Funding and land approval from LegCo lets West Kowloon begin the final stages of development for two significant projects: the ‘Artist Square Bridge’ and ‘Integrated Basement’.
Photo: West Kowloon Cultural District. Courtesy of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.
The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) announced late last month that it received LegCo’s approval to enter the final stages of development. The government executed Land Grants and approved funding for the WKCDA’s upcoming projects which includes building an ‘Integrated Basement’ and ‘Artist Square Bridge’.
“The approval of these funds brings the West Kowloon Cultural District one step closer to realisation.” said Mr Duncan Pescod, Chief Executive Officer of the WKCDA.
“More jobs, new opportunities for business in the creative industries and tourism will follow as we develop the new areas and deliver West Kowloon for the community.”
Mr Henry Tang-Ying-Yen, Chairman of the WKCDA, called the Land Grant a “momentous milestone of the District’s Development”.
“‘It enables the Authority to take forward the development of the site into an integrated arts and cultural district together with the Hotel/Office/Residential (HOR) developments.”’
Two developments specifically mentioned in the release were the ‘Integrated Basement’ and ‘Artist Square Bridge’, multipurpose sites that improve access to the site while allowing commercial development and extra exhibition space.
“The Artist Square Bridge will provide a direct, round-the-clock and barrier-free connection between the developments above MTR Kowloon Station and the District’s Artist Square Development Area,” the WKCDA told Harbour Times.
“The Integrated Basement, as a pre-requisite for any topside developments in the remaining sections of the project, will make new cultural and commercial development in this area possible. It also enables traffic to be put underground thereby freeing up the site for cultural use and public enjoyment.”
In addition, the M+ Museum, one of WKCD’s flagship projects which has had its opening date delayed on several occasions, is reportedly in its final stages of development and hopes to open within a year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been blamed for recent delays due to an interruption of supply chains from Mainland China, leading to construction material shortages, alongside health risks for construction workers.
Aside from the pandemic, the WKCDA also cites the reason social unrest, funding delays and issues with contractors as reasons for delays.
Described as “one of the largest and cultural projects in the world”, the WKCD has been under construction since the early 2010s, but planning has been ongoing since the turn of the millennium.
To date, only a small portion of the district is completed for public use, including the Xiqu Center and Freespace, though temporary buildings have hosted exhibitions and performances. Since the closure of public performance venues on 29 January, the district has been livestreaming performances under the hashtag #LiveHouseAtHome on their Facebook and Instagram.
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