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Old March 13th, 2008, 07:37 AM   #421
miss_j
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the proposals

hey hkskyline-
do you know where i could find detailed information on the five, or at least the 3 screened in proposals from the proponents? and do you know if there are museum designs from each proposals? from one of the articles it says herzog & meuron is designing for one and richard rogers for the other. any details on those designs?
cheers
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Old March 13th, 2008, 07:39 AM   #422
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what's your feeling about this project by the way? do you think it's ever going to go ahead? what are the general feeling of the HK people? are they still talking about it or has the whole discussion sort of died down a little?
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Old March 13th, 2008, 07:44 AM   #423
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miss_j View Post
hey hkskyline-
do you know where i could find detailed information on the five, or at least the 3 screened in proposals from the proponents? and do you know if there are museum designs from each proposals? from one of the articles it says herzog & meuron is designing for one and richard rogers for the other. any details on those designs?
cheers
I haven't seen them posted online, and I haven't picked up much about them in the local papers. I don't even think the designs have been selected yet. Currently, they're still going through public consultation of what should be included on the site.

There have been reports of several architects / leading museum organizations on setting up a facility on the site. But all these are preliminary as we have no idea what will be confirmed yet.

The general consensus is this project is a great thing, but it must be executed prudently and not become a huge financial strain. There is a need for more cultural facilities in Hong Kong.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #424
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I haven't seen them posted online, and I haven't picked up much about them in the local papers. I don't even think the designs have been selected yet. Currently, they're still going through public consultation of what should be included on the site.

There have been reports of several architects / leading museum organizations on setting up a facility on the site. But all these are preliminary as we have no idea what will be confirmed yet.

The general consensus is this project is a great thing, but it must be executed prudently and not become a huge financial strain. There is a need for more cultural facilities in Hong Kong.
Thanks for the reply. I was curious as to what was shown during the public consultation period in late 2004. Those photos you posted a couple of pages back from Gakei- they show the designs of each proponents right (Dynamic Star, Sunny, World City)? So I was wondering what was actually shown and who did those designs. I guess these designs might be scrapped now because the Government decide not to go with IFP but I was just curious as to how much involvement the big names architects have already. I know for example that Ghery has already done some pretty nice designs for Swire.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #425
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Originally Posted by miss_j View Post
Thanks for the reply. I was curious as to what was shown during the public consultation period in late 2004. Those photos you posted a couple of pages back from Gakei- they show the designs of each proponents right (Dynamic Star, Sunny, World City)? So I was wondering what was actually shown and who did those designs. I guess these designs might be scrapped now because the Government decide not to go with IFP but I was just curious as to how much involvement the big names architects have already. I know for example that Ghery has already done some pretty nice designs for Swire.
Yes, there have been a few notable international architects that have provided input into this masterplan. Foster originally won the competition a few years ago, and details are in the earlier pages of this thread. However, now that the plan has been redrawn, all those designs are in limbo. We're not sure whether they're even relevant now.

Perhaps they'll be brought back to the table at a later stage.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 06:26 AM   #426
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I read something about resetting the residential area of this project to be divided into three big parcels with low, medium and high plot ratio in an news article a few days ago.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:32 AM   #427
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no news???
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Old March 30th, 2008, 05:47 AM   #428
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This project was on the drawing board for years and still debates on financing, design, planning, environment, etc...etc. Pity, because Singapore has now leap-frogged HK on construction activities.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 06:03 AM   #429
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Probably should lock this thread due to inactivity yes? Sad this was one of my favorite projects before it was shot down.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 06:08 PM   #430
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It is not shot down, it just under review.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 06:36 AM   #431
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yea! no need to lock the thread. Govt still in discussion and its going ahead at some point I'm sure! I read that the Govt in its budget of this year revealed a $21.6 billion endowment to the WKCD Authority!
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Old June 8th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #432
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Arts hub to get by on HK$21.6b, and no more
6 June 2008
South China Morning Post

The government has promised not to ask for more money for the West Kowloon Cultural District, after initial funding of HK$21.6 billion, even if it runs into financial trouble.

Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai, permanent secretary for home affairs, said the future West Kowloon District Authority - the body that will oversee the planning and operation of the district - would be responsible for ensuring the hub was self-sufficient in the long run.

"We feel that there is no need to further inject money into the project in the future," she said.

"If the authority feels that they need more money, they can either save up or borrow money or ask for donations. The reason that the authority will not be part of the government is that we want the project to be financially sustainable."

Mrs Yau made the comment at a meeting of the Legislative Council's subcommittee that is overseeing the project. Lawmakers examined the government's proposal to request a one-off endowment of HK$21.6 billion.

The money will be used to finance the construction of the facilities and the establishment of the authority. Operating costs will be funded by income from shops, restaurants and entertainment.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat said the government must review the operation of the district in 2014-15, after most of the facilities have been built. "We can't fund the district without limit," he said.

The Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing was worried that a plan to turn mega-museum M+ into a world-class facility would be a mere dream without an impressive collection.

But Jane Debevoise, a member of the museums advisory group, said a contemporary art museum like M+ should rely on commissioned works to build up its collection and it could borrow from museums overseas.

Mrs Yau also said there were 60,000 artworks owned by the government that cannot be displayed now because of a shortage of space.

The government proposes an initial HK$1 billion and HK$20 million a year for acquiring a collection.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit is proposing to amend the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Bill to include a selection mechanism for the nomination of its board members and executive directors.

The bill is expected to be debated by Legco next month.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 05:24 AM   #433
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Government gets creative with arts hub assumptions
10 June 2008
South China Morning Post

"As museums are cultural and educational institutions, they are typically loss making and their value should not be measured purely on financial returns."

Legco paper on West Kowloon Culture Bunker

This was actually a point made by a financial adviser appointed to review the government's assumptions on the project and an honest adviser it is indeed who advises that his advice is not particularly worth honouring.

But he obviously forgot that advice was not wanted from him anyway. He was actually hired to say, "Yes, boss, you're brilliant" to every question put to him and, as he did not quite say it, the bureaucrats had to go to pains to emphasise that he was wrong when he questioned some of their assumptions.

This will have shut him up, which makes it my turn now as I also have some questions, similar ones, about the financial assumptions in the study papers snowed down on the heads of legislators.

A key assumption is that inflation over the next 50 years will average 2 per cent a year with both construction and staff cost escalation at 2 per cent.

The first thing that should strike you here is that 50 years is an awful long period for making financial assumptions. Leaving aside that such guesses are not really appropriate to the arts anyway, you can guarantee that they will be well off the mark at well short of 50 years. Imagine what you would have forecast in 1958 for the year 2008. Yet our bureaucrats even indulged in talk of financial performance after 50 years.

But it is the assumption of 2 per cent annual staff cost escalation that particularly interests me here. It implies, taken together with a general inflation rate of 2 per cent, that staff members will never see their wages go up. Inflation will rob them of every increase they get. They will be no better off in 50 years than they are now.

This can, of course, happen if our economic growth rate drops to zero for the next 50 years but it would be strange in other circumstances as real wage growth for personal service workers over the last 20 years has been in line with economic growth per employed person.

Could our bureaucrats explain this, please?

The construction cost assumption of 2 per cent also seems unusual. The average of the last 20 years is 5.4 per cent and the average of the last 40 years is 8.3 per cent. At present it is 11.7 per cent. How are we so certain of getting it down to 2 per cent for the next 50 years?

Could our bureaucrats explain this, please?

Likewise the assumption of a 2 per cent overall inflation rate. On the consumer price index (CPI) it is 5.4 per cent at present and this is about the average of the last 35 years, which is as far back as I can find numbers. I can go back 45 years on the GDP deflator, however, and then I get 5.5 per cent.

