Of all the terrible things happening in Hong Kong today, the impending demolition of the General Post Office ranks pretty low. By 1970s standards, the architecture isn’t too horrible. Obviously it’s a familiar landmark and widely used public facility. Who can forget the huge portrait of the Queen in the main hall? And the cool government bookshop with all the maps at street level? But the main loss will be the empty space and light around the building, as it will of course be replaced by a monster office complex.
The redevelopment plans presume that demand for top-grade office space in Central will be booming in the 2030s like it was in the 2010s. And will there be a luxury mall or two? Can’t believe the bureaucrats and developers will miss the opportunity to cram at least one more vast marble emporium full of shops no-one uses into the area.
At the other end of the retail scale, the Graham Street Market, amazingly, lives on. It’s smaller than it was, and no longer features frogs in cages and the raucous live abattoir action that made it such a fun place to show vegans passing through town. But the remaining stall-holders seem to have adapted to gentrification and redevelopment, and the quality of fruit and veg is, if anything, better than it used to be. The HKFP piece says there’s now a hipster food court – which has escaped my notice (and I shop here at least twice a week). It’s the rare things that don’t change that stand out.
Beer of the Week is this French stuff ‘Sombrero Red’, pretending to be an exotic Mexican concoction infused with a rare sacred guarana fruit. But here’s the thing: it tastes surprisingly like Pimms. HK$12.90 at U-Select. You’re welcome.
Tsuen Wan has seen a raft of new skyscrapers in the past nine months. It’s one of only three districts with “positive” employment rates. I predict that Tsuen Wan will be the next hipster yoga den. Get in while you can, now.
One of the interesting things about land rimming Victoria Harbour is the almost complete lack of construction activity that is now going on. Granted, some stuff is being built on the West Kowloon site, but the cranes are pretty small, plus that area should have been developed yonks ago. Elsewhere, almost nothing; something out by North Point/Quarry Bay and then another thing if you look back from the Star Ferry towards Pedder Street. The Government may wish to talk things up, but the developers and the shareholders they represent have voted with their wallets. I very much doubt that the bids for the Post Office site will meet the reserve price.
More prime office space will resolutely be necessary as more and more of the (actual) shadow government apparatus moves into Central with its armies of vetted and loyal minions jabbering in Putonghua.
Given your political stance, should you be shopping in the “blue” U-Select (Tesco/China Resources joint venture)? As for the Post Office, I still mourn the loss of its predecessor on Des Voeux Road.
“The site directly to its south was secured by Hongkong Land at a record price. In exchange, the Government was obliged to accede to a stipulation that no building directly to the north of Connaught Centre, now Jardine House, would obstruct its views, thus the maximum height of the GPO building was limited to 120 feet.”
So the question is, is the above no longer valid?
Whatever will rise on the PO site will obstruct the view from Jardine House.
In the 1980s the Jardine/ Hong Kong Land combo went technically bankrupt while developing the Exchange Square project.
Maybe Jardine’s can try once more, with feeling, to dig themselves into another construction hole and maybe, just maybe, they may succeed this time.
How about a joint redevelopment of Jardine House and the Post Office?
If the GPO is to be demolished, may I suggest that it be replaced by a colossal statue of Xi Dada?
I’m thinking of something along the lines of the figure which is said once to have graced the island of Rhodes or, on a more contemporary note, Rio de Janeiro’s “Christ the Redeemer” or the supremely tasteful representation of Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat (bigger than all of which, needless to say, this prime Wonder of the World would undoubtedly be).
It goes without saying that the proposed statue would be facing (and preferably pointing) north, the better to afford the denizens of the higher floors in Connaught House an uninterrupted – some might say intimate – view of its ample posterior.
I feel confident that this suggestion will find favour with the relevant national authorities as well as with their local subordinates and that the statue will, in due course, act as a magnet for adoring visitors from all corners of the Motherland.
More to the point, what better advertisement could there be for Hong Kong’s new-found loyalty, and for the unalloyed enthusiasm with which the former colony embraces, nay welcomes, integration with Dada’s thrusting, throbbing, and ever-resolute global superpower?
I fondly expect to see a groundswell of patriotic support for this exciting proposal in the coming months. Thank you very much.
Moving hole theory was developed by developers in HK. It says that there are just three holes in HK: one on HK Island, one in Kowloon and one in the New Territories. In each case, it is the same hole, but moves around.
Any edifice that does not have a Chinese flag fluttering in the breeze on top is better than one that has.
“I fondly expect to see a groundswell of patriotic support for this exciting proposal in the coming months.”
Or face NatSec charges and imminent prison time.
@HK1980: The plot ratio of the redevelopment site was capped at a mere 3.1 to avoid blocking Jardine House’s views, at least in theory.
The site however, is massive, extending all the way down to the ferris wheel on the waterfront. So they might manage to stack up their GFA into a great big tower right in front of the House of a Thousand Arseholes anyway.
Cming back to beer, I discovered yesterday that Ikea now stocks a selection of Swedish craft beers at very affordable prices (HK$16 up). You’re welcome too.