A fiefdom confirmed

June 29th, 2012 atam Posted in Building, Heritage | No Comments »

Quarry Bay is not really called Quarry Bay, you know. If Swire Properties has anything to do with it, it would be universally known as Taikoo Place.

Well OK, Taikoo Place doesn’t quite cover the whole district, but the developer owns enough of it for the place to be considered its fiefdom.

Hong Kong’s full of fiefdoms, of course. Think Hung Hom and what comes to mind? Whampoa Gardens of course. And what is Discovery Bay if not Hong Kong Resorts’ own playground?

And soon enough, Wan Chai may as well be renamed Hopewell Town. Like termites, the developer has slowly but surely eaten up the properties of small homeowners until it becomes possible for big chunks of the districts to be redeveloped into Gozilla-scaled projects. The government helped too, wiping Wedding Card Street off the map so that the developer could turn an entire block into yet another sterilised home to branded chains – with perhaps a few nods to “social enterprises” if we’re lucky.

This fiefdom will soon expand by 1.09 million square feet as Hopewell has finally won permission to develop its mega hotel. It’s been cut down to 55 storeys, but anyone who’s experienced the traffic along Kennedy Road and Queen’s Road East would know that’ll be sufficient to make the congestion even worse. And where Hopewell’s fiefdom ends, Swire’s Pacific Place District begins.

Once upon a time many lower middle-class families can live in this area, which was full of little shops. Now they’ve been turfed out to make way for luxury apartments for sale or rent. Whatever the developers don’t own, they hold the management contracts to.  Is it any wonder the wealth gap continues to worsen?

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