The Government today (February 12) invited expressions of interest (EOI) from non-profit making organisations for revitalising the Blue House Cluster in Stone Nullah Lane, Hing Wan Street and King Sing Street, Wan Chai.
A spokesman for the Development Bureau said that the expression of interest was conducted to see if there were suitable organisations interested to partner with the Government in preserving and revitalising the Blue House cluster under a more people-based approach.
Under this approach, the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) will provide support and assistance in acquiring private ownership and will offer rehousing or compensation to those occupants who opt to move out of the Blue House cluster. HKHS will then hand over the acquired properties to the Government for implementation of the revitalisation scheme, in accordance with the spirit and terms of the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme. Occupants who opt to stay behind will form an integral part of the social network preservation in the future revitalisation plan.
Given the uniqueness of this project, of which some sitting occupants may wish to stay behind, the revitalisation proposal for the Blue House cluster must:
(a) Accommodate the sitting occupants who wish to stay behind;
(b) Bring about improvement to the living conditions, including providing basic sanitary facilities, to the sitting occupants who opt to stay behind;
(c) Arrange interim housing within the vicinity of Wan Chai district for domestic tenants who wish to stay behind during renovation of the buildings;
(d) Preserve and strengthen the social network of sitting occupants who opt and stay behind; and
(e) Landscape, manage, and utilise the existing vacant government land as public open space in accordance with the preservation theme.
Although the Blue House cluster was not formally placed under the Partnership Scheme for the time being, the Government would provide similar financial and other support to enable its revitalisation, including a one-off grant to cover the cost for major renovation to the historic buildings and a maximum grant of $5 million to cover the starting costs and operating deficits of the proposed social enterprise operated from the Blue House cluster.
Formal invitation for applications for adaptive re-use of the Blue House cluster in the form of social enterprise under the Partnership Scheme is intended to be announced in the second half of 2008, after completion of the necessary process by HKHS.
"A two-stage process is adopted for the Blue House cluster so that early identification of interested organisations will assure sitting occupants of the prospects of the preservation scheme before they are expected to make up their minds whether or not to take up HKHS’ rehousing or compensation offer. To keep occupants fully informed, we have today delivered letters to all the households residing in the Blue House cluster," the spokesman said.
The details of the EOI are available at the webpage on heritage conservation (http://www.heritage.gov.hk/en/rhbtp/bhc.htm). Interested applicants should submit the EOI in either Chinese or English to the Development Bureau before noon on March 3.
For further enquiries, please contact the Development Bureau on 2848 2718 or by email to (email@example.com).
Ends/Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Issued at HKT 18:07