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Old February 5th, 2013, 11:38 AM   #41
hkskyline
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Heritage pledge for old police station
The Standard
Thursday, January 31, 2013

image hosted on flickr

Central District Police Station by d-k-t, on Flickr

In an earlier column on the perceived condition and likely outcome of the current conservation activities being undertaken for the Central police station complex, I made some rather poignant remarks about what would likely happen there.

I am happy to report that a reply was sent to me by those responsible for the conservation. They say the complex, or at least the facade, will be conserved in its original state, touched up and repaired where required.

Interior decoration and furniture will not be restored to its original condition if in an advanced state of deterioration.

The plan is to have an authentic historical record of the complex through the use of old photographs and documents either from public records or private collections for viewing by visitors, with guides to explain both history and background.

Historians have been engaged to assist in the project to make sure plans are carried out smoothly and accurately.

These will include keeping part of the existing facilities such as the courtroom, cells and police areas just as they were to authenticate the ambience of yesteryear.

An expert has also been engaged to help conserve the remaining trees and to grow new ones to replace those that have died. According to the expert, there are a total of 11 trees, including a mango tree.

The response I received was quick and to some extent reassuring, though I am a little surprised to hear that there is only one mango tree standing, growing near the administration block which was once my office, the accident investigation section of traffic Hong Kong Island. There were always two mango trees. Did the other one die?

That the complex will not be turned into just another ordinary shopping mall with restaurants is comforting. The buildings within the complex have a long history.

It was once the "Big Station," or Dai Koon in Cantonese. During World War II it was also the site of atrocities committed against our heroic defenders by the Japanese military police, and we would not want to see tourists, however much they might spend, trampling over the sites of suffering.

We should be happy that those responsible for maintaining the site are responsive and concerned that an accurate picture be painted about how the complex will appear when it opens to the public in 2015.

May I suggest that those in charge of this very sensitive project put out points of public interest regarding developments from time to time so that we will be reassured that the right approach is being taken in the conservation of our heritage.

Too often developers have paid lip service to conservation of historic sites.

JS Lam served with Hong Kong police - `Asia's Finest' - for 32 years, reaching the rank of senior superintendent before retiring in 1996.
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Old March 8th, 2014, 01:51 PM   #42
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Central revitalisation project shaping up
24 December 2013
South China Morning Post

Future operators of the city’s new contemporary art venue, converted from the historic Central police compound, will be selected by two committees in phases, the Jockey Club announced yesterday.

The project, led by the Jockey Club Charities Trust, covers 16 buildings of historical and architectural significance, including the former Central Police Station, Victoria Prison and courts complex, as well as an open courtyard.

Two new buildings designed by the internationally renowned architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron will be constructed amid the heritage buildings in order to provide more space for contemporary art and exhibition areas. Twenty-seven per cent of the space will be designated for commercial use.

The club said yesterday that the two operators – one for developing heritage and contemporary art programmes and the other for commercial and leisure facilities – will be selected by the two committees, respectively.

The first committee, chaired by former Antiquities Advisory Board chairman Bernard Chan, comprises 18 members from various sectors including the arts, heritage conservation and district councils – as well as retired police commissioner Dick Lee Ming-kwai.

The club will invite proposals from operators early next year.

The second committee will be chaired by the club’s property director, Michael Moir, and will include town planner and antiquities board chairman Andrew Lam Siu-lo.

The revitalisation project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 05:34 PM   #43
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Jockey Club to run historic Central site
27 September 2014
South China Morning Post

Selection panel fails to find suitable arts venue operator and says club – which is financing HK$1.8b police station revamp – should do it

The Jockey Club will take on the operation of the Old Central Police Station Compound as a heritage and contemporary art venue after failing to choose a winner from three cultural groups bidding to use the monument.

The club, which is financing the HK$1.8 billion restoration of the site’s 16 buildings under a 2008 deal with the government, said yesterday that its selection panel “could not identify an integrated operator” and had recommended that the club take up the operation itself.

It did not name the bidders. But the sole group that entered the final stage of tendering is understood to be Arts in Heritage Research, co-founded by Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, general manager of property giant New World Development, and art collector Calvin Hui Kim-lung.

Its representatives were interviewed by the 19-member panel chaired by Executive Council member Bernard Chan last month. Cheng and Hui declined to comment to the South China Morning Post yesterday.

Two competitors – the Hong Kong Arts Centre and the Asia Art Archive – are understood to have been ruled out earlier for failing to meet a technical requirement.

