Whampoa Garden to get facelift
By DON LYONS
HUTCHISON Whampoa is spending an estimated $200 million on refurbishing its Whampoa Garden housing estate in Hunghom in an attempt to turn the area into a regional shopping hub.
The Whampoa Garden development is one of the largest residential developments in Hong Kong, but according to Tony Tsui Kin-tung, commercial manager with Hutchison Whampoa, it does not yet have much regional appeal.
'Virtually all of the consumers are local residents. We don't have an MTR stop so traditionally we have only attracted local residents. But with the recent completion of the Hutchison hotel and the adjacent office complex more people are coming to the Whampoa Garden area,' he said.
Company officials also said the construction of the multi-billion dollar Hunghom Bypass will help boost shopping traffic in the area since Tsim Sha Tsui residents will have easy access to shopping and leisure amenities in the Whampoa Garden area.
At the same time, Mr Tsui said a number of massive residential and commercial projects, including the Hunghom reclamation site and the redevelopment of the Hok Un power station, will mean a huge increase in the day-to-day population of the area.
By the most conservative of estimates, it is envisioned that the population working and living in the Whampoa area would increase by as much as 100,000 people.
Company officials said the time is right to spruce up the retail component of Whampoa Garden in order to be ready for the influx of consumers. Mr Tsui said the existing retail layout in Whampoa Garden 'is fragmented and lacks identity'.
With the downturn in retail spending, the competition for consumer dollars is all the more intense, with retailing becoming more difficult, he said.
'So what we are trying to do is to bring all of this together and make it a quality attraction,' said Mr Tsui.
Under the theme of 'Celebration of Life', the 1.4 million square feet of retail space, pavement and general surroundings throughout Whampoa Garden are being given a major facelift.
When completed, the development will provide an integrated shopping environment with different categories of megastores, shopping arcades and entertainment facilities, each to be located at a specific site within the development.
The various themes include Fashion World, Bridal World, Book World with Hong Kong's largest bookstore, Home World with the largest ever Park 'N Shop, and Screen World.
According to Mr Tsui, the whole process will be done in stages as current tenant leases expire.
He said the company and its consultants, which includes First Pacific Davies (FPD), came up with the shopping theme concept because the retail outlets are scattered around the Whampoa development.
Part of the $200 million will be spent on improving streetscapes which will be used to link up the various retail outlets.
Hutchison Whampoa said the work should be finished by the end of the year.