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Grant of site of former Central Market to Urban Renewal Authority for revitalisation
     The Government announced today (March 29) that the Chief Executive in Council has approved in principle that the site of the former Central Market be granted to the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) by private treaty for a term of 21 years to enable the URA to conserve and revitalise the Central Market Building.

     The URA announced in September 2015 that it would adopt a simplified design in conserving and revitalising the Central Market Building. The Town Planning Board approved in September 2016 the relevant planning approval conditions for the revised design of the revitalisation project. The URA is proceeding to implement the Central Market revitalisation project in accordance with the conditions of the planning approval, and the views put forth by the Community Advisory Committee established by the URA after an extensive public engagement exercise.

     "The grant of the site of the former Central Market to the URA demonstrates the Government's commitment to supporting the URA in preserving and revitalising the Central Market Building in accordance with the views gathered in the public engagement exercise," a spokesman for the Development Bureau said.

     The Community Advisory Committee established by the URA conducted an extensive public engagement exercise between 2009 to 2011 to collect and understand public views on the preferred uses, facilities and operation approaches to be adopted for the revitalised Central Market Building. There was public consensus that the operation model should have due regard to heritage conservation and public enjoyment, and should not aim at maximising profit. The URA will ensure that the tenants of the revitalised Central Market Building will aim at providing affordable goods and services, and that greenery and public space will be provided.

     To support the URA in preserving and revitalising the former Central Market Building in accordance with public consensus, the Government will grant the site at a nominal land premium. Also, in view of the significant capital investment outlay for the revitalisation project and the need to achieve financial sustainability, the term of the land grant is fixed at 21 years. The Government will negotiate with the URA to work out the detailed terms of the land grant and the relevant agreement.

     The URA expects to commence the construction works within this year as soon as various approvals are obtained, and will endeavour to complete the revitalisation project before the end of 2021 for early enjoyment by the public. The Government will grant a five-year short-term tenancy to the URA to enable the latter to carry out construction works at an early stage.
Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:00
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