Push to expand Hong Kong City Hall amid harbourfront development

Hong Kong Sinfonietta and other concert organisers want car park to make way for more backstage facilities or performance spaces, but antiquities office may get involved and replacement parking spaces will be needed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2016, 5:59am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2016, 2:12pm

Concert organisers hope that the makeover of Hong Kong’s Central harbourfront makeover will speed up plans to improve City Hall,a hugely popular performance venue managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

The Hong Kong Sinfonietta, venue partner at City Hall, has been fighting for more than a decade to have the City Hall Car Park demolished to make room for either backstage facilities or extra performance space.

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Andrea Fessler, founder and executive director of Premiere Performances of Hong Kong, also hopes City Hall will build a mid-size venue for more intimate concerts. “The City Hall concert hall has over 1,400 seats so it’s quite big. I am very happy with it and it is conveniently located. But what we need are 600- to 800-seat, medium-size venues. West Kowloon is not going to have any. [The renovated] Central Police Station [in Hollywood Road] will have a multi-purpose venue with 200 seats and that’s too small.”

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City Hall also lacks a “green room” where performers can hang out between performances, or room for VIP gatherings, she says.

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However, the government would probably have to provide new parking facilities in the vicinity before making changes that would do away with 171 car park spaces at City Hall. It may even require approval from the Antiquities and Monuments Office.

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