West wing given top heritage status, made historic building

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 6:16pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 9:48pm

The Antiquities Advisory Board has given the city’s top heritage classification to the west wing of the government’s former headquarters in Central at a meeting on Monday.

The block was saved from demolition when the government abandoned a plan to redevelop it into commercial buildings, in a U-turn decision two weeks ago.

At Monday’s meeting, the board voted to give the 53-year-old building a grade one status – up from its grade two status. Twelve members voted for grade one while eight voted to maintain grade two. There were two abstentions.

Grade one means a building has outstanding merit and should be preserved if possible. Grade two indicates a structure of special merit that should be “selectively preserved”.

Under a government plan announced early this month, the block will be used as offices for the Department of Justice and international legal organisations.

The latest grading has brought the west wing into line with the main and east wings of the former government complex.

Outgoing board chairman Bernard Chan said the members’ vote reflected the public’s hopes over the building’s fate.

The west wing was given grade two status by the board in June – which would not necessarily stop its demolition – to make way for a 32-storey commercial building.

At that time, the government said the west wing had lower historical value than the main and east wings of the complex.