West Kowloon is set to become Hong Kong’s crowning achievement for Urban planning, in this small area on the western tip of the peninsula you can find Hong Kong’s most ambitious and grandiose Real Estate developments and soon be one of the world’s largest and most expensive cultural quarters.
Just on this finger of reclaimed land resides the tallest commercial building in Hong Kong, arguably the trendiest Mall in Hong Kong, some of the most expensive apartments in Hong Kong, the tallest and most imposing residential towers in Hong Kong, and eventually the first of its kind here, a cultural district with world-class facilities that will cost the government in excess of HKD $21.3 Billion dollars.
The current Union Square, a collective of developments from Hong Kong’s top developers, is literally a showcase of works from the world’s best engineers, Architects, urban planners, and landscape designers. With a site of 13.54 hectares (33.5 acres), this commercial/residential development is integrated with the Kowloon MTR Station that connects to Central and the International Airport. This tried and proven model of a Mall integrated with an MTR Station and with residential/commercial developments upon the podium is done all over in Hong Kong, but here this model is taken to new limits here especially in terms of engineering and excessiveness.
The Elements Mall at the foundation of Union Square was designed by the world-renowned Benoy, and in line with the theme in West Kowloon it has quite a different approach, although it has ubiquitous formula of modernity and opulence, Elements has a succinct focus on catering to a more modern urban lifestyle with a more varied selection retail outlets than the cookie cutter tenant mix you can find elsewhere. The Mall boast Hong Kong’s largest natural and organic food supermarket: 360, one of Hong Kong’s most modern ice skating rink and a 1600-seat Grand Cinema, currently the largest cinema complex in Hong Kong.
At the southwest corner of Union Square stands the flagship development the International Commerce Centre (ICC), a 108-storey, 484 m (1,588 ft) commercial skyscraper. It is the world's ninth tallest building by height, world's fourth tallest building by number of floors, as well as the tallest building in Hong Kong. This iconic building in Hong Kong’s skyline houses premium office spaces with some of the best views on the globe, and world class amenities including The Ritz-Carlton and the “must see” tourist attraction the Sky100 observatory.
The luxury residential developments atop Union Square includes the Cullinan, Hong Kong's tallest residential towers, with 68 stories and a height of 270 metres (886 ft), The Arch at 252 metres (828 ft) is one of the most recognisable developments in the Hong Kong with the towers forming the distinctive arch high-up from the 69th floor. Other extravagant developments includes the Waterfront on the eastern side, the Sorrento towers with tower 1 at 256 metres (841 ft) tall, the 3rd tallest residential building of Hong Kong, and the imposing “wall like” Harbourside development with 3 expansive and interconnecting towers standing at 255 metres (836.6 ft). These developments take up the top spots on the list of Hong Kong’s tallest residential Building and are all strategically positioned to take full advantage of the open harbour views that Hong Kong is famous for.
Under construction just to the south of Union square is the site for the West Kowloon Cultural District, stretching across 40 hectares, it will encompass 23 hectares of public open space with two kilometres of vibrant harbour-front promenade. This undertaking will be one of the largest cultural projects in the world, blending art, education and open space, its whole purpose is to create a vibrant cultural quarter for Hong Kong where the local arts scene can interact, develop and collaborate.
The district will include 17 core arts and cultural venues as well as space for arts education. Notable developments include the flagship museum of contemporary visual culture the M+ Museum, designed by TFP Farrells and Herzog & de Meuron and scheduled for opening in 2019, M+ is on track to become another icon in Hong Kong’s Cityscape. Xiqu Centre Theatre, a world-class Theatre arts venue dedicated to promoting the rich heritage of Xiqu (Chinese opera) scheduled for completion in 2018. And the Lyric Theatre Complex, a centre of excellence showcasing the best of Hong Kong and international dance and theatre scheduled for completion in 2021.
In conjunction with the state-of-art architectural developments will be the waterfront park, the green heart of the cultural district, designed by a local and global team at the forefront of landscape design and architecture, it will feature a rich variety of trees and green planting as well as open lawn spaces for leisure & relaxation, and areas for large-scale outdoor sculptures and installations.
This park will provide a vibrant venue for open-air performances of music, dance and theatre as well as art exhibitions and other cultural events. Notably the Park will Include the M+ Pavilion, to be opened in 2016, which will provide a flexible exhibition and event space, and “Freespace” a Black Box and outdoor stage, the Black Box will be a flexible space located in the centre of the Park for standing and seated events, with activities able to spill out into the open air and taking advantage of the large expanse of the Park that can accommodate up to 10,000 people.
Information on West Kowloon provided by Home Net, Licensed Hong Kong Property Agency.