Government to redevelop part of old headquarters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 April, 2012, 12:00am

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The government may give up its plan to sell part of the historic Government Hill to developers, but it is resolved to redevelop the west wing of its former headquarters.

'Our stance on the west wing of the old Central Government Offices has remained unchanged ... it will be demolished for redevelopment,' a Development Bureau spokesman said yesterday.

He was responding to a media report that the plan to sell the site and demolish the building, which harks back to 1959, had been dropped.

People familiar with the project say even though the government is retaining ownership of the site, it will proceed with its redevelopment. They say an announcement will be made later. It is unclear how the building will be redeveloped.

A proposal to hand the site to Hong Kong's stock exchange to build a Grade A commercial tower was once mooted.

Another option is to get the Architectural Services Department to design a building plan for the site. A group of designers also proposed retaining the facade of the west wing.

In 2009, the government said the west wing would be replaced with a 32-storey office tower and a shopping mall, but the rest of the headquarters would be retained.

The plan came under immediate attack from historians, architects and conservationists.

Retired officials and the wing's architect, Michael Wright, later argued that the west wing should be preserved to protect the integrity of Government Hill, which has been in existence since the city's colonisation in the mid-19th century.

The Antiquities Advisory Board has also asked for a review opportunity. A board member yesterday called for the government to withhold any decision before the board meets on May 15.

The Government Hill Concern Group said it would only accept 'no demolition and no sale'.