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Result of Selection

Mei Ho House as City Hostel : Mei Ho House

Mei Ho House

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Address: Block 41, Shek Kip Mei Estate, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon

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* Gross Floor Area: 6,750 m2
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Year Built: 1954

* Grading: Grade II
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Possible Uses: Art Centre, Youth Hostel

Selected Project :
Mei Ho House as City Hostel by Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association

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(This link will open in a new window)Presentation by Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association on 17 February 2009

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Capital cost: About $192.3 million

* Government subsidy required for operation of social enterprise: About $4.4 million
   

General Project Description

To establish a youth hostel with a view to:
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Bringing out the value of Mei Ho House through the preservation of its character defining elements;

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* Revitalising and up-keeping the building through adaptive re-use and transforming it into a unique cultural landmark;
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Organising regular guided tours;

* Managing the tangibles and intangibles by engaging the elderly to recount interesting stories of the past; and
* Benefitting the Sham Shui Po District and its community socially and economically.

How to reflect or bring out Historical Significance of the Building

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The project strives to preserve the building's spatial morphology and transforms original living units to hostel rooms without major alterations.

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* The project retains 5 sets of original dwellings as sample rooms for museum purposes.
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The project transforms the building into a cultural landmark is good with commendable concept of preserving the intangible heritage, e.g. the way of life in public housing.

* The proposed "Tourist Information and Visitors' Resource Centre" conveys information of the early development of Shek Kip Mei Public Housing in the context of the Sham Shui Po district, which helps enhance overseas and local visitors' understanding of the historic building.

Technical and Design Aspects

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The design and proposed use as a hostel with a public housing museum, exhibition areas, meeting room and cafe is compatible with the history of the building. The hostel will provide 109 twin/double bedrooms, 9 dormitories, 2 family rooms and 4 rooms for people with disabilities.

* The central connecting block would be re-constructed to provide a stronger structure with disabled lift, fireman's lift and the new communal facilities. The re-construction of the central block can retain architectural authenticity on the one hand and meet modern-day requirements on the other.
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The introduction of the sitting-out area in the rear courtyard will facilitate the organisation of performances and functions and provide an entertainment venue for local residents. This additional structure does not obstruct the essence of the building given by its H-shaped configuration.

* The applicant demonstrates a good understanding of the history of the premises with which well included in its design concept.

Social Benefits

* The project can successfully revitalise Mei Ho House and continue its original function with a new life. It can also create a fairly large number of low-skilled jobs targeting the underprivileged in the district.
* The applicant's parent organisation has a wide network reaching over 80 countries. That helps add an international dimension to the project, synergise heritage and tourism and attract new visitors to the Sham Shui Po district.
* The plan to set up an "alumni network" of Mei Ho House residents would strengthen a sense of history and belonging in the local community.
* The project is well-balanced by taking into account the need to maintain financial viability while achieving social benefits through the active engagement of the local community.

Job Creation

The project will create 290 jobs during renovation period and 42 full-time and 63 part-time jobs for local residents upon project commissioning.

Estimated Flow of People

About 104,000 headcounts per year for first three years

Selected Organisation

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The Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association was established in 1973. It has a history of 35 years in operating hostels in the territory with the aim of providing simple overnight accommodation for visitors and promoting international travel and friendship.

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* Currently it runs seven hostels in the territory and is affiliated with the International Youth Hostel Federation.
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It is governed by an Executive Committee comprising members from different sectors. A City Hostel Working Group has been formed by Executive Committee members to oversee the project with conservation experts.

Way Forward

* The selected organisation has to:
  • Complete the detailed project design;
  • Complete the required administrative procedures;
  • Seek planning permission from the Town Planning Board on the intended usage;
  • Seek formal funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council;
  • Carry out the renovation work (anticipated renovation period: around 18 months);
  • Apply for licences (where applicable) for intended operations; and
  • Sign with government agreements on operations of the social enterprise and preservation of the historic building.
* Anticipated Project Commissioning Time: Q4 2012
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Anticipated Breakeven Time: Year 1