“The selection committee [assessed] the strategies and plans for the heritage programming, strategies and plans for contemporary art programming, financial capacity, business viability and financial plans for the proposed programmes, and management capability and governance,” Chan said.

Another panel is now in the process of selecting 10 food and beverage operators for the site.

Clifton Ko Chi-sum, who runs the commercial theatre group Spring-Time Stage Productions, said the plan laid out by the club made it difficult for any arts group to come up with a financially viable model.

Ko said he had considered bidding but was put off after learning that the club’s revised plan reduced the size of the theatre to only 350 seats, down from 500 seats under an earlier plan.

“You won’t be able cover the costs even if all the tickets are sold out … Such a small theatre can survive only if the government funds it,” he said. “I doubt if the Jockey Club has enough knowledge to operate an arts venue. The worst thing is for amateurs to lead professionals.”

An arts group member involved in the tender, who declined to be named, said bidders were concerned about a clause that required the operation not to adversely affect the government’s image. But a club spokesman said the operator would be “artistically free”.

In a statement, the club said that it would involve heritage and arts groups in its work at the site.

As well as the police station, the compound includes the former Victoria Prison and the former Central Magistracy, built between 1864 and 1925. It was declared a statutory monument in 1995.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 06:08 AM   #44
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Staff hired to re-energise police station project
18 April 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt

Senior appointments to focus on contemporary art and heritage at revamp of site in Central

The controversial Central Police Station (CPS) project has taken a new turn, with two senior appointments made yesterday to reboot the scheme following the collapse of last year’s process to find a consortium to run it.

Tobias Berger, curator at West Kowloon Cultural District visual culture museum M+ and formerly the executive director and curator of Para Site art space, was named head of art. He will lead the contemporary art operation.

Sino Land heritage manager Winnie Yeung Wing-yin, who oversaw development of the Tai O Heritage Hotel among other projects, will be head of heritage.

Berger was praised by Dr Lars Nittve, executive director of M+, for making a “huge” contribution to the Kowloon project. Nittve said: “This is an exciting time for the visual arts in Hong Kong and it is fair to say the eyes of the art world are fixed on the city. Projects like M+ and the Central Police Station will help consolidate Hong Kong’s position as the centre for visual art in the region and it is refreshing to see a vibrant ecosystem developing that allows creative and professional development within the sector.”

Two working groups were also appointed. Bernard Chan, Executive Council member and chairman of the Advisory Committee on Revitalisation of Historic Buildings, will chair the art working group. Its four members include art critic John Batten and artist Stanley Wong Ping-pui.

Lee Ho-yin, director of Architectural Conservation Programmes at HKU, will chair the heritage working group which has six other members including former commissioner of police Dick Lee Ming-kwai and town planner Andrew Lam Siu-lo.

The new management structure was established after the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which is funding the HK$2.1 billion project, failed to select a consortium last year to run the new cultural site. Two bidders were disqualified and one was rejected.
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Old May 6th, 2015, 06:52 PM   #45
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Strong arms of heritage law flexed
6 May 2015
The Standard Excerpt

The revitalization of the old Central Police Station in Hollywood Road has just reached an important milestone: the appointment of specialist leaders and working groups to oversee the heritage and art sides of the project.

Head of heritage will be Winnie Yeung Wing-yin, who has worked on various projects in Hong Kong and Singapore, including the Tai O Heritage Hotel " a former police station.

Her team will have responsibility for the Central site as a part of our history. This is not only about conservation but community engagement and education.

A heritage working group headed by Lee Ho-yin will provide views and advice.

The professor's team has various people with expertise in such areas as built heritage and " fittingly " a former police commissioner.

Head of art will be Tobias Berger, who has wide experience as a curator in museums and art centers in Hong Kong. He has also curated almost 100 events in Asia and Europe.

His team will be responsible for local and international contemporary art programs, with the old station offering unique exhibition environments.
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Old May 6th, 2015, 06:58 PM   #46
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By Double Bass from dcfever :

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Old August 14th, 2015, 09:09 PM   #47
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Architect puts conservation in context
8 June 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt

Roger Wu says deciding how to protect historic sites is all about people’s priorities and values – should heritage come before redevelopment?

“Architecture is about the spirit of a place, which can be summarised in three words: context, context, context,” says Roger Wu Tsan-sum.

Wu should know. Having spent 17 years at John McAslan + Partners in London, a top British architectural firm, the Hong Kong-born professional is well acquainted with how Britain’s interest in history – rather than the conservation of heritage sites per se – has shaped its heritage efforts. And context is precisely what Hong Kong needs to recognise and embrace at the start of its long learning curve on heritage.

