projects and the Central Oasis revitalisation project. All three projects do not have any redevelopment elements.

Second, this is the first project designed to promote cultural and creative industries.

Third, the tender conditions of this project are virtually different from those of URA's other projects.  While the operator is not obligated to pay to the URA any money for operating the project, the URA would pay the operator on a monthly basis a sum to cover the operating costs on management, operation, promotion and marketing.  The Authority would also shoulder all property management expenses such as repairs and maintenance, security, cleansing and so on. Under such an operating mode together with an incentive arrangement, the Main Operator could focus on planning, promotion and organisation of their programmes and activities for the "Art Community".

Mr Cheung then briefly mentioned the development of the Mallory Street revitalisation project, noting that the Authority has in accordance with the approved plans preserved six buildings of four-storey at Mallory Street and the façade of the Burrows Street buildings as well as to provide a 300-square metre public open space.

To meet the requirements of the prevailing Building Ordinance, there are certain modifications made to the cluster to provide lift installation for the disabled, fire escape staircases and other facilities.

In search for the best operating mode for this project designed with a theme of cultural and creative activities, the URA appointed a consultant team led by Professor Desmond Hui in June 2009 to study its operation mode and development plan.  Findings of the research study, which has made reference to overseas experiences of similar projects as well, have proposed an "Art Community" operation model.

The Main Operator of the revitalised building cluster will serve as a facility manager, an event organiser as well as a branding agent responsible for property management, organising events and daily operation, in addition to teaming up with various tenants/operators.

As for venue set-up, it comprises:

  1. Ground floor shops facing streets will be art-related retail stores;
  2. Small-scale food & beverage facilities will be located at the first floor to help form an audience base for the "Art Community";
  3. The second and third floor areas will be used as work spaces, and venues for events and exhibitions; and
  4. The 300-metre public open space will be used for holding events and activities by the resident and non-resident organisations.

Mr Cheung said the compensation and development cost of the project is estimated at about $200 million.  "The future incomes generated from the "Art Community" might only be able to pay back our investment cost incurred over a very long period, but we hope it can definitely benefit the public by preserving and revitalising the buildings to provide a hub of cultural and creative activities for the operators and the public."

Mr Cheung said consideration was being given to the introduction of an art and culture element in the future URA projects as well its programmes and the URA Board would soon examine the formulation of an art policy or practice related to urban renewal in due course.

At the media briefing, Executive Director of Aedas Ltd, Mr Kyran Sze, explained the design features and architectural concept for the project while the Executive Director of the HKAC, Ms Connie Lam, touched on its theme and direction of operating the revitalisation project.

She said: "The HKAC is very pleased to work with the URA in this fascinating revitalisation project.  Being enthusiastic and experienced in promoting art culture, the HKAC will endeavour to turn the Mallory Street revitalisation project into a Comix Home Base and setting it as a platform for art exchange and interaction locally and overseas. We would try our best to develop it as a significant cultural landmark for Wan Chai."

The URA has adopted an open and transparent tender process for the project. On 16 July 2010, the URA invited interested parties to express interest in the services via press release and newspaper advertisements. A total of nine EOI submissions were received on 16 August 2010 and a briefing was held on 14 January 2011.

A total of six tender proposals were received on 1 March 2011 for the Main Operator of the revitalisation project.  A Technical Review Panel comprising of URA Board members and outside expert members, after careful consideration of all tender submissions in respect of experience, track records and capability to establish and manage a creative community comprising operators from various sectors of the creative industry, has awarded the Main Operator contract lasting for five years to the HKAC.