But the bureaucrats say, "As an advanced economy and under a currency board system with the Hong Kong dollar linked to the US dollar, Hong Kong's inflation over the very longer run would tend to be more or less in line with those experienced by economies at a similar stage of development. The implicit or explicit inflation targets set by most major central banks in the advanced economies are around 2 per cent."

Leaving aside, however, that these central banks do not make 50-year forecasts, even implicitly, my quibble is with the "more or less in line {hellip}" The chart shows you the Hong Kong CPI in red and the US CPI in blue, both rebased to an index value of 100 for the fourth quarter of 1983, when the peg to the US dollar was adopted.

I would call the subsequent wild gyrations "less" in line, not "more", and this is not just in comparison to any advanced economy but the one to which our currency is directly linked. How can anyone base inflation assumptions on this relationship?

Could our bureaucrats explain this, please?

And then we get the assumption of a real discount rate of 4 per cent. This, together with 2 per cent inflation, yields a nominal discount rate of 6.1 per cent, exactly what the bureaucrats forecast the project will earn annually on its endowment, which means it will break even. How convenient. What serendipity.

The 4 per cent turns out to be a "social discount rate", a government invention left undefined and used previously only for the Hong Kong/Macau/Zhuhai bridge, when we were told that it should be 3 to 7 per cent for developed countries. How did we then refine it to 4?

Could our bureaucrats explain this, please?

Then again, I don't think they really need to. I think we can safely take it that these financial assumptions are a piece of tomfoolery cobbled together only because higher-ups in government weren't satisfied with art for art's sake but wanted it for money's sake too.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 05:19 AM   #434
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Legco panel backs HK$21b for arts hub but wants accountability
19 June 2008
South China Morning Post

Lawmakers gave initial approval yesterday for a grant of HK$21.6 billion to the body which will build and manage cultural facilities in the West Kowloon arts hub, but demanded it report regularly to the Legislative Council.

The government said it would ask the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority to do so.

Members of Legco's public works subcommittee expressed fears about how the endowment would be used. Some cited lax supervision of spending by the Tourism Board, which has been accused of misusing taxpayers' money.

They also challenged the government's assumption that construction costs would rise by 2 per cent a year.

Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit, who abstained in the vote on the funding, said the authority should give a detailed report to the legislature every six months on its spending and timetable for construction.

He pledged he would vote to approve the funding when the Finance Committee considered it next month.

"I do wish to support the government," Mr Leong said.

The Democratic Party's Lee Wing-tat, who also abstained, urged the government to review the cultural district's finances and operations in 2013, when most of the first phase of construction is due to have been completed.

Liberal Party vice-chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee disagreed with Mr Leong, saying that it was not appropriate for the legislature to participate in the authority's management.

Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai, permanent secretary for home affairs, said the government would request the authority report regularly to Legco on the use of its funding but that some of the legislators' suggestions were unrealistic.

"We understand that people and lawmakers have expressed concerns over the transparency of use of this amount. So we pledge that the authority will report periodically to Legco on the use of the funding after it has come into operation," she said.

Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier asked if the government had learned any lesson from the Tourism Board row.

"How is the transparency? I do not feel safe with the governance of the authority," she said.

Government economist Kwok Kwok-chuen defended the 2 per cent inflation estimate but admitted it was difficult to estimate how construction costs might fluctuate, since many factors could affect them.

An expert commissioned by Legco earlier told lawmakers it was inappropriate for the government to take a long-term approach to estimating increases in construction costs and it would be more reasonable to base the estimate for cost inflation on recent trends. But the government responded that annual cost inflation over the past 20 years had fluctuated between 25 per cent and minus 13 per cent.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 09:14 AM   #435
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Now we need action on the arts hub project
19 June 2008
South China Morning Post

After repeated delays and controversies, the arts hub development in West Kowloon finally looks set to go ahead, with the Legislative Council's public works subcommittee yesterday approving the project. This was probably the most important hurdle for it to overcome. True, the HK$21.6 billion plan still needs approval from Legco's Finance Committee. But it is significant that seven democrat lawmakers and their allies abstained from voting yesterday, instead of opposing the project. This means the government will most likely have enough votes on the Finance Committee to secure passage before the end of the summer.

