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New Food and Beverage landmark at Avenue Walk, Wanchai

New Food and Beverage landmark at Avenue Walk, Wanchai  灣仔囍歡里

While many food & beverage operators are losing ground in Russell Street, Causeway Bay;  we”ve seen a silver lining lurks behind the dark clouds. The silver lining shines through Wanchai Avenue Walk.

Wanchai will rise a new food and beverages operating center at “Avenue Walk”, which means ” I like you” in Cantonese. The joint venture retail project, developed by Sino Land Company, Hopewell Holdings and Urban Renewal Authority, has launched its leasing activities in June 2013.

According to the developer’s spokesman, half of the shops would be wedding-related, like Chinese restaurants, stores selling wedding gowns, florists, photo studios, jewellers and accessories boutiques. Other shops would offer alfresco dining.

Avenue Walk history

Before redevelopment, Lee Tung Street were filled with print shops, mainly taking stock orders of wedding invitation cards, business cards and Chinese traditional calendars. That’s why it got the name of  “Wedding Card Street”. The street has been long famous for its printing industry.

In 1950s, print shops started to gather on Lee Tung Street, between Johnston Road and Queen’s Road East. Everyone went there with happiness, preparing for their weddings, new start-ups or other happy events.

Lee Tung Street was torn down in December 2007 as part of Urban Renewal Authority project. It was claimed by the developer that printing shops originally on the streets are welcome to come back once the redevelopment is completed. But it is hard to believe that the printing industry can afford the prevailing market rental around the area.

Chinese name "Avenue Walk" with prononciation in Cantonese as "I like you" - photo by Lacruland

Chinese name “Avenue Walk” with prononciation in Cantonese as “I like you”

New Food and Beverage store rentals continue to soar

In previous few years, we can see how the streets around, like Ship Street, Tai Wong Street East/West, Amoy Street, are changing face. More and more shop tenants operating food and beverages are moving in, such as Pizza Express, 22 Ships, YuYu Sushi, Davinc.

Restaurants, especially the international Food & Beverages operators, can afford higher rent than traditional tenants on the streets. Landlords are pleased to receive higher rental income which in turn can boost up  the value of their shops.

Around the corner, a heritage building on Johnston Road  60 (we called it “Pawn Shop” for years) was turned into a high-ended food and beverage building few years ago. The building outlook remains the same but almost all the tenants are operating as restaurants.

The rental on Johnston Road 60 can be comparable with that in Central Soho. Can’t you believe that a food and beverage space on the ground floor is asking HK$200 per sq ft for the base rent.

Business is business. No wonder why the developer of “Avenue Walk” is planning to have around half of the spaces leasing to food and beverages industry. This retail project is designed to be three-storeys accommodating 70 shops. Total retail area is approximate 100,000 sq ft.

A heritage building on Johnston Road 60 - before a pawn shop, nnow change to new Food and Beverage shops - Photo by Lacruland.com

A heritage building on Johnston Road 60 – before a pawn shop, nnow change to new Food and Beverage shops – Photo by Lacruland.com

 New Development vs Heritage Preservation

The Urban Renewal Authority, which awarded the project to Sino Land and Hopewell Holdings in 2009, required that the retail portion had to be wedding-related.

The developers said certain arrangements had been made to bring back the old businesses but no details were given.

It would be a pity if another redevelopment project by Urban Renewal Authority will again be commercialised at the expense of maintaining the heritage and history of Hong Kong.

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Ship Street is packed with shops for food and beverages - Lacruland.com

Ship Street is packed with shops for food and beverages – Lacruland.com

 

 

 

 

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