“[London] has its own socio-economic and historical context and how it has developed … with the resultant culture,” Wu said. “All these form the very root of a conservation project.”

The British saw great value in conserving a heritage site by relating to its long history and its previous residents, he observed.

“It is with respect and pride the British people ascribe to relics. Not that the people in Hong Kong have no respect for heritage. But their value system is different and many of them see more value in redevelopment than keeping an old building. In short, it’s got its own context.”

Wu cited an example to illustrate how far the differing contexts between the two cities could take a heritage project.

“In Hong Kong, as long as all the required regulations such as fire prevention and safety are met, one can tear down an old construction and replace it with a most ugly building simply because there is no regulation on what a building should look like,” he said. “But in Britain, a local council and its directly elected members are vested with the authority to protect the area’s culture … and can override an owner’s redevelopment right if it is deemed incompatible with the local culture. The British context of conservation has developed for decades with a full set of shared concepts and values as well as legislation.”

Wu is among architects who define conservation as the management of change. But this definition is problematic in Hong Kong, where change is almost constant. Dizzying development makes it hard to establish a sense of history and the respect for it.

“Hong Kong did not respect very much its own history until the recent generations. The city was a place to make quick money, either to send back to the mainland or save for emigration. It was not until the last two generations that people really took Hong Kong as their home.”

Wu himself returned in 2010 to set up an office for the London firm. He now counts among his projects the revitalisation of the Central Police Station complex into a cultural hub, and the Jessville mansion in Pok Fu Lam into a contemporary clubhouse.

Last year, he joined the Haw Par Music Foundation as its chief executive, leading the revamp of its eclectic three-storey 1930s Haw Par Mansion in Tai Hang into a music institution.

“A music institute as a starter will be more sustainable for the historic mansion than, say, an office,” he said. The work was made possible under a plan launched in 2008 to revitalise historic buildings through partnership. “The government has done a lot of work to advance the cause, especially under Carrie Lam [Cheng Yuet-ngor] when she led the Development Bureau,” he said.

To take conservation to a higher level, the concept needs to take root in society – which in turn necessitates taking into account more sophisticated “software”, such as the soul of the site.

“We often hear modern architects say ‘form follows function’,” he said. “But it is often taken out of context. It is not just about the physical function … There is also function of the soul … An emotional feel could override major physical functions.”

Wu observed the Antiquities Advisory Board, a government body on heritage with architects and others on its roster, had operated in a “more reactive rather than a proactive” fashion. What the city needed was “an independent and credible platform … on heritage and conservation formed by scholars, professionals, stakeholders and all interested parties to exchange expertise and ideas not on a crisis basis, but on a regular basis”, he suggested.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 06:26 PM   #48
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South China Morning Post Excerpt
Monitoring of work at Hong Kong’s former Central Police Station compound is ‘problematic’, district councillor says after wall collapse
Comments by Central district councillor Ted Hui Chi-fung follow criticism of project’s design, management and a perceived lack of transparency and delays during tendering process
May 30, 2016





The collapse of a structure at the historic former Central Police Station compound is the latest – but by no means the first – controversy to hit the HK$1.8 billion restoration project that began nearly a decade ago.

The Jockey Club first submitted a proposal to revitalise the compound in 2007, but the project has since become the target of much criticism regarding its design, management and a perceived lack of transparency and delays during the tendering process.

In 2014, the club announced it would be taking on operation of the project itself after a selection panel failed to choose a winner out of three cultural groups bidding to run the monument.

Despite critics expressing concerns about the initial design, the project received widespread support among the public during a six-month consultation in 2008.

“I think there was criticism regarding having the club as the operator ... It’s not an expert in modern art or in running a project like this,” Central district councillor Ted Hui Chi-fung said. “The selection process was not very much discussed in public and was not discussed in the council either, so at that stage there wasn’t much the public or the council could do.”

The former police station complex, comprised of 16 historical buildings, sits alongside Old Bailey Street, Hollywood Road and Arbuthnot Road.

The revitalisation project is a joint venture between the government and the Jockey Club. It will see 37 per cent of the site used as a showcase for heritage and contemporary art, 27 per cent used for commercial and entertainment purposes, and the remainder set aside for public access and other facilities.

The site is to be expanded to cover 300,000 sq ft.

