Sailors' haunt aims to go up in world

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2012, 12:00am


An organisation that has been welcoming the world's navies to Hong Kong for decades is hoping to offer them better hospitality in future by expanding their centre at Wan Chai's Fenwick Pier.

The Servicemen's Guides Association wants to add a restaurant, lounge and an arts space by extending a single-storey section of its base three floors upwards.

It is putting its plan to the government-appointed Harbourfront Commission on Thursday, arguing it needs the extra space to cope with an increasing number of sailors seeking their advice and hospitality.

It says it received more than 36,500 naval visitors last year and expected to see more than 40,000 this year. In the next few years, arrivals were projected to rise 10 per cent, it said. In 2009, it received a record 55,000 visitors and 55 ships moored at Fenwick Pier itself.

The number 'far exceeds those arriving from overseas for the Rugby Sevens', it said, highlighting the economic benefits. The Sevens attracted 21,391 overseas visitors last year, according to a spectator survey conducted by the Tourism Board.

The non-profit organisation, which was set up more than 55 years ago, previously extended part of its centre from one-storey to four in 1993.

The new plan would not exceed a height limit of 23 metres above sea level as specified in its land lease, it said. The association intended to offer an open space on the rooftop that would be accessible to the public 24 hours a day.

An elevated walkway connected to the Academy for Performing Arts is also proposed.

The site has been leased from the Lands Department on a short-term basis since an original long-term lease expired in 1997. A department spokeswoman said the proposal was at a preliminary stage and involved issues of land rights and land use.