Thursday, November 20, 2008

So what's the point?

To those of you not in Hong Kong the link above is about a building in Wan Chai that is 67 stories tall and has a cool if a little shabby revolving restaurant on top. At one time it was the tallest building Asia and seems taller than it is because it sits about 1/3 of the way up Mount Victoria. Needless to say the restaurant has a spectacular view, especially on the 10 or 20 days a year when the air-pollution isn't thick enough to cut with a pair of cheap scissors. The building is only 20 years old which by sky scraper standards is nearly new. But, in true HK style the developer submitted a plan to tear down this perfectly functional and somewhat iconic building and replace it with a bigger, taller, and "more up-to-date" version. Now that the the banks are not lending he wants to tear it down and replace it with a a smaller version.


I'm sorry, this just simply makes no sense. Do they really think that they'll get enough in higher rentals to cover the cost of deconstruction and reconstruction? Wouldn't a thorough renovation be more cost effective? How is a newer generic skyscraper better than an older less generic sky scraper?

Holy Cow, I am glad the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower or the great wall of China are not in Hong Kong. Those would be long gone and replaced with another generic shopping mall-office-residential complex.

Hopewell Center is not be old enough to be considered a historic building and therefore does not fall under the magnificently non-enforced historic preservation law on the books here. That is kind of the point. Nothing will ever be allowed to stand long enough to become historic until the idea that any building over 15 years old is a candidate for redevelopment changes. Until that happens you will continue to see poorly maintained, UGLY buildings because there is no incentive for owners to due the maintenance. They'd rather wait for one of the real estate cabal members to come and tear it down and build something else.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who enjoys lunch or dinner at the R66

1 comment:

HKMacs said...

There is no proposal to pull down the Hopewlel Centre. The proposal is to build another one.