Hong Kong has waited long enough. There is no question we need and deserve a vibrant arts scene and world-class cultural facilities. Once built, they will serve not only artists and art lovers; some 23 hectares of public open space will be set aside, making it a de facto central park that will rival Victoria Park.

The arts hub project was first floated by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa in 2001, yet it has been mired in controversy from the start. Critics saw it as another potentially wasteful and ill-conceived project like Cyberport and Disneyland. There were accusations of collusion between the government and developers involving the last piece of prime land by the waterfront. Opposition was so great that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen had to shelve the plan during his first term. Yet Mr Tung was not completely wrong; no world city worthy of the name goes without a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The virtue of the revamped project is that it has an equitable slice for virtually every stakeholding group. Most important, instead of letting in developers, a statutory authority will oversee and run it independently.

Even if everything goes according to plan, the first venues will not go up until 2014 and 2015. The government must, therefore, move quickly to put together a credible board to launch the authority that is representative of the community. It is time to get on with the project. Hong Kong deserves a cultural district we can all be proud of - an artistic hub where we can let our imagination run free.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:06 PM   #436
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they talk a lot of shit and never really do the real things.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 07:36 AM   #437
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We'll just need to be really patient on this one.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:45 AM   #438
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it is 21.6 with a "B" for billion plan, I don't think it can design in one day or one week.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 12:16 PM   #439
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thanks for the news hkskyline! glad to hear the authority is being set up and things are starting to move along! i wonder if they're going to hold more competitions to get a masterplan or specific designs for the museums/performance art centers?
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 06:50 AM   #440
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Cultural hub moves another step closer
West Kowloon blueprint passes second reading

3 July 2008
South China Morning Post

Lawmakers yesterday gave preliminary approval to the long-awaited bill seeking to set up a government-funded body to oversee the planned West Kowloon Cultural District.

The blueprint passed its second reading by 45 votes to two, with one abstention, after nearly five hours of heated debate in the Legislative Council.

Last night, lawmakers began studying dozens of amendments proposed by the government and fellow members. A final vote on the legal framework for the cultural hub is scheduled for today.

The funding request for a one-off HK$21.6 billion for the project will be tabled for a separate vote by the Finance Committee tomorrow.

The funding is likely to be approved, even though the Civic Party did not rule out the possibility of voting against it, as the government rejected its demand to require the authority overseeing the cultural district to report its finances every six months.

During the debate, pan-democratic lawmakers voiced concern over the choice of board members for the authority, who will all be appointed by the chief executive, fearing the recent row over political appointees would resurface.

Responding to requests calling for open meetings to enhance the authority's transparency, Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said some meetings could not be open to the public as they might involve sensitive data.

Alan Leong Kah-kit, of the Civic Party, who chairs the Legco subcommittee on the development, questioned if the chief executive's appointments to the board would be transparent and accountable.

"What if Norman Chan Tak-lam [head of the Chief Executive's Office] is appointed to chair the board?" he asked. "It would be miserable to repeat the controversial row on political appointments."

Mr Chan has been viewed as being close to some of the government appointees and sat on the appointment committee.

Democrat James To Kun-sun said: "The worst scenario is if the government offers appointments only to people who have close ties with it. This may involve conflicts of interest."

Choy So-yuk, lawmaker for the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, disagreed that the chief executive's appointments would cause controversy.

Liberal Party vice-chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said the public might challenge the administration for shirking its responsibility if no board members were allowed from the civil service.

The board will have at least five members with experience in arts and cultural activities.

On Monday, the government responded to lawmakers' concerns over the huge one-off sum, pledging to require the arts hub authority to conduct an interim financial review after completion of the first phase in 2014 or 2015.

But the interim review was not included in the bill and the government said the review should not affect development of the second phase.
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