A row of five stone houses built during the war that later became part of a Kowloon City squatter village has been restored into a tourist and heritage centre. The HK$39.1 million Stone Houses Family Garden is the first of three scheduled projects to be completed under batch two of a government scheme to revitalise historic buildings. READ MORE: Best things to do in Kowloon City During the second world war, the Japanese built a cluster of cottages on the site to rehouse residents from villages they razed to make way for Kai Tak airport. When refugees poured into the city after civil war broke out on the mainland, it became a squatter area that was later named Hau Wong Temple New Village. It later housed the operations of several film studios, and in the 1960s and 1970s small cottage factories and ateliers. The squatter area was cleared out in 2001, but the five Chinese vernacular houses remained on the site. The two-storey granite Chinese-style tenement building is built with pitched roofs made of timber rafters and covered with Chinese pan and roll tiles. It is a grade-three historic building. A proposal was submitted in 2010 to revitalise the abandoned structures. Work began in 2013. The complex, run by non-profit social enterprise Wing Kwong So-Care Company, will feature a themed cafe with a mid-20th century "nostalgic touch", open theatre, labyrinth garden and visitor centre. Information is only displayed in Chinese. Reverend Joanne Wong Yuet-ying, chairwoman of the company, hoped the complex would serve as a cultural landmark, not only for Kowloon City but for all of Hong Kong. "As we all know, the [site] was once an abandoned area and people were deeply concerned about it," she said. "It has become part of the neighbourhood again." Officiating at the opening yesterday, development minister Paul Chan Mo-po said the history of the stone houses reflected the city's "Lion Rock spirit".