Representatives from 55 non-governmental organisations toured the vacant North Kowloon Magistracy yesterday, one of seven historic buildings that are open for revitalisation proposals. The seven-storey building in Sham Shui Po was built in 1960 and was one of the courts that handled cases in Kowloon. After courts in Shanghai Street and Gascoigne Road closed, it was the only judicial court handling cases for the district between 2000 and 2005. Fione Lo Sau-lai, curator of the heritage and museums division of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, said the building was a representative example of civic buildings of the period. 'The tall, narrow windows are classical features of that time.' Two double-half-turn staircases extend from street level to the main entrance. Other striking features are a pair of heavy panelled bronze doors and frames, a tablet bearing the name of the court, and an Italianate-style staircase with ornamental ironwork. Ms Lo said there were plenty of staircases, toilets and rooms, and the NGOs could alter some of these according to practical needs. But at least one of the four bigger courtrooms and an underground detention cell should be preserved to reflect the original design. 'With so many rooms of various sizes, the building is a suitable venue for colleges,' she said. Other uses recommended by the government are a training centre and antiquities and art gallery. North Kowloon Magistracy used to handle cases in the Kowloon district, covering Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po, Shek Kip Mei, Cheung Sha Wan and Ho Man Tin. It closed in January 2005 under a policy to consolidate magistracies from nine to six. The government is inviting revitalisation proposals for the seven historic buildings from NGOs. The deadline for applications is May 21.