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HONG KONG | Haw Par Mansion Preservation

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Wine plan axed as mansion seeks new lease of life
The Standard
Thursday, July 23, 2009

The government has axed Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's idea of turning the 74-year-old Haw Par Mansion over to the wine industry and will call for tenders for its preservation and future use.

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government is now more open-minded about the use of the historical mansion on the Tiger Balm Garden complex.

The mansion has remained vacant since being surrendered to the government in 2001.

"We have come up with different ideas for the commercial use of the mansion, such as an event venue for Chinese-style wedding celebrations and banquets, or even restaurants," Lam said. "However, it is best left to the market to decide."

The issue will be discussed by the Legislative Council's development panel on Tuesday, its last meeting before the summer recess.

The three-story Haw Par Mansion was built on a 2,030-square-meter site and includes a 1,290sqm private garden. It was built in 1935 by Aw Boon Haw, who perfected Tiger Balm heat rub, for the princely sum at the time of HK$16 million.

The government now says it has decided not to put the mansion under its regular revitalization scheme, and will instead invite proposals through a public tender. This will provide "greater diversity" to the mansion's heritage revitalization work while adding to the potential commercial value to the building.

Lam admitted the renovation would be expensive, with the basic upgrading works costing HK$45 million. This includes connecting electricity, water pipes, maintenance of the mansion, structural strengthening, installation of fire service facilities and access for the disabled.

She said the delay in the building's revitalization plan was due to the financial tsunami and poor market sentiment.

Under the proposed arrangement, the government will cap its renovation costs at HK$45 million, with the successful bidder paying the balance.The bidder will enjoy more flexibility in the renovation of the mansion and have more certainty about its investment.

Lam insisted the government will retain ownership on the heritage of the building.

It will carefully assess the proposals put forward by the bidders to achieve proper conservation and will not be guided purely by commercial considerations, Lam said.

"We consider that it is not a desirable option to turn Haw Par Mansion into a boutique hotel, considering its location and the size of the building," she said.

"The mansion isn't spacious enough to turn into a hotel, and we think tourists will not be interested in spending a night on Tai Hang Road [a residential area]."
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Haw Par Mansion
23 July 2009
South China Morning Post

Location : Tai Hang Road, Causeway Bay

Built : 1933-35

Gross floor area : 1,600 square metres

Historic grading : Grade II (now proposed to be Grade I)

Background :
A private residence of the Aw family with garden open to the public. Family surrendered mansion to the government in 2001
By 毛十拳 from dchome :

Cash to revitalise mansion pulled
24 March 2010
South China Morning Post

The government has withdrawn a HK$45 million sweetener aimed at attracting businesses to find a commercial use for the historic Haw Par Mansion.

It has done so ahead of a public tender for revitalising the grade-one mansion in Tai Hang after deciding the economic climate had improved over the past year and the private sector would be interested, an official said.

Capital investment for the heritage project, once the centrepiece of the Tiger Balm Garden, is estimated to be HK$70 million. Last year the Development Bureau said it would be willing to contribute HK$45 million to renovate the complex before renting it out for longer than seven years. The official said the length of the lease had yet to be decided. "But the lease can't be too short as now the operator has to shoulder all the costs," he said.

The government has suggested several uses for the site, including a wine centre, a restaurant and a venue for wedding banquets. The mansion was built in 1935 in the Chinese Renaissance style as a residence for Aw Boon Haw, founder of the Tiger Balm medicine business. It was sold by Aw's daughter Sally Aw Sian, while the rest of the garden was demolished to make way for a luxury property development, The Legend.

Meanwhile, the government is in the middle of a process to consolidate the gradings of 1,444 historic sites in the city.

The revised gradings were the outcome of a heritage review that lasted for more than 10 years.

A monitoring system linking several government departments, set up last year to watch for any demolition or alteration of privately owned heritage blocks, has so far received 30 alerts. But the official declined to give details about which sites were under threat.

To further promote heritage sites, a heritage tourism expo and a symposium will be held this year.
Opinion : Hall of rites needed for Chinese festivals and ceremonies
28 July 2010

Your leader is absolutely right in breathing a sigh of relief at the recognition by the Ministry of Culture of a number of traditional Chinese festivals ("Drawing on past will keep our culture fresh", July 21).

