Revitalised Central Market opens its doors to visitors
Central Market at 93 Queen’s Road Central welcomed visitors again today after a four-year face lift.
The $500 million makeover has transformed the long disused building into a complex of shops and food stalls. What used to be the atrium of the building is now a seating area for visitors.
Listed as a grade III historic building, Central Market is a collective memory for generations of Hong Kongers. The Bauhaus style structure was completed in 1939 but closed in 2003. Six years later, the government announced a revitalisation plan, overseen by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA). After many rounds of planning and revising, reconstruction began in 2017.
The revitalisation project has retained a lot of the original characteristics of the building. On entering the main doorway, visitors can see 13 original stalls previously used for the sale of produce. The main staircase still has the stone bannister, but a new metal railing has been added to make it more user friendly. The atrium on the ground floor retains the open-air design and is now used as a resting space and for holding large-scale events in the future.
An on-site staff told The Young Reporter that "the market looks almost the same as it was 60 years ago from the outside!"
Central Market was once the largest meat market in Southeast Asia. But hte new building is now a complex for shops and food stalls with space available for exhibitions and start-ups.
77-year-old Leo Ng was among the first group of visitors. For him, Central Market holds some of his childhood memories.
"I think there should be some change. We cannot completely copy the original layout," Mr. Ng said while pointing at an ice cream shop. “For example, snacks are popular among young people, and only such elements can attract them to come visit. There are very few younger generations here today. The market is unsustainable if it only depends on the nostalgia of the elderly," he added.
Katty Law of the Central and Western District Concern Group pointed out that some of the reconstruction have covered the original architectural features.
"Many original features have disappeared. The steel handrail added to the main staircase is not as good as the terrazzo handrail, which is in line with the architectural characteristics at that time," said Ms. Law.
"We are also very concerned about whether the new market can serve the public," she added.
《The Young Reporter》
The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.
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