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HKFP Lens: Exploring Soho’s remaining old buildings before they are claimed by gentrification

By HK URBEX.

The Urban Renewal Authority’s (URA) attempts to redevelop a key area of Soho has been an ongoing battle since 2003. The situation now looks to be nearing its end.

The URA’s ‘H19’ project has been particularly mired by the inability to acquire the majority of rights from tenants.

But all is set to change this year as the URA can now invoke its power under the Land Resumption Ordinance to acquire the remaining properties.

Rampant development of the Soho area may now occur, as many old, yet structurally sound, buildings are turned to dust. The process has already begun.

The URA has long been criticised as a for-profit organisation, hiding under the guise of heritage conservation.

In fact, the previous managing director Iris Tam Siu-ying even resigned this March with reports suggesting she did not approve of the URA’s focus on profit over public benefit.

The government’s ineffectual policies regarding the preservation of cultural heritage is one of the main reasons HK URBEX was founded.

These apartment blocks may not have any interesting stories behind them, but they represent one of the last few bastions of Soho’s venerable history.

This history may soon become extinct in the face of a rapid onslaught of bland high-rises with conspicuous names such as ‘Queen’s Cube’ and ‘Island Crest’, alongside overpriced corporate coffee shops and restaurants which have caused the death of old Mom and Pop community stores.

HK URBEX – Visual creators and storytellers on a mission to unearth Hong Kong’s derelict abandoned sites. 

HKFP Lens: Exploring Soho's remaining old buildings before they are claimed by gentrification