Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hong