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Haw Par Music to cease operation from December 1
     The Government today (September 9) announced that Haw Par Music will cease operation from December 1, 2022. The historic building of Haw Par Mansion, which is its base of operation, will be returned to the Government on the same day.
     Haw Par Music is a project under Batch III of the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme (Revitalisation Scheme). It was restored and revitalised from Haw Par Mansion by the non-profit-making organisation, Haw Par Music Foundation Limited (HPMF), through the Revitalisation Scheme. Having commenced operation in April 2019, Chinese and Western music training is offered, regular free guided tours are held and the garden and interpretation area of Haw Par Mansion is open to the public.
     HPMF informed the Government that Haw Par Music has been facing multiple challenges during its operation which affected its income and business operation. Despite efforts in trying to improve the financial situation of Haw Par Music, the operator considers operation of the project no longer sustainable and proposed to discontinue the tenancy agreement, which was originally due to expire on March 31, 2025. After detailed discussions between the Government and HPMF, it is mutually agreed to return the historic building to the Government.
     HPMF will continue to be responsible for managing Haw Par Mansion before early termination of the tenancy agreement on December 1, 2022. Haw Par Mansion will remain open for public visits, and activities already planned will continue to be held.
     A spokesman for the Development Bureau said, "We respect the operator's decision and will take over Haw Par Mansion on December 1, 2022, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement. Though the operator will leave the site, Haw Par Mansion has already been successfully restored and properly preserved through this revitalisation project. We will formulate plans for its future use in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Built Heritage Conservation, including the consideration of incorporating this historic building (Grade 1) into the next Batch (Batch VII) of the Revitalisation Scheme for application by eligible organisations. During the transitional period, the Development Bureau will arrange guided tours, etc for the public to visit this historic building. Details will be announced later."
     Under the Revitalisation Scheme, non-profit-making organisations are required to provide services in historic buildings in the form of social enterprise. The Government will provide a one-off grant to cover the costs of major renovations to the historic buildings, charge only a nominal rent for their usage, and offer a grant at a ceiling of $5 million on an as-needed basis to help the operator meet the startup costs and operating deficits (if any) of the social enterprises for a maximum of the first two years of operation. In addition, in order to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Government has provided direct subsidies of $3 million and $1 million to the non-profit making organisations running existing projects under the Revitalisation Scheme (including Haw Par Music) under the second and sixth rounds the Anti-epidemic Fund measures in 2020 and 2022 respectively, and also assisted the operating organisations in promoting local heritage tourism and provided related subsidies.
Ends/Friday, September 9, 2022
Issued at HKT 15:20
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