I have always thought it one of the saddest aspects of Hong Kong culture that not more of such Chinese traditions are celebrated.

Indeed, for the best part of 10 years, I have been fighting for a hall of rites in which to celebrate festivals and ceremonies - something that has been deeply rooted from the days of Confucius, with and the astonishing fact that what he wrote on rites are substantially the same today, 2,500 years later.

It is obviously a seminal aspect of Chinese cultural life.

Yet every time I mention it, I get a blank - as if I was talking about an extinct tradition with no present-day relevance.

Such ignorance, and I should say vulgarity, is not characteristic of only government officials, but almost the entire affluent society of Hong Kong - those who are in a position to make a difference by using their wealth to do something meaningful for the cultural life of Hong Kong.

I begged government departments, even on a commercial basis, to consider the opening of a hall of rites at the Tiger Balm mansion that is adjacent to the old Tiger Balm gardens, which of course the government vandalised by demolishing it and, as if it was not sufficient an act of vandalism, selling the plot to a property developer.

This might well reflect the economic dynamism for which this city is known; but it is also an indictment on a culturally callous government which ignores the importance of heritage.

In any event, I never received an amoeba of support for the idea.

Nobody seemed to know what a Chinese hall of rites was, and some might as well have regarded it as a Martian idea.

So I ask myself: how much longer do those of us who value traditions and culture have to bang on and on and on in order to get someone or people to come forward to make a difference to Hong Kong's cultural environment?

So many people support and talk about and act on clean air and similar environmental issues.

Whilst these are perfectly fine, scant regard is given to the environment of our mental and spiritual existence, which is half of each of us.

So this really is a cri de coeur, especially in the wake of the West Kowloon Cultural District project, to make an effort to bring back all those valuable things if only for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

Otherwise, future generations will look back with disappointment and even anguish for what we omit to do today for the spiritual well-being of our home.

Sir David Tang, Central
Residents roar over Tiger Balm rezoning
The Standard
Monday, October 18, 2010

Local residents, True Light Middle School and the owners' corporation of luxury property The Legend yesterday expressed anger at the decision by the Town Planning Board to change the designated use of Tiger Balm Gardens from "cultural and community" to conservation-related commercial use.

On Friday the board passed the government's application to rezone the site in Tai Hang, where the Grade I historic building Haw Par Mansion is located, to conservation-related commercial use.

The board rejected an application for a "private club development" but accepted plans for a proposed eating place, a hotel, shops and a place of recreation provided the terrace ambience of the garden is maintained.

Developers must also submit a preservation management plan.

Wan Chai district councillor David Lai Tai-wai said the heritage site belongs to the public.

"It should be developed to public tastes and, obviously, building a hotel is not what public use means," he said.

"What has angered us more is the complete lack of public consultation, either through direct public engagement or advice through the district council."

Lai said the ruling was made despite opposition from at least 13 groups.

True Light Middle School, which is opposite the heritage site, has submitted a letter to the government urging the authorities to restrict the site to cultural use, worrying that the noise problems of the development would cause disturbance to its students. Others submitted letters, warning that the commercial development will fall prey to some developer's private use and the development will cause traffic noise problems.

A poll by the district councillor showed that 78 percent of the residents of Jardine's Lookout agree Haw Par Mansion should be converted into an Asian culture museum.

The three-story mansion in the garden was built in the Chinese Renaissance style in 1935 as a residence for Aw Boon Haw, founder of the Tiger Balm medicine business.

It was sold by Aw's daughter Sally Aw Sian, while the rest of the garden complex was demolished to make way for a luxury property development, The Legend, in 1998.

The government later reached an agreement with developer Cheung Kong that part of the redevelopment would be preserved for cultural and community use.

A board spokesman said the board rejected the proposed private club because it was contrary to the planning intention to guarantee public engagement, adding the revitalization of historic buildings with commercial participation has been encouraged by the government.
Haw Par Mansion to hold open days
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Government Press Release

The Development Bureau will organise open days at Haw Par Mansion, a Grade 1 historic building, from October 30 to 31 and November 5 to 7 for the public to appreciate the historical and architectural significance of the mansion, and to express views on the future commercial use of the revitalisation project.

