20 February 2019
South Horizons residents object to plans to turn Marina Square into a shopping mall targeting mainland tourists. Photo: Alan C
South Horizons residents object to plans to turn Marina Square into a shopping mall targeting mainland tourists. Photo: Alan C

Marina Square owner shelves plans for luxury makeover

Redevelopment of an Ap Lei Chau shopping arcade is on hold after two local representatives raised residents’ objections to plans to transform the area into a “Canton Road-style” shopping mall targeting mainland tourists.

Taiwan’s Pacific Electric Wire and Cable Co., Ltd. (PEWC), the owner of Marina Square in the South Horizons housing estate, was reportedly seeking to raise rents and introduce watch and jewelry shops in the arcade, squeezing out stores catering to the daily needs of residents.

Southern district councilor and New People’s Party member Judy Chan Ka-pui said on her Facebook page Tuesday that she and Legislative Councilor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee met PEWC chief executive Michael Lee and vice chairman Cheng Chao-Chun in Hong Kong on Tuesday to raise the residents’ concerns and the owner decided to put the revamp on an indefinite hold.

“The tenants who were forced to terminate their contract because of the revamp can have their original contract reinstated. Renewal talks will be held for those contracts due to expire soon but tenants with bad records might not be offered a renewal,” Chan said.

But South Horizons Concern Group convener Alan Yip said the tenants have not been informed about the decision and the landlord has yet to make a formal announcement on the change or withdraw the redevelopment application from the Buildings Department, Apple Daily reported Wednesday. Yip also said he had not been able to contact the landlord Tuesday night.

Chan and Ip’s meeting with the owner’s representive came after Chan went to Taiwan in early May to meet the landlord. The trip followed complaints from protesting residents about her absence at demonstrations against the makeover. People Power’s Erica Yuen Mi-ming, who has lost a by-election this year to Chan, also went to Taiwan to try to meet the landlord.

Legislator Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party has also been vocal on the redevelopment issue, urging the landlord to give a clear commitment that the existing shopping arcade will not be converted into luxury outlet stores. He said it is important that the area retain facilities for residents such as dental clinics, pharmacies and laundries.

There will be another round of District Council elections next year.

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