A social enterprise restaurant which failed to renew a rental contract in Lai Chi Kok has been offered new premises in Wan Chai at reasonable rent.
Ginkgo House (銀杏館), a winner of the 2011 Outstanding Social Enterprise Awards, opened its first restaurant in Central in 2006, providing job opportunities to the elderly.
In 2008, it opened another restaurant in Jordan and followed it up with an outlet in Prince Edward the following year.
The Lai Chi Kok branch, located at the Grade III historical building Jao Tsung-I Academy in Lai Chi Kok, was opened in 2013.
The social enterprise chain is now employing more than 450 elderly workers, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
Joyce Mak, chief executive of Gingko House, said Tuesday in a post on Facebook that the Lai Chi Kok branch will be closed in October after a three-year lease expires.
The Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture (香港中華文化促進中心), the operator of Jao Tsung-I Academy, has decided to lease the space to a chain restaurant, she said.
According to Standnews, the new leaser is Epicurean Group, which owns over 50 restaurants in Hong Kong including Jimmy’s Kitchen, The Peak Lookout and Agave Tequila Bar.
Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture was selected by the Development Bureau in 2009 to revitalize the former Lai Chi Kok Hospital area into a cultural hub.
As Mak began worrying that 50 elderly staff employed in Lai Chi Kok may have to be let go in October, Jacinto Tong Men-leung, chief executive of Gale Well Group, stepped in to help.
Tong said he would be willing to provide the social enterprise with a 4,500-square-feet place at Lockhart Road in Wan Chai at a rent of HK$28 to HK$30 per square foot per month.
The offer is 30 percent below the prevailing market rents in the area, providing relief to Ginkgo House.
Tong said he decided to help out as he recognizes the valuable service that Ginkgo House is providing to the community.
Mak said she will get in touch with Tong about the offer.
Translation by Chloe Chow
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