A spokesman for the Development Bureau said today (October 21), "Given the Haw Par Mansion's characteristics such as its history, heritage features, location and attractive interiors, we consider that the site has potential for commercial uses.

"The Development Bureau intends to revitalise Haw Par Mansion through an open tender exercise for commercial use to be launched at the end of this year. The pilot project will try out the viability of revitalising historic sites via commercial operation.

"We aim to preserve and restore Haw Par Mansion with minimum intervention. No new structure can be constructed, save for minor structures such as those required for building services facilities. All business will be conducted within the existing building and the garden," the spokesman added.

Members of the public can visit Haw Par Mansion from 10am to 4pm during the open days, except on October 30 when it will be open from 11.30am to 4pm.

Guided tours will be provided during the open days. Members of the public who wish to join the guided tours can obtain the registration form from the heritage conservation website of the Development Bureau ( Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. Registration forms should be returned to the Commissioner for Heritage's Office via fax at 2127 4090 or e-mail at [email protected] on or before October 26 (for guided tours on October 30 and 31) or November 1 (for guided tours on November 5, 6 and 7).

Haw Par Mansion, at 15A Tai Hang Road at the Jardine's Lookout, was built in 1935 by Mr Aw Boon Haw. The mansion was a residence of the Aw family and a focal point of Chinese culture in Hong Kong. Architecturally, the mansion was built in the Chinese Renaissance style with a mix of Chinese and Western styles.
By jctfjcwy from a Hong Kong photography forum :

Balmy days of Tiger Balm heritage
11 November 2010
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

The Hong Kong government is attempting to soothe conflicting goals about conservation of the Haw Par Mansion. Doug Meigs reports.

Real estate developers demolished the Tiger Balm Garden in 2004. The adjacent Tiger Balm Mansion (aka, the Haw Par Mansion) has remained vacant for more than a decade, nestled in the shadows of four skyscrapers, including the Legend, a luxury residential complex at Jardine's Lookout.

The government hopes to preserve the mansion through a pilot revitalization scheme that would allow business interests to lease the site for commercial use. Some local stakeholders began protesting the plan after an October 15 rezoning of the site.

David Lai Tai-wai is a district councilor for Jardine's Lookout, an upscale neighborhood in Wan Chai District. Lai is especially vocal in opposing the government's plans. He is leading a Haw Par Mansion redevelopment concern group, and he wants the government to turn the mansion into an Asian heritage museum.

"This is a collective memory of all of Hong Kong, not just for local residents," he said.

His group formed with 50 members the day after the rezoning.

The Haw Par Mansion is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 4 pm. This weekend will conclude the government's public consultation at the Grade 1 heritage site.

More than 16,000 people have attended so far, said Suzanna Chan Chung-kwan, the Assistant Secretary at the Development Bureau. Attendance spiked last Sunday with a single-day tally of 7,600.

Many visited because they live in the neighborhood, others because the site has important implications for the future course of heritage conservation in Hong Kong.

Some visitors came to revisit fond memories of Tiger Balm Garden's audaciously tacky, multi-colored murals and statues - and they were disappointed. The Tiger Balm Gardens are long gone, buried beneath the Legend's foundation.

Complaints were audible among many passers-by in the mansion's crowded private garden. The small garden lacks the bombastic charm of a mountainside packed with concrete sculptures. Notable examples once included a rabbit marrying a pig, and the 18 levels of hell from Taoist philosophy, complete with a demon cutting the tongue from a liar's mouth and a human fried for eternity in a wok.

The mansion was the family home of Aw Boon-haw, one of the founders of the Tiger Balm brand. He built the mansion in 1935. The structure demonstrates a unique mix of Chinese and Western architectural styles. The interior includes painted-glass windows from Italy, moldings gilded with gold, and reliefs demonstrating a mix of mythological scenes from India and Aw's native home of Burma.

Aw Boon-haw and his brother Boon-par were ethnic Chinese, born in Burma. They inherited their father's herbal medicine business in 1908 and developed "Tiger Balm Ointment," a cure-all mix of oils: camphor, menthol, cajuput, mint and clove.

The Aw brothers began distributing their salve around Southeast Asia, then worldwide, earning a fortune. They moved business headquarters to Singapore in 1926. Aw Boon-haw eventually relocated to Hong Kong, where he was a notable philanthropist. He died in 1954.

