Hong Kong Club Building

Hong Kong Club Building

Infobox Skyscraper
building_name= The Hong Kong Club Building

location= 1 Jackson Road, Central, Hong Kong
groundbreaking= 1981
constructed= 1984
est-completion= 1984
opening= 1984
use= clubhouse, office building
floor_count= 25
floor_area= 8,700 sq ft per floor
elevator_count= 5 passenger, 1 service
architect= Harry Seidler
developer= Hong Kong Land
owner= Hong Kong Land (until 2009)

The Hong Kong Club Building (Chinese: 香港會) is the building in between Chater Road and Connaught Road Central at the junction of Jackson Road, Central, Hong Kong in which the Hong Kong Club is located. It is owned by Hongkong Land.

The Hong Kong Club Building is currently in its third generation, in its second location. Prior to its 1980s redevelopment, the previous Hong Kong Club Building was known for being one of the last examples of renaissance architecture remaining in Hong Kong.

Two uses were given to the development, the Hong Kong Club and the rental offices. The club occupies the podium of the building and 8 levels, with 17 levels of office accommodation above.


First generation

Supreme Court opposite ("right")

Founded in 1846, the Club's first premises were situated on the corner of D'Aguilar Street and Queen's Road.

The three-storey building was designed in a classic style. The cost of construction and furniture of 15,000 was raised through an issue of ₤100 shares. [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34712.pdf A social institution with its beginnings in Colony history] , South China Morning Post, 6 July 1980]

A chronicle article from 1847 said:"It is a handsome three-storey building and with the out offices covers nearly the third of an acre of ground...

"The interior arrangements are very elegant and reflect great credit on the architect (Mr. S. Strachan) for whose design for the building a premium was awarded.... The entrance hall and grand staircase in the centre supported on fluted columns with capitals in the Corinthian order has a very noble effect..."

In 1897, the club moved to more spacious accommodation next to the war memorial, on a sea-front plot of land created by the Central Praya reclamation. The existing building was sold to A. S. Watson & Company, who initially rented it out to the short-lived "New Club", a club for master mariners.Eric Cavaliero, [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=&art_id=26618&sid=&con_type=1&d_str=19970213&sear_year=1997 "Hong Kong Club members succumbed to redevelpment offer] , The Standard, 13 February 1997]

econd generation

Cenotaph in front] On 16 February 1895, the Club was granted a 999 year lease on the site under which it had very few restrictions. Rent of $324 was paid annually to the Government [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.01/34636.pdf Club has full control of site: claim] , The Star, 18 October 1977]

The club building was designed by Palmer & Turner, [ [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34756.pdf 1,700 Club names missing] , The Star, 14 March 1981] and was completed in July 1897.

The club held a referendum in around 1974, when the members voted to retain the building and not to redevelop. In 1977 and again in 1978, a demolition plan was rejected by members. The club committee became increasingly alarmist with arguments to redevelop, including the assertion in 1978 that the building was a fire safety hazard; that, in November 1979, it made inflated claims that it would cost HK$25 million to renovate, and eventually won the day.

In 1981, architects who designed the building but who lodged an application to demolish it were quoted as saying that the existing building was old, traditional and would fall to pieces if leaned on heavily. A spokesman said it would "come down like a pack of cards"

Preservation campaign

In order to update the club facilities, the members had opted to have the building renovated at a cost of HK$20 million. [ [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.01/34687.pdf 'THE CLUB' - After the reprieve] , South China Morning Post, 1 November 1978] However, the parlous state of the club's finances tempted the club to explore options to redevelop the valuable site. In 1977, it was reportedly offered HK$200 million for the site by Wardley, part of the Hong Kong Bank.

In around 1978, a campaign at all levels was mounted to save the 82 year-old building.

The Heritage Society also mounted a campaign to stop the demolition of the building. The building was declared a monument by the Antiquities Advisory Board late in 1980. [Tim Hamlett, [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34770.pdf No tears for the Club, but what a pity for the palace] , South China Morning Post, 22 May 1981] A petition was sent to the Executive Council.Lynne Watson, [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34737.pdf 11th hour bid to save HK Club] , South China Morning Post, 12 October 1980] On 16 September 1980, the Executive Council decided not to endorse the AAB's recommendation that the Club building be preserved as a monument, citing "unjustified cost to the community" - the cost to taxpayers would be HK$500 million. The decision was denounced by conservationists as being influenced by "powerful vested interests" and against public opinion [ [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34730.pdf Exco misled about Club] , The Star, 18-Sep-1980] The Hong Kong Conservancy Association also appealed to the then Governor Murray MacLehose not to undervalue its cultural importance and not to allow the decision to be taken purely on economic grounds. "If even the Government appears to value nothing but money, Hong Kong's youth cannot be expected to have higher standards," said Dr. L. K. Ding, HKCA Chairman. [Tom Ashbrook, [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34737.pdf Moral duty to save the Club] , South China Morning Post, 12 October 1980]

The General Committee of the club was called to task by members, who contested its decision to sign a deal with developers knock down the building and redevelop the site before members had a chance to debate the issue. An EGM was convened to vote on the proposals on 20 October 1980, and the Chairman was forced to concede the Heads of Agreement would be subject to members' ratification. Members voted overwhelmingly to proceed with redevelopment. [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34754.pdf Bid lodged to demolish Club] , South China Morning Post, 13 March 1981]

Hong Kong Land was the appointed developer. The club occupied the 25th to 27th floors of World-Wide House during redevelopment. [ [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34721.pdf ...but familiar facilities will remain] , The Standard, 20 August 1980] The Victorian building was demolished in June 1981. [ [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34771.pdf Colonial glories going, going...] , The Economist, 13 June 1981]

Third generation

The building design, by Australian architect Harry Seidler, was unveiled to the members in December 1980.

With its heavy presence among the membership ranks, Hong Kong Land agreed to shoulder all demolition and rebuilding costs in exchange for the rental income of the upper storeys for 25 years.Reuters story, [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/22_01.02/34752.pdf New HK Club design ready] , South China Morning Post, 16 December 1980] 80,000 square feet of the new building was to be occupied by the Club - the four podium floors in the new tower would be kept as dining rooms and bars for the members - while the upper floors would be leased for normal office use.

From 2009, the club will take full ownership of the building and collect all revenues, currently an estimated HK$100 million a year.

The building is occupied by a wide range of companies and organisations including Commerzbank Hong Kong, which occupies the top two floors. Others include online broker Charles Schwab and Rolls-Royce Motors which have space on the ground floor, Libertas Capital Asia Limited on the ninth floor, the Institute of Financial Planners on the eighth floor and some law and accounting firms.

External links

* [http://www.hkland.com/commercial_property/hongkong_properties/thehongkongclubbuilding/index.html HK Land facts & figures page of the building]


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