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Wing Woo Store operator, Kwan Bak, at his grocery.

Plan to preserve historical character of Wing Woo Grocery in place

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Tuesday) announced that a comprehensive plan is in place to preserve the character of the renowned Wing Woo Grocery which has been in business for over 80 years at the ground floor of 120 Wellington Street, Central.  The store operator will close down his business this Friday.

The Wing Woo Grocery is located at the Peel Street/Graham Street redevelopment project of the URA.  The URA has extended an invitation to the store operator to continue his business in the shop until redevelopment takes place by paying the existing rent and at the 'Old Shop Street' to be set up in the new development.  However, the operator declined the invitation because of his advanced age and decided to retire happily with the compensation offered by the URA.

"We fully understand his desire and respect his decision to retire," said Director, Planning & Design of the URA, Mr Michael Ma.  "All along, we have attached a great deal of importance to the preservation of historical elements in our project wherever possible."

While the grocery store has rich historical elements, its structure is in dilapidated conditions and it has recently been given repair orders by the Government.

The URA has come up with a plan to preserve the key elements of the Grocery.  Details are as follows:

  • The URA has appointed professional surveyors to measure and record both the interior and exterior of the Grocery, as well as its structural characteristics.
  • The entrance of the 'Old Shop Street' in the new development will be located at the present Wing Woo Grocery whose façade will be preserved while at the other end are the three prewar shop houses at 26A-26C Graham Street to be preserved for adaptive re-use.
  • To retain large furniture of the Grocery for display in the new development.
  • To work with academics and scholars on recording details of the Grocery in the format of an oral history.
  • To record details of the Grocery by video and photo-filming.

In addition, the store operator has reached a consent with the LCSD on the donation of items collected from the Grocery for display, as well as the donation of historical documents to the Hong Kong Central Library.

Mr Ma is confident that the above measures will help retain the essential historical elements of Wing Woo, which can be shared with the public upon completion of the project.

Earlier, the URA has announced that an additional development cost of $200 million will be used in the phased development of the Peel Street/ Graham Street project so as to keep the nearby century-year-old open market intact and to restore its vibrancy.