Declared a monument in 1995, the compound is comprised of three structures – the former Central Police Station, the former Central Magistracy, and Victoria Prison. The police station, built in 1864, was Hong Kong’s first.
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Old May 31st, 2016, 05:34 PM   #49
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The Standard Excerpt
Crashing thunder, then cloud of debris
May 31, 2016









The collapsed brick wall at the historic former Central Police Station compound on Hollywood Road had a seeping-water problem, its Heritage Working Group chairman Lee Ho-yin said yesterday.

Parts of the roof and the first and second floors of the former Married Inspectors' Quarters in the compound collapsed on Sunday.

Rescue workers said no one was injured.

Witnesses said they heard a series of loud bangs. "I have never heard those sounds before in my life," said a woman who works at a bar nearby.

"It was like a boulder rolling down a mountain or crashing thunder."

A woman passing by described "a really loud bang and then a cloud of debris."

The building has been closed for further investigation, clearing up and temporary propping and strengthening, the Buildings Department said last night.

"Approved structural strengthening works were being carried out to the building" before the collapse, the department said.

Senior building surveyor Hung Chi- kin said the department inspected the site a month ago. Its probe would explore whether or not the accident was due to a man-made problem.

Lee said: "It should have been demolished for safety. It is the most difficult heritage project."

He said he did not rule out that other buildings could collapse in the future, and the compound should be regarded as dangerous.

He cited an engineering report, saying that the collapse could be due to cracks between the bricks, which allowed water to get in, noting the recent downpour.

Lee also said the wall was built of green bricks, which were less solid than red bricks.

When asked if the group noticed the water seepage problem when it took over the project, Lee said: "Yes. You could say so."

The Development Bureau said the Jockey Club has carefully removed and would recycle the building materials that collapsed, adding that most of the collapsed material was "newly replaced."
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 01:48 PM   #50
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Wall and roof collapse at historic former Central Police Station raises safety and heritage preservation fears
Ted Hui Chi-fung says incident at site of heritage revitalisation project ‘shows failure of government’s conservation policy’
South China Morning Post Excerpt
29 May, 2016

The historic building that partially collapsed in the former Central Police Station compound on Sunday night had been flagged two weeks ago as a vulnerable structure that was in “relatively poor condition”, it emerged yesterday.

Emergency crews combed the rubble with sniffer dogs yesterday, even though they did not expect to find anyone.

The accident, just over a week after the collapse of a green roof at City University, has raised public concerns about safety as well as government heritage conservation efforts.

No one was injured in the *collapse on Hollywood Road within a fenced-off construction site, where the Jockey Club is leading a HK$1.8 billion project to *revitalise the 150-year-old compound. It was fully decommissioned in 2006.

After a wall and part of the roof of the former married inspectors’ quarters came crashing down, it was revealed that it was in the worst condition, due to poor-quality bricks, among the 16 *historic buildings in the *compound.

Experts believe unstable foundations may also be to blame.

According to a document *submitted by the Development Bureau to the Central and *Western district council for a meeting on May 19, the married quarters and the former Central Magistracy had “a complex configuration” and might require “more time for restoration”.

The married quarters were built between 1862 and 1864 – among the oldest of the blocks–and were slated for redevelopment into an office for an NGO and a visitor centre.

According to the document, progress was “in accordance with the restoration plan”, with the compound scheduled to be opened to the public late this year.

Architectural expert Lee Ho-yin, who headed the project’s heritage working group, said problems with the quarters had been known for a long time.

“It has the most problems among the 16 buildings, as both materials and construction were not up to standard,” Lee, an architectural conservation scholar at the University of Hong Kong, said. He said the use of local green bricks for buildings three to four storeys tall was problematic, noting that this had been known since the start of revitalisation work in 2011.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 01:17 PM   #51
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The Standard Excerpt
Panel to examine compound collapse
June 30, 2016

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has set up an independent review panel to examine last month's partial collapse of the Married Inspectors Quarters building at the historic former Central Police Station compound on Hollywood Road.

The three-member panel will be chaired by Greg Wong Chak-yan, who is a registered structural engineer and registered geotechnical engineer, and a past president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. The other members are Benny Lai Siu-lun, a registered structural engineer with heritage project experience, and Australia-based chartered structural engineer Simon Wiltshier.

Parts of the roof and the first and second floors of the quarters collapsed on May 29. There were no injuries. The Jockey Club is responsible for the overall planning of the revitalization of the compound, parts of which date back to 1864. The project began in 2007.