The Hong Kong mansion and affiliated Tiger Balm Garden were one of three Tiger Balm mansions and gardens. Other locations are Singapore and Fujian, where the gardens remain intact.

Hong Kong's Tiger Balm Garden was converted into an amusement park called "Haw Par Villa" in 1985. Many of the sculptures were replaced with rides, but the venture hemorrhaged money. The rides were eventually removed and replaced with the old statues. Admission became free, and the site was a popular, kitschy place for families to visit before demolition.

At the mansion last weekend, visitors swarmed over four levels of dusty wood floorboards, past empty cupboards, and paint chips resting in dormant sinks. They found the mansion gradually sinking into decrepitude.

"I think it's really time to put the mansion into reuse," Chan said. "It sure has its own architectural merits, and it's really time to revitalize so the public can go in and see it and use it."

Aw Sian, heir to the Tiger Balm Garden and mansion in Hong Kong, sold the property in 1998 to Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Holdings. After negotiating with the government, Cheung Kong passed control of the mansion back to the public.

When Legend construction crews began work, the Antiquities and Monuments Office removed valuable furniture and historical relics from the mansion into storage. They also salvaged many of Tiger Balm Garden's murals and statues, said heritage officer William Lo Wai-kin.

Depending on proposals from potential tenants, Lo said some statues might be returned to the mansion's grounds. However, space is extremely limited, and any sculptural additions must not compromise the historical integrity of the mansion itself. He said statues that could potentially return include the eight concrete Taoist gods and the Buddha.

Because of the overwhelming crowds and fully booked guided tours, Lo has been helping as a tour guide during the open days.

"Most (of the visitors) say, 'where is the Tiger Balm Garden and where is the hell, or the big white pagoda?'" he said, "and I have to repeatedly explain to them that those have been demolished."

Because the name Tiger Balm Gardens still conjures powerful nostalgia in Hong Kong, the adjacent mansion presents an ideal opportunity to capitalize on a beloved brand name.

"I don't know which business will be adopted because this will be a commercial tender," Chan said. "This building will remain in government hands. It will not be sold, it will just be leased out to the tenant."

She said the Development Bureau would not consider any tenants until the tender is made public in subsequent months. She said the government does not currently have any business interests in mind. Comment cards will be evaluated and any necessary revisions will be made to the tender document.

Commercial revitalization of the Haw Par mansion became a topic in 2008, when Chief Executive Donald Tsang proposed that the site be transformed into a wine-trading center during his policy address.

Lai said he and other Wan Chai district councilors met with the Development Bureau in early 2009 to discuss revitalization plans for the mansion and other Wan Chai heritage sites. Lai said his group opposed the proposals for commercial revitalization.

Chan has been liaising among parties concerned with the mansion. She said the anger expressed immediately following the rezoning in October is due to a misunderstanding.

"I understand that the residents and the school are worried, but after explaining to them, I hope the two understand that this is not a big project," she said.

David Lai agrees that there is a misunderstanding. "When I said I didn't want the red wine idea, I didn't mean another business would be better. This should be preserved as a public heritage site," he said.

Once the government finalizes the tender, Chan said the Development Bureau would accept bids from potential tenants. Two factors will be considered: the high bidder and the technical merits of the revitalization proposal. She said bids and proposals will not be made public.

The successful bidder will be required to offer guided tours for the general public, and Chan said the government would keep a vigilant watch over adherence to conservation guidelines.
By Aaron444 from a Hong Kong photography forum :

Famous mansion open to change
17 November 2010
The Standard

Plans to put a historic Tai Hang mansion into commercial use will go ahead despite some objections.

The Development Bureau said tenders will be invited to revitalize Haw Par Mansion, a Grade 1 listed building once famous for its Tiger Balm Gardens.

The bureau said there were more than 31,000 visitors to the site over the past three weekends.

However, only 850 filled in questionnaires relating to the future of the mansion and, of those, a tenth opposed it being put to some commercial use.

The structure will now be preserved for such a use ``very soon,'' a bureau spokeswoman said.

``We are aware of the public's concern. Preservation is our priority. The uses [proposed by applicants] should go in line with the architectural characteristics and history [of the mansion]. Or we won't consider their tenders,'' she added.

