J3 Tours | 5 not so iconic Buildings in Hong Kong

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Jamie | Founder of J3 Private Tours Hong Kong | Offering Award Winning Private Tours of Hong Kong

The fabulous jammed together apartments in Whampoa, Kowloon, Hong Kong

One of my favourite and iconic images of private housing in Hong Kong

They must feel terribly cramped in their tiny apartments, not much in the way of space or views but for those of us on the outside it makes for a great image.

I just love the symmetry.

The gentrification of Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong has begun

Mong Kok gets all modern and very, very expensive

I actually featured this building in my last post so I will use the same text.

"When I am walking on the streets of Hong Kong I am often asked "do you prefer old Hong Kong or new Hong Kong?" - there is no easy answer, Hong Kong has so few old colonial / historic buildings these days and it seems our new buildings just get taller and taller.

I do actually like a mixture of old and new but by old I mean buildings of over 100 years old, all the great cities around the World get the mix right, we don't here given that a building from the 1960's is considered old and certainly here the occupants simply do not seem to care about building exteriors primarily because it seems they just wait for the URA (Urban Renewal Authority) to come pay a visit with a blank cheque to get rid of them and knock down the building so why waste money on paint and repair work?

Yup, the URA is a Government Department charged with the modernisation of the older parts of Hong Kong and they can pay silly money to knock down your apartment block and replace it with one like is shown in the image.

...and yes, I do like these modern apartment blocks, totally unaffordable but they really do add something to the neighbourhood."

It may not be iconic now but perhaps some day.

Central Market in Hong Kong, work has finally begun to make it nice again

For the first time since the 1930's Central Market looks pretty good

Built in 1939 and closed in 2003 and work has just begun, this just about sums up Government red tape in Hong Kong.. it has been 15 years since the building / market was formally closed and for 15 years not a single person has been willing to make a decision. If it is one thing I hate it is that the Hong Kong Government makes decisions by Committee because no one wants to make the wrong decision and hence lose face.

So in 15 years basically the department in charge (and Government Departments seemingly do not talk to each other here) has managed to put a fabric cover over the building.

What a bunch of morons.

Still it has turned the building into a not so iconic building in Hong Kong, I personally think the fabric cover gives it the charm it has sadly lacked for many years.

The Center, next to Central Market, the most expensive building in the World, sold in 2018 for US$5.5 Billion

The Center on Queens Road

I suspect the previous owners of the Center are laughing all the way to the bank having trousered US$5.5 Billion for this pretty average building... ok, I know nothing about real estate but it is not core Central, it is a little out of the way, it is quite old (ish) but the new owners saw potential to make a pile of money, primarily because most of the tenants are / were paying less than current market rentals, so in Hong Kong the new owners come in, kick out the old tenants and double the rent and 2 years later double it again...

They will make a pile of money even after paying US$5.5 Billion, for what is now the most expensive commercial building in the Milky Way.

ps. did I mention the lobby of this building appears in the Batman Movie, the Dark Night...

Western Market, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island.

Western Market

Lost Potential

In my opinion this is a classic case of "why bother saving the building"

Western Market is a somewhat unique building, rather colonial, classic red bricks and an interesting location but as a place to visit it is absolute rubbish.

I rarely take clients there because unlike some recent restoration efforts, this one they got totally wrong, little or no care was given to restoring it to how it really looked, it is tacky (pink windows and doors!) and is so blah not many people visit it at all.

As bad as the exterior looks it is not a patch on what goes on inside, it is all rather embarrassing - on the ground floor is a tacky mini mall with no thought as to the tenant mix, on the first floor are about 20 fabric stores (!) and on the 2nd floor is a cheesy wedding banquet restaurant, it is all rather dull.

It really is a shame as this building has lots of potential, I rather suspect the Government will find a way of knocking down the building and have it replaced by a 50 floor commercial building which will more than fit in with the surrounding buildings.... what a shame.

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Oh my golly gosh, the simply amazing Pagani Zonda Absolute - this is a custom made car and is rumoured to be the only one of it's kind in the world and it is in Hong Kong!... oh... and yes, this is my picture, talk about being in the right place at the right time.