Chief Executive visits Central Market (with photos/video)

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (May 5) visited Central Market to be updated on its revitalisation and the on-going public consultation of the four design concepts.

     Accompanied by the Chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), Mr Barry Cheung, the Chief Executive visited the "Central Oasis" design concept roving exhibition at the Oasis Gallery on the second floor. He was briefed on the four design concepts, which are themed "Urban Cocoon", "Central Gateway", "UFO (Urban Floating Oasis) and the New Marketplace" and "A Living Heritage".  The four concepts are based on mainstream public views as well as on studies of the structural conditions of the building and its main architectural features.  The conceptual designs serve to facilitate public understanding of the different feasible design concepts and to encourage feedback.

     Launched last month, the territory-wide roving exhibition moved back to Central Market on May 3 and will remain there until this Friday.  The URA will take into account public preferences as well as other practical considerations in formulating the final design guidelines for tendering the architectural design work for the project.

     Mr Tsang went inside the market building and was briefed on its structural conditions and special architectural features.

     "I have been living in Central for many years and have many fond memories of Central Market.  As a child, I always went with my mother to shop here.  Later on, I came here with my wife and made friends with many stall owners.  The market was a very convenient, friendly and vibrant place," Mr Tsang said.

     In his 2009-10 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced that Central Market would be conserved and revitalised.  The revitalisation plan will help improve the air ventilation in the neighbourhood and provide leisure space rarely found in this busy area for white collar workers, residents and tourists.

     "The Central District is home to our financial sector.  Here, the demand for prime office space is keen. Yet we still need to strike a fine balance between development and the revitalisation and conservation of buildings with historic significance and architectural interest," Mr Tsang said.

     "I believe that with a broad-based public participation in the design process, Central Market will become a popular hangout spot in the future."

     He urged the public to give their views on the design concepts to take the project forward.

     The Central Oasis Community Advisory Committee will soon discuss the views of the public on the four conceptual designs and the mode of operation of the future Central Oasis.  In the months ahead, the URA plans to proceed with the tender exercise for the architectural design.  It hopes to invite Expressions of Interest by the end of this year.  The first phase of the revitalised market building should be completed in 2015 with full commissioning in 2018.

     Central Market underwent a number of partial demolition and alteration works throughout its nearly 80-year history. The current form of the building is the result of the fourth generation modification works. The building has not been used since 2003.

Ends/Thursday, May 5, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:16