It is estimated that capital investment for the project will be around HK$70 million, HK$45 million of which will be for basic upgrading and renovation work.

The bureau spokeswoman said the future site operator will not be required to share its surplus with the government because of the cost burden of the repairs and renovation work.

The mansion and surrounding gardens on Tai Hang Road were built by the late Aw Boon Haw, founder of the Tiger Balm medical business, between 1933 and 1935.

The gardens are gone, but the mansion is one of the few remaining private residences from the 1930s.

The property was surrendered by Cheung Kong (Holdings), which built luxury flats on the gardens site, to the government in 2001 and has been vacant since.

The Town Planning Board last month passed the government's application to rezone the site to conservation-related commercial use. But the board's decision angered nearby residents who fear the development will cause noise and traffic problems.
Source :

No. of Storeys : 4 (the Lower G/F, G/F, 1/F, & Roof)
Year of Construction : 1933 – 1935


The Haw Par Mansion together with its private garden was built by Aw Boon Haw, who was known as "The King of Tiger Balm". The Mansion was the Aw's family mansion and was restricted to private use, while the Tiger Balm Garden constructed adjoining the mansion was used to be open to the public for enjoyment.

The Tiger Balm Garden has been demolished. The Mansion together with its private garden has been preserved and passed to Government since 2001.


Architecturally, the Mansion was built in the Chinese Renaissance style with a blend of Western and Chinese construction methods and architectural theory. The plan is, however, more Western being roughly symmetrical with the adoption of porches, bay windows and fireplaces. Internally, there are beautiful painted glass windows from Italy, carvings and mouldings, gilded with gold and murals showing Indian and Burmese influence. Over the years there have not been many changes to the Mansion, and its authentic appearance is retained.

The Mansion is a reinforced concrete construction. Floor plates of G/F and 1/F are around 600 m² each. Penthouse on the roof is around 80 m² and the Lower G/F is around 380 m². There is a private garden in front of the Mansion which could be restored to an attractive ornamental garden. The social value and local interest of the Mansion lie in its representation of a residence of a rich and powerful merchant family in the 1930s and a focal point of Chinese culture in Hong Kong.


Situated at the foot of Jardine's Lookout, the Mansion is located at a residential area of middle class and is surrounded by high-rise apartments of various ages. Immediately adjacent to the Mansion is the residential development "The Legend", which stands on the former Tiger Balm Gardens site. There are limited commercial activities nearby, which mostly are daily convenience shops such as supermarket or laundry serving the neighbourhood.

Overall accessibility of the Mansion is good with several bus and minibus routes passing by Tai Hang Road. It is some 5-10 minutes driving distance away from Causeway Bay city hub. The existing access to the Mansion is a ramp branching off from Tai Hang Road.

Government plans to revitalise the Mansion through invitation of commercial tenders. The Mansion will enjoy a good "brand name" after the restoration and revitalisation.

Layout :
Mansion's popularity ensures public access condition of tender
17 November 2010
South China Morning Post

The strong public response to open days for historic Haw Par Mansion served as a reminder that any future use should keep it highly accessible, the Development Bureau says.

More than 31,000 people visited the grade-one historic building in Tai Hang Road, Causeway Bay, over the past three weekends, a bureau spokeswoman said yesterday.

"We noted that some visitors were disappointed to find the [Tiger Balm] garden was no longer there," she said. "But they also appreciated the architectural features of the mansion, which we will take care to preserve. We also understand that the public is concerned about the openness of the place. We will definitely make it a requirement in the tender."

The bureau will shortly invite tenders for revitalisation of the former home of the Aw business family. Suggested uses include a restaurant, hotel, shop and entertainment spot. Of the 850 visitors who filled out a questionnaire, 90 per cent would not object to such uses, while 10 per cent objected to any commercial use.

The mansion was built in 1935 by Aw Boon-haw along with Tiger Balm Garden, named after the ointment he and brother Boon-par developed.

The garden, open to the public for decades, was bulldozed by Cheung Kong (Holdings) in 2004 to make way for The Legend luxury flats.

