Kowloon has some big ambitions. An urban area north of Hong Kong
Island, the area is home to several large-scale developments, including a
massive arts district.
In 2006, the local government established a committee to examine the
need for cultural facilities and the cost to create them. Fifteen months
later, the group recommended the development of 15 performing arts
venues and a large visual arts museum, all under the umbrella of the
HK$21.6 billion West Kowloon Cultural District project.
Billed as an “integrated arts and cultural district with world-class
arts and cultural facilities, distinguished talents, iconic architecture and
quality programs,” the area will cover about 40 hectares (99 acres).
The project is still in the planning stage, but the board of the West
Kowloon Cultural District Authority has already established seven
planning design principles, including sustainability.
The district is scheduled to develop in two stages, the first slated
for completion by 2015, the other in 2031.
Like the rest of Hong Kong, Kowloon is not without a slick skyscraper. Set to debut in 2010, Kowloon’s 118-story, US$2.6 billion
International Commerce Centre will be Hong Kong’s tallest and rank
number four in the world.
The mixed-use development is being developed by Sun Hung Kai
Properties Ltd. and will be home to financial firms Deutsche Bank AG,
Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley, while a Ritz Carlton hotel
will occupy the top 15 floors. By September 2008, several companies
had already moved in, including SNP Vite Ltd., ABN AMRO and Hong
Kong Mercantile Exchange.
The project suffered a tragic accident in September when six
workers died after falling 17 stories down an elevator shaft. “This is a
serious accident,” Matthew Cheung, secretary for labor and welfare,
said in a statement on the government’s website. “We’ll make sure
similar accidents do not occur in the future.”
The Labor Department has launched an investigation into the incident.
International Commerce Centre
decline, down from a 7. 8 percent drop in the previous
quarter. From a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter
comparison, the GDP resumed growth at 3. 3 percent in
the second quarter, ending the contraction from the
previous four quarters. The government upgraded its full-year 2009 forecast, saying the GDP would shrink by
between 3. 5 percent and 4. 5 percent, against a previous
forecast for a 5. 5 percent to 6. 5 percent contraction.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have such close ties
with one of the few economies that appears to have
turned the corner.
“[Hong Kong’s] rebound has largely been ‘Made in
China’—exports to the mainland have picked up, while
easy liquidity conditions there have contributed to
recent gains in Hong Kong asset prices, providing a
strong boost to Hong Kong consumers,” Brian Jackson,
an economist at Royal Bank of Canada, told China Daily
The Chinese government is also doing its part,
launching a US$586 billion stimulus package with
funding for railways, subways, airports, housing and
That’s helping boost demand for project managers—
and the trend probably won’t abate for a while, says
Stephen Lai, managing director of Rider Levett
Bucknall, Hong Kong.
“Large portions of the stimulus package are aimed
to boost the construction and property markets,” he
says. “With Hong Kong being so close to China, the
demand for project managers will continue.”
NOVEMBER 2009 PM NETWORK 57
>>ON THE MAP: HONG KONG