The head of a prominent Chinese opera society is pessimistic about the prospects for its plan to convert a historic building into a training centre and museum, after the idea received a lukewarm reception from officials. 'I don't think our plan will be selected,' said Lisa Wang Ming-chuen, the head of the Chinese Artists Association. 'Rumours are going around that the building will be revitalised by a foreign arts institute or a youth federation.' The association wants to renovate the North Kowloon Magistracy, a 49-year-old building with a floor area of 7,530 square metres in Sham Shui Po. The building was one of seven historic structures the Development Bureau selected for the first phase of a revitalisation scheme. Ms Wang said the group's application was among the final three selected from 21 submitted for the North Kowloon Magistracy. The winner will be announced next month. Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Saturday that the revitalisation scheme was not directly related to the development of Cantonese opera. The government pledged to give a one-off grant to partly or fully cover the cost of renovating the buildings and the operating expenses for up to two years under the scheme. Ms Wang said the association's plan to use the historic building for Chinese opera made good sense because it preserved both cultural and architectural heritage. On Sunday, Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said the government planned to allocate HK$32 million for the development of Chinese opera in 2009-10 and would continue to support the opera community through different channels. The Home Affairs Bureau was consulting groups on the proposal to provide more venues for Chinese opera, Mr Tsang said. Ms Wang said the government should suggest some other venues for her group to open a training centre if it turned down its application.