Colonial beauty up for sale

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2005, 12:00am

A colonial house on Kotewall Road, Mid-Levels, built between the two world wars, is available to anyone who has the cash and a taste for Hong Kong's golden age of spacious, gracious homes.

Stone House is the property of Charles Wysocki, an expatriate lawyer who says he is taking the opportunity to sell at a time when property prices are on the rise. He plans to invest the proceeds in a business venture in Japan.

The two-storey building is 3,128 square feet in size, with mezzanine bedrooms and a grand staircase. The property is impressive in every way. For example, the granite external wall is six feet thick, and the ceilings are 17 feet high.

Mr Wysocki bought the house 13 years ago from antique car collector Yeung Tak-hang.

He and his family lived in the house for four years and only moved out when their first child was born as they did not consider it a suitable place to bring up children. The house has been rented out since.

Stone House was built in 1923, and during the late 1940s was home to the Foreign Correspondents Club.

In November 1997, the property was declared a Grade III listed historical building by the Historical Buildings and Structures Committee of the Antiques and Monuments Office. A Grade III listing does not impose restrictions on renovation or redevelopment.

There had been reports that the building was to be redeveloped as a 10-storey residential block, but Mr Wysocki said the Stone House property included a number of shares in a neighbouring building. Redevelopment would have probably meant getting the consent of the owners of the second building.

Mr Wysocki said he hoped the house would not fall victim to the wrecker's ball.

'We hope that whoever buys the property will preserve it as part of our Hong Kong cultural and architectural heritage, and not destroy it to build box flats. This will be one of our considerations when we are vetting potential buyers. You can tell the way somebody looks at a house whether he or she will love it or not,' Mr Wysocki said.

During the years Mr Wysocki occupied Stone House, the property was used as a set for the making of three movies and four music videos.