The panel will look into the circumstances that led to the incident and report on the likely causes and whether any additional measures should reasonably or practically have been taken to prevent the collapse. The club said it will share the results with the government and the public.
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Old November 3rd, 2016, 04:56 PM   #52
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South China Morning Post Excerpt
Collapsed building at 150-year-old former Central Police Station will ‘inevitably’ lose heritage value with restoration project, Jockey Club says
Partial reopening of historic compound likely to be delayed to middle of next year due to recovery and stabilisation work on former Married Inspectors’ Quarters, which came crashing down in May
September 7, 2016

The restoration of a collapsed structure at the historic former Central Police Station will mean an “inevitable loss” of its heritage value as it may involve demolishing or reconstructing parts of the building, the organisation in charge of revitalising the compound has said.

In May, a wall and part of the roof at the former Married Inspectors’ Quarters – one of the 16 historic buildings in the 150-year-old compound – came crashing down. No one was injured.

The site, which is a declared monument, was subsequently closed to the public, and a partial reopening, which was originally set for next month, will now likely be delayed to the middle of next year as a result of the recovery and stabilisation work to the building.

The Jockey Club, which is in charge of the HK$1.8 billion revitalisation project, has put forward proposals to the Antiquities Advisory Board for recovering the building which include eight options. The board will deliberate on the plans on Thursday.

Of the eight recovery options, five include partial or full demolition of the structure, and some allow for adaptive reuse of the building for retail purposes.

Two options involve restoring the collapsed parts by using salvaged, traditional or modern materials.

The most drastic option involves demolishing the remaining parts of the structure still standing and transforming them into an open courtyard.

“The recovery options outlined above will, inevitably, and to varying degrees, result in some loss to the heritage value [of the building],” the Jockey Club said.

More : http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/h...former-central
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Old November 5th, 2016, 05:26 AM   #53
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The Standard Excerpt
Drilling blamed for quarters collapse
Nov. 4, 2016

Holes drilled in a building wall of the Married Inspectors' Quarters to reinforce it instead led to its collapse in the 152-year-old former Central police station compound, according to an independent review panel.

Built between 1862 and 1864, the venerable building - among the oldest of the blocks - collapsed on May 29 this year on Hollywood Road within a fenced-off construction site, where the Hong Kong Jockey Club has been leading a HK$1.8 billion project to revitalize the historic architecture since 2007.

A club-appointed three-member review panel said in a nine-page English report the collapse most likely initiated at the north wall under a "curtain fall" mode, as a result of the failure of the brick columns between the ground floor and the second floor.

The collapse of the entire section of the north wall in turn pulled down the upper section of the adjoining west wall.

It was suggested in the report that the excavation of 18 holes - about 350 millimeters wide, 200mm high and 200-300mm in depth - between May 20 and May 28 on the north wall was the immediate cause and one of the major reasons for the collapse.

The holes were excavated to pocket steel square box sections into the wall as part of the timber floor strengthening and fire resistance works on the first floor.

The panel noted that the brick columns may have had indiscernible cracks or weak bonding on the first floor near the holes that allowed cracks to propagate during or shortly after the hole excavation.

Panel chairman Greg Wong Chak- yan, a former president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, said any holes drilled within the brick columns base width should have been avoided and an alternative reinforcement detail, which did not involve cutting into the zone immediately below the brick columns, should have been adopted.
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Old June 14th, 2017, 04:43 PM   #54
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Old Central Police Station in Hollywood Road, Hong Kong by spenson_shih, on Flickr
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Old September 21st, 2017, 06:17 PM   #55
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Three options for old police station
Sept. 20, 2017
The Standard Excerpt

Work is continuing on Tai Kwun - the heritage and arts rejuvenation project at the old Central Police Station compound.

People are understandably interested in Block 4, the 1860s building that partly collapsed in May last year. After considering many alternatives, specialists and project managers have come up with three possible recovery options.

One is to rebuild the missing parts of the block using modern and some original materials. This would leave the structure looking pretty much as it would have done, though part of it would not be authentic. This option downplays the fact that the collapse happened. The other two would preserve the collapse itself as part of the site's story.

The second option is to replace the missing part of the block with a contrasting modern design. This would enable strengthening of the structure and a wider range of uses for it.

The third is to make the remaining structure secure and leave the missing part as a courtyard. This reduces floor space - though of course it creates an additional open area.

There are obvious trade-offs here among practical engineering issues, preservation of heritage and the future use of the space. It is important to remember that the collapse affected around 15 percent of the original block.

Whichever of these options is used, most of the old building will be preserved.
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