A tea house that traces its history back to 128 years ago is now facing an uncertain fate.
Media reported on Wednesday that Lin Heung Tea House, located at Tsang Chiu Ho Building on Wellington Street in Central, may be forced to relocate because the building’s owner intends to demolish it and build a new one in 2019.
In response to an inquiry from Apple Daily, the Chinese restaurant, known for its authentic and traditional Chinese dim sum, said its lease will expire by the second quarter of 2019.
It prefers to renew the lease and remain at the place where it has been operating since 1996, but whether the owner has decided to redevelop the building remains unclear, according to the restaurant. Renegotiation of its lease is expected to take place six months before expiration date, it added.
Founded in Guangzhou in 1889, Lin Heung Tea House opened a branch in Hong Kong in 1918 before adding two more later. It now runs a single outlet in the city.
Popular with both locals and foreign tourists, the restaurant maintains the characteristics of a traditional Chinese tea house, such as serving dim sum on traditional trolleys, asking diners to share the tables, and providing two teacups for each diner, with a bigger one for tea making and a smaller one for drinking.
CSI Properties Limited (00497.HK) paid HK$153 million for ownership of the stores on the ground floor and first floor of the building in which it is located at the end of 2015 before it spent another HK$355 million acquiring more than 30 additional units in September this year. It now controls more than 90 percent of the property.
The company did not respond to media inquiries about reported plans to demolish and redevelop the building.
The restaurant said it does not rule out moving to a new location in case it fails to renew the lease.
A regular at the restaurant said it would be a great pity to see the tea house that still keeps traditional Cantonese dim sum culture relocate, adding that the neighborhood will feel the biggest impact.
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