View Villa, 38 Tai Ping Shan StreetSheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
Although just west of Central, Sheung Wan offers a large contrast to the modern Central business district and is more reminiscent of the older Hong Kong. Walking down the streets of the district you can feel the history with the many antique shops, dried seafood trading companies, musty bird's nest shops, post war low-rise apartments, and ancient temples notably the Man Mo Temple.
A large majority of apartments in Sheung Wan are old Chinese low-rises, but most apartments found inside can be well renovated. Although these older buildings have no lift, the apartments on the top floor is often the most expensive to rent as it usually includes a private rooftop. The cheaper rents in the area of Sheung Wan around Hollywood Road, has attracted many boutique art galleries, cafes and shops selling arts and crafts, over the years this area has taken on a bohemian like charm and has now become a trendy place to rent an apartment.
Despite Sheung Wan being within walking distance to Central, the area till today has mostly remained unscathed from the rapid redevelopments that accompanied Hong Kong’s commercial success. Local folklore suggests that the Lion’s of the HSBC Tower play a role in the direction of economic development on the Island. The Lion facing east towards Wan Chai with its calm demeanour and closed mouth allows the flow of Chi and allowing prosperity, while the other facing East to Sheung Wan has its mouth open and blocking the flow in that direction.
But with Sheung Wan’s prime location and rising real estate value it is uncertain that the district can preserve its raw local characteristics and it’s rich history. Sheung Wan was one of the earliest settled areas of the British and where the original occupation occurred at Possession Street and hence it’s name. There are already plans for the redevelopment to the area around Centre Point with three sites covering 3,563 square metres, so there can be some doubt whether the area can retain its heritage and its old Hong Kong charm.