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Friday, Jan 21, 2022

Central Market to soft open tomorrow after three years of revitalization

Central Market in Central will soft open tomorrow at 12.30pm after completing its first phase of revitalization which spanned three years and cost more than HK$500 million.
The building, which stood in the heart of central of over 80 years, will officially open in November.

The first phase of revitalization covered 80 percent of its work space, open space facing Queen's Road Central and its atrium.

Wilfred Au Chun-ho, director of planning and design at Urban Renewal Authority, said revitalization has been complicated.

The market retains the facade facing Jubilee Street Street and Queen Victoria Street, as well as the atrium and the main staircase.

It will also exhibit six different types of stalls to show the public how the former wet market was like. It included tables and hanging bars of meat stalls and water tanks of fish stalls.

One of the two remaining Bauhaus market buildings in Hong Kong, the Central Market will see its network of columns preserved.

Public walkways which open 24 hours are introduced on the second floor, which links to the Cenral escalator network.

"The team has used similar materials (as the old building) to keep the color, type, and thickness of the original plastering. We used traditional washing and polishing plastering techniques to recreate the traditional look of the main staircase," Au said.

Wai Chi-sing, Managing Director of the URA, said in his blog today that start-ups and local brands will be housed in the revitalized market.

They include the start-up coffee shop Chart coffee, whose founder Wilson Chung said that the shop will use artificial intelligence to help improve bean frying, roasting, and coffee brewing techniques.

The second phase of revitalization is expected to finish in the second quarter of next year at the earliest.

It will involve the redesign of the facade facing Des Voeux Road Central, and the operational focus will be on promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education.

"Escalators will be included.... they are expected to be completed in the third quarter of next year,” he said.

Central Market was handed over to the URA in 2009 and the preservation and revitalization project started in 2017. The operation contract was given to Chinachem Group in February this year.

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