The bureau estimates an operator will need investment of HK$70 million, HK$45 million of which would be for upgrading and renovation. The operator will have to produce a conservation management plan.
Tiger Balm mansion needs HK$120m spent
29 January 2011
South China Morning Post

The historic Haw Par Mansion will need at least HK$120 million spent on it to revitalise it into a business, the Development Bureau said, as it set out the requirements for potential bidders for the project yesterday.

According to the tender document, the potential operator will have to prove it has this amount of disposable capital and will be responsible for restoring the 76-year-old building in Tai Hang Road.

The bureau said commercial uses such as a restaurant, an art and antique gallery, a boutique hotel, a wine-related business or a training centre, would be suitable for the site, but bidders were free to suggest uses.

Last year, it withdrew a HK$45 million contribution to renovate the complex before renting it out.

Conservancy Association campaign manager Peter Lee Siu-man said he was worried the high capital requirement would make the site "destined" to be an exclusive club.

Officials will use a two-envelope tender, giving a 70 per cent rating to bidders' technical proposals and 30 per cent to their financial offers - the rent they propose to pay.

They will also require the operator to maintain some public access to the site, including setting up a 40-square-metre heritage centre in the two-storey building, which is 2 per cent of the block's floor area.

The centre, showcasing the history of the Aw family, for whom the mansion was built, will have to open free of charge for not less than six days a week. The operator will also have to run weekly free guided tours.

The lease will be for seven years, renewable for another three years. The business should be running by 2014.

The residence was built in 1935 in the Chinese Renaissance style by businessman Aw Boon-haw along with Tiger Balm Garden, named after the ointment he and brother Boon-par developed. The garden was open to the public and became a favourite visiting spot for locals and tourists.

The garden was sold by Aw's daughter Sally Aw Sian to Cheung Kong (Holdings), which cleared it in 2004 to build a luxury property development, The Legend. The mansion was given to the government.
Invitation of tenders for conservation and revitalisation of Haw Par Mansion
Friday, January 28, 2011
Government Press Release

The Commissioner for Heritage's Office of the Development Bureau today (January 28) invites tenders for tenancy from interested corporations for the conservation and revitalisation of Haw Par Mansion (HPM), a Grade 1 historic building.

HPM, located at 15A Tai Hang Road, Causeway Bay, comprises a mansion in Chinese Renaissance style and a private garden. The revitalisation project aims to preserve and transform HPM into a heritage landmark, which is to be sustained by the operation of a commercially viable business of a compatible nature. The successful tenderer will be required to provide a reasonable degree of free access for public appreciation of the site.

A spokesman for the Development Bureau said, "We strive to diversify our approach to the revitalisation of historic buildings in Hong Kong. Taking account of its history, location, scale, heritage features and attractive interiors, we believe HPM has some good potential for a commercial mode of revitalisation.

"Since the establishment of the Commissioner for Heritage's Office, we have successfully identified non-profit-making organisations to help conserve and revitalise nine historic buildings under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme; we have collaborated with the Hong Kong Jockey Club in conserving the Central Police Station Compound and have chosen another non-profit-making body to revitalise the Former Police Married Quarters in Hollywood Road into a creative landmark 'PMQ'. If this approach to involve a private sector corporation proves successful, it would allow Government resources to focus on other less commercially viable heritage conservation projects. More historic buildings in Hong Kong would be conserved as a result."

The successful tenderer will, at his own cost, implement the restoration, upgrading and renovation works for HPM. He will offer, in his tender, financial terms to the Government for use of HPM for operating his proposed business. A two-envelope tendering approach is adopted and greater weight is given to the technical proposals over the financial offer.

Corporations (including joint ventures) duly registered in Hong Kong or elsewhere are eligible to submit tenders. To demonstrate their financial capability in taking up the required restoration, upgrading and renovation works, tenderers are required to possess a minimum of HK$60 million employed capital and a minimum of HK$60 million working capital.

An assessment panel comprising representatives from relevant government bureaux and departments will be set up to assess the tender submissions, in accordance with a range of assessment criteria, including the reflection of the heritage value and significance of HPM, opportunities for public access for appreciation, merits in the technical aspects and the business proposals and management capabilities. In line with our emphasis on public participation in heritage work, the Secretary for Development has invited the Advisory Committee on Revitalisation of Historic Buildings chaired by Mr Bernard Chan, with its rich experience in evaluating proposals for the revitalisation of historic buildings, to provide advice to the assessment panel on the technical submissions during the selection process.

