New Kowloon East projects must be green friendly

Artists also get a look-in under redevelopment plan for rundown former industrial estates

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 5:15am

New commercial developments in at least seven areas in Kowloon East might have to get green building certification and provide space for artists.

The requirement - likely to be in the form of land lease conditions - would be the first of its kind in the city and a step closer to the government's plan to turn the district covering Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong into a low-carbon emission community.

Reserving space for artists is aimed at addressing concern that redevelopment of run-down former industrial estates in the area will drive out artists who have been using the buildings as cheap creative space.

One of the seven areas is now occupied by the Kowloon Bay vehicle examination centre and a waste-recycling centre, both of which will be moved under plans to revitalise the area.

A source close to the Development Bureau said other entities to be affected included the Kwun Tong Driving School and a public park and bus terminal near the waterfront in Kwun Tong.

Three other sites are already on the land sales list with lease conditions to be finalised. Developers of these sites will have to design buildings with at least the second-highest rating of the green building scheme. Some will be asked to reserve space for artists as well as for the public.

There are already eight green buildings in the area, including the Zero Carbon Building in Kowloon Bay, the Kai Tak cruise terminal - which holds the highest green rating - and a Kai Tak estate designed by the Urban Renewal Authority.

The head of the Development Bureau's Energizing Kowloon East Office, Raymond Lee Kai-wing, confirmed yesterday that the government was considering requiring developers to add green elements to new buildings, but he declined to disclose more details.

Lee was speaking at a press conference announcing an international design competition for an 18-hectare area including the tip of the old Kai Tak airport runway, a nearby typhoon shelter and the Kwun Tong waterfront.

The runway tip - designated "Kai Tak Fantasy" in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address - has been designated for tourism and leisure development with hotels, offices, a public park and a helicopter pad.

For the area expected to highlight the history of the old airport, competition entrants will also have to devise creative water activities for the typhoon shelter.

"We hope there will be an interesting public space where activities targeting all Hongkongers can be held," Lee said.

The competition will be opened by the end of this year and the short list will be exhibited for public comments by June next year.