King Yin Lei surrendered to Government for adaptive re-use

Following the execution of the land exchange with the former owner of King Yin Lei, the monument is now under the ownership of the Government for restoration and adaptive re-use.

The Government executed the land exchange with the owner of King Yin Lei for the preservation of King Yin Lei on November 18. The monument of King Yin Lei, together with its garden, was surrendered to the Government and a new lot which is a man-made slope with little vegetation adjacent to King Yin Lei was granted to the owner.

The new lot is of the same size, 4,706 square metres, and with similar development restrictions as the King Yin Lei site. The proposed development in the new lot will not adversely affect the density, traffic load, landscape and greenery of the area. With the support of the Town Planning Board, this site has been rezoned for residential use in the Peak Area Outline Zoning Plan.  At the same time, the King Yin Lei site has been rezoned as "Other Specified Uses" annotated "Historical Building Preserved for Cultural, Community and Commercial Uses" to reflect its preservation and future adaptive re-use.

A spokesman for the Development Bureau said, "King Yin Lei now belongs to the Government. The execution of land exchange with the owner marks the conclusion of a two-year process to protect this monument originally in private ownership under our new heritage conservation policy adopted since 2007. King Yin Lei is a milestone in our new policy to offer economic incentives in facilitating the preservation of privately owned historic buildings.

"Our next challenge is to complete the restoration works and to consider suitable adaptive re-use which will provide public access to the monument," the spokesman added.

The land exchange has been processed in accordance with established procedures and the full market premium has been levied to reflect the difference in the land value of the two sites. After the execution of the land exchange, King Yin Lei was rented to the owner under a short term tenancy for him to continue the restoration works of King Yin Lei, the cost of which is fully borne by the owner. Under the land exchange conditions, the owner will not be permitted to sell, rent or mortgage the new houses in the new lot unless and until King Yin Lei has been restored to the satisfaction of the Antiquities and Monuments Office.

"The restoration works are in good progress and are expected to be completed by the end of 2010. The Government aims to put the restored King Yin Lei to adaptive re-use and turn it into an attraction for local residents as well as tourists," said the spokesman.

King Yin Lei, built in 1937, is a rare surviving example of Chinese Renaissance style that reflects design and construction excellence in both Chinese and Western architecture of Hong Kong. The "East-meets-West" construction methods have made the building a rarity in Hong Kong and an outstanding piece of art. The building was declared a monument on July 11, 2008.

Ends/Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:46