Design amended by WKCDA in attempt to cut costs
The knife has been wielded on the Xiqu Centre, the first facility to start construction for the troubled West Kowloon cultural project, in order to save as much as HK$100 million in construction costs.
Chinese newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported Wednesday that the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority has decided to do away with 100 car parking spaces and one entire commercial use floor.
That means the original seven storey high Chinese opera performance venue becomes six storeys high while the two level basement becomes one level.
The basement level that remains will be used for pedestrian traffic and shops.
With a slightly smaller venue to build, the estimated construction cost will drop from HK$2.7 billion to HK$2.5-2.6 billion.
Other refinements of the design include having a traditional teahouse on one floor so that patrons can also watch an opera performance and an outdoor oval stage for exhibition, performance and retail use.
The deletion of one entire commercial floor means the commercial floor area would be reduced by one third.
Sing Tao reported that this measure was necessary to reduce construction cost and avoid giving an impression that the Xiqu Centre was a commercial project.
Authority executive director for performing arts Louis Yu Kwok-lit was quoted as saying that there would be at least four different eating establishments catering for different price ranges in the commercial area.
The remaining car park spaces will number only twenty, enough for use by staff and performers.
Yu said while the height is reduced by one storey, the overall appearance of the Xiqu Centre would remain the same.
According to Sing Tao, construction of the centre was due to start next month.
Construction Post reported last month that the foundation contract for the centre was due to be awarded in late July or early August according to comments by an authority spokewoman.
A total of eleven tenders for the foundations were returned in June when the authority went out to tender in April.
The government’s showpiece project at West Kowloon has been beset by delays and public concern over cost overruns.
In 2008, the Legislative Council approved a one-off upfront endowment of HK$21.6 billion for construction of the project, a figure that the government now admits is unlikely to be enough to finish the project.