Phase One of Revitalised Central Market Opens Signifing Blending Old and New
Jointly managed and operated by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and Chinachem Group (the Group), the revitalised Central Market celebrates its soft opening today, marking a new milestone for the Grade 3 historic building which is now open for public enjoyment, as phase one of the restoration and revitalisation work reaches completion.
The new-look Central Market has captured and preserved many of its historical elements and integrated these into the open plan floor design. It adopted a “boundaryless spatial concept” to provide over 100 leasable units for retail and F&B, 1,000 square metres of green open space, and community spaces for a variety of art exhibitions, performances, and cultural activities, transforming the Central Market into a “Playground for All”.
A very satisfactory take-up rate of over 80% has been achieved for phase one, drawing over 70 commercial tenants, with operations ranging from street foods to specialty restaurants, local brands and cultural craft boutiques, and lifestyle grocery stores. Most phase one shops begin operating today. Additionally, 13 of the original market stall activities of unique historical value have been preserved and will return in new ways to continue their legacies, making Central Market a window into living history. Several of these tenants are well-known Hong Kong traditional brands.
A Thriving Hub to Continue its Innovative Spirit at the Heart of the Community
The soft opening ceremony took place at Central Market today, officiated by the Managing Director of the URA, Ir Wai Chi-sing, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, Donald Choi and Managing Director of Real Estate of Chinachem Group, Dennis Au.
Ir Wai Chi-sing said, “When the Central Market was built 80 years ago, it was an epoch-making architecture, realising the spirit of innovation through the use of building materials, the ‘form follows function’ design, and the market bazaar operational mode. These elements effectively addressed the needs of urban development at the time and also solved the problems of environmental hygiene.”
He continued, “The cornerstone to the successful adaptive reuse of the revitalised Central Market lies with three pioneering approaches we are using. First, we embraced a new preservation and revitalisation thinking in architecture by linking the past with the present. Second, we will provide our tenants with operational support in the application of technology and big data analysis, to help them develop their businesses more effectively. Finally, there will also be initiatives to promote the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Art (STEAM) to nurture the creative thinking of the next generation.”
“I look forward to seeing the revitalised Central Market become a Hong Kong landmark that is full of vitality, and with a new purpose,” he said.
Donald Choi, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, said at the ceremony, “Cities and buildings may change, but memories endure. Chinachem Group has always recognised the importance of preserving architectural treasures which enable us to celebrate our shared identity while enriching the fabric of community life. This is the spirit of our commitment to create ‘Places with Heart’. Over the past six decades, we have built a strong understanding of how buildings can bring a positive impact to the community and the environment. This has given us a renewed sense of purpose to create spaces that bring the community together to thrive; vibrant, bustling hubs of discovery, activity, and commerce.”
Donald continued, “As one of our ‘Places with Heart’, built for the community, by the community, the revitalised Central Market aims to foster social cohesion and inclusion, sustain cultural legacy, and fuel innovation for future generations. We offer some interesting features to support local brands and start-ups; for example, a plug-to-operate concept that offers them basic fixtures and fitting-outs with the support of a comprehensive point-of-sales (POS) system, along with an attractive and flexible lease plan. By lowering the set-up costs significantly, we hope to encourage start-ups to find their footing and take their first steps on their business journey here.”
A Beloved Historic Building Becomes a Cherished Modern Space
As a “Playground for All”, the new-look Central Market is a vibrant community hotspot that fully embraces the “Approachable, Energetic and Gregarious” mode of operation. It follows two major principles in its operating model, which are in response to the public’s aspirations towards conservation and public enjoyment: that it will foster community building, cultural legacy, and innovation. At the same time, while preserving the collective memory of old Hong Kong, the rejuvenated landmark will breathe new life into the community through vibrant new experiences.
With a total floor area of about 122,000 square feet, Central Market will not only retain the original architectural elements to illustrate the building’s long-standing history but will also showcase and lead the future with the creation of a “21st Century Marketplace” through a flexible and interactive design. There is about 56,500 square feet of leasable area with retail and F&B accounting for 70% and 30% of space, respectively, incorporating dining, shopping, work, leisure and entertainment, and cultural and educational elements under one roof. With diverse catering, retail and cultural activities, Central Market strives to be a unique leisure destination and a communal space where people from all walks of life can meet, mingle, and socialise in this approachable, vibrant, and gregarious landmark for the community.
Located at the heart of Hong Kong’s most prominent commercial district, Central Market has been for decades a hub for various commercial activities. The revitalised Central Market will also support local businesses and propel high potential start-ups through a pilot-to-mass adoption process with an aim to nurture innovations that support its sustainable growth. To continue this historical tradition of Central Market as a place where people's livelihood and the economy can blossom, the second floor will showcase different small and medium enterprises and start-ups.
A Symbol of Community, Connection and Creativity
Interconnected between Queen Victoria Street and Jubilee Street, Central Market boasts an open concept design with bi-folding doors on both sides on the ground floor, defying the traditional commercial partition concept and fostering connection and engagement. The resulting large central piazza/atrium is equipped with projection and sound systems, providing an ideal venue for street performances and large-scale events. With about 100 seats for public enjoyment and wireless network coverage throughout, visitors can truly experience the liberty of being free to meet, eat, relax, and enjoy their way.
The semi-open space connecting the iconic Grand Staircase on the ground floor has been redefined for community performances. Fitted with a motion sensor system and an LED projection wall, it creates an engaging, interactive experience for visitors. In addition, a 2,500-square-foot multi-functional event space is located on the first floor, perfect for open forums, exhibitions, and cultural performances. A STEAM workshop will be held on [23-29 August]. As Central Market’s inaugural community event, this workshop is a joint effort between Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Cyberport. Online registration is open for parents to enrol with their children. A new zone, STEAM Hub, developed to inspire more young people, will be ready for operation upon completion of the phase two of the restoration work.
Central Market will be open from 10am to 10pm daily.