Members of the public and Wan Chai District Council have put forward their views on the future uses of HPM, which have been suitably incorporated in the tender. Tenderers are encouraged to take these views into account in finalising their revitalisation proposals.

Open days including on-site briefing will be arranged in February for prospective tenderers to inspect HPM. Details will be announced later at the heritage conservation website (

The tender documents for the project, including a resource kit containing the background information of the site and conservation guidelines describing the conservation requirements, can be obtained from the heritage conservation website or from the Commissioner for Heritage's Office during office hours at Room 2100, 21/F, Murray Building, Garden Road, Central.

The deadline for submission of tenders is noon on April 28, 2011 (Thursday).
Developer, Aw have designs on mansion
The Standard
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cheung Kong (Holdings) has reached an agreement with former Haw Par Mansion owner Sally Aw Sian to consider a bid for the conservation and revitalization of the 76-year-old structure.

The conglomerate bought the historic structure and the adjacent area from Aw in 1998.

It redeveloped part of the area, including the famous Tiger Balm Garden, into luxury apartments.

In 2001, Haw Par Mansion was returned to the government for conservation.

The government last month invited tenders for conserving the four-story structure built in the 1930s.

Cheung Kong said it is pleased to join with Aw to study a possible bid for what it called a "uniquely meaningful" project.

The tendering process for conserving the building in Tai Hang Road will run until the end of April.

The government has said that at least HK$120 million needs to be spent to turn the building into a commercially viable business.

The site can be used for catering, art exhibitions, hotels and wine-related businesses.

The winning operator - which will be granted a seven-year lease, renewable for another three years - will have to shoulder the restoration and upgrading costs of the mansion.

The government requires all bidders to guarantee to open a reasonable amount of space to the public. The operator is also required to run weekly free guided tours.

Conservancy Association campaign manager Peter Lee Siu- man said measures should be put in place to ensure conservation will not be sacrificed for commercial development.

Haw Par Mansion was built in 1935 in the Chinese-renaissance style by businessman Aw Boon- haw, Aw's adopted father.

It was part of the Tiger Balm Garden also owned by the Aw family.

The area was first opened to the public in the early 1950s and became a popular destination with features such as carvings of the "18 levels of hell" from Chinese mythology and a seven-story pagoda.

The mansion was made a Grade 1 historic building in 2009.

The main site is about 2,030 square meters, including the garden of about 1,290 sq m.
Viewings begin on mansion bid
17 February 2011
South China Morning Post

At least 10 organisations have shown interest in taking on the convservation of Haw Par Mansion.

The potential tenants have signed up for the Development Bureau's on-site briefings on the future of the grade one historic site, to be held on Wednesday and Friday of next week.

The government is looking for business proposals for the 76-year-old site on Tai Hang Road, and estimates it will cost about HK$120 million to renovate.

So far, suggestions have included turning it into a wedding venue, wine centre or restaurant. Potential tenants have until late April to put forward proposals.

Property giant Cheung Kong (Holdings) said on Tuesday it had reached agreement with the mansion's former owner, Tiger Balm heiress Sally Aw Sian, to enter a joint bid with her charity, the Aw Boon Haw Foundation.

The foundation declined to comment yesterday.

Sino Land, seen as a potential competitor, did not respond to inquiries on whether it was interested in the mansion. The company's executive director, Daryl Ng Win-kong, won the bidding to restore the old Tai O police station with the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation, which he set up in 2007.

The cost of the Haw Par project has led to concerns the mansion is destined to become an exclusive club or a private clubhouse for The Legend tower blocks built on the site of the Tiger Balm Garden next to the house.

Officials will rate bids 70 per cent on what they propose to do with the building and 30 per cent on how much they propose to spend on it.

They will also require the new tenant to maintain some public access to the site, including putting aside 40 square metres for a heritage centre within the two-storey building.

The mansion was built in the Chinese Renaissance style by Aw's father, businessman and philanthropist Aw Boon-haw, who also built the Tiger Balm Garden, named after the ointment he developed.

The garden was opened to the public in the fifties and became one of the city's favourite parks. .

It was sold by Sally Aw to Cheung Kong, which cleared it in 2004 to build The Legend.
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