Plans for Peak mansion demolished
But winning proposals for three other historic sites mean Hong Kong gets a music school, media museum and a new generation of leaders
Neither wedding ceremonies nor calligraphy were deemed good enough to grace the rescued historic mansion on The Peak, King Yin Lei, according to the government's committee on revitalising historic buildings.
However, chairman Bernard Chan announced the committee has decided that fate for three other historic venues.
The Haw Par Mansion in Tai Hang will go to a charity foundation founded by the mansion's former owner Sally Aw Sian and will become a music school.
The former Fanling Magistracy will go to the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and teach leadership skills.
And the Bridges Street Market in Sheung Wan will become a media museum under the Journalism Education Foundation.
It was a bad news day for Lifestyle Group, which runs the century-old Western Market in Sheung Wan, and the Ink Society led by Alice King Tung Chee-ping, sister of former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, whose plans for King Yin Lei fell flat.
Explaining the decision, Chan said: "The whole society has made a huge effort to save the mansion, including swapping a site with the owner. We have high expectations of its future use."
Declining to specify the shortcomings of the proposals, he simply said: "Their proposals are not very outstanding."
He added: "We had similar experiences in Old Tai Po Police Station and the former Fanling Magistracy and they ended up with better proposals."
Last night, the Ink Society said in a statement that it regretted the result and blamed unclear guidelines about the tendering process.
Chan praised the Aw Boon Haw Foundation for its plans for Haw Par Mansion - providing the public with cheaper music lessons and performances. The foundation will also partner with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra to promote Chinese music.
Foundation member Professor Chan Wing-wah said fees would be lower than those of the Academy for Performing Arts and it is planning to organise master classes with internationally renowned musicians. It should open in 2017.
The News Expo at Bridges Street Market will allow people to have a go at being a news anchor on camera as well as displaying the diversified history of local newspapers, which can be traced back as early as 1850s.
It will also organise public seminars and training programmes for secondary school students. It will open in 2016, with annual sponsorship of HK$2.5 million from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups will partner with the University of Hong Kong to offer leadership training for students and young executives at the former magistracy. It will also open in 2016.