The Urban Renewal Authority has revived proposals to redevelop the first market in Hong Kong into a commercial and residential project valued at HK$3.6 billion. The project at Gage Street market, Graham Street and Peel Street comprises three sites and will be the largest redevelopment project in Central. Two of the sites, with a total area of 57,264 square feet, will be used for residential purposes, while the largest one will be used for a retail, office or hotel project. 'We would like to retain the character of the market,' district councillor Kam Nai-wai said. 'However, the residents of the old buildings have been waiting for the redevelopment for eight years. They and the authority want to carry out the project as soon as possible. We don't have enough time to review the scheme.' He expects the unique character of the district will disappear after the redevelopment. The redevelopment, announced in 1998 by the Land Development Corp, has been put on hold since 1999 and was passed to the URA when it was set up in 2001 after dissolution of the corporation. The authority intends to submit its planning scheme to the Central and Western District Council today. The sites, which have a height restriction of 142 to 160 metres, equivalent to 47 to 53 storeys, could provide a residential floor area of 275,550 sqft and a commercial floor area of 445,620 sqft. The project is scheduled for tender next year. As the market at Gage Street was the first one built after the British arrived in Hong Kong, the developer will be required to preserve three old buildings on the site while promoting harmony with the new development. The accommodation price of the project could reach HK$5,000 per square foot, Savills Valuation and Professional Services managing director Charles Chan Chiu-kwok said.