Official places the emphasis on open space for public in repackaging of arts hub Residential and commercial developments will not be built on the waterfront of the West Kowloon Cultural District, although about 60 per cent of the land is set aside for property development. Under proposals in the government's consultation paper, 36 per cent of the gross floor area of 726,000 square metres is designated for core arts and cultural facilities, up from about 30 per cent in the original proposal. About 59 per cent is for commercial, residential and hotel use, down about 7 percentage points. Two hotels are proposed for the arts hub, with about 500 rooms in each. However, the big difference between the present proposal and the previous one is that the government-owned authority has autonomy to run the cultural projects and to implement its cultural policy, which will not be affected by the revenue of land auctions. As for the 23 hectares designated as public open space, Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Esther Leung Yuet-yin said most would be at ground level, alongside a vibrant harbourfront for public use. The open space will comprise 15 hectares at ground level, 3 hectares of piazza areas and 5 hectares on terraces and rooftop gardens. The government said it had struck a balance between development and open space for the public. Ms Leung said ample open space would 'embrace a vibrant harbour front for the public enjoyment'. Asked whether it was certain that the commercial and residential buildings would not be placed on the waterfront, Ms Leung said although the planning of the site was up to the new authority 'I don't see any reason for the authority not to follow the principle if the public supports the paper's suggestion.' Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said the district would provide open space bigger than Victoria Park. Mr Tang said all arts and cultural facilities would be suitably clustered to achieve synergy, and integrated with the commercial facilities to attract local people and tourists. Overall planning of the arts and cultural facilities would be integrated with neighbouring areas to cultivate an 'appropriate ambience'. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Secretary for Development, said the outline zoning plan, which shows the distribution of arts facilities, open space, residential and commercial development in the arts hub, would be drawn up early next year according to the views gathered from the public consultation. She added that detailed designs would be determined by the cultural authority and be submitted to the Town Planning Board for further approval. Phase-one cultural facilities will be completed from 2014 to 2015, and phase two in 2026. As icons for the project, the government proposes the 'M+' or Museum Plus, the Xiqu Centre for Cantonese and other Chinese opera and the Concert Hall in the phase one project. M+ is described as showcasing the visual culture of the 20th to 21st centuries including architecture, design, film, television, digital art and popular culture such as advertising, comics and games along with visual art such as painting, photography and installation art. The paper sets the maximum overall plot ratio for the whole site at 1.81, giving a total gross floor area of about 726,000 square metres, capping the residential development at no more than 20 per cent of the total gross floor area. Building height restrictions range from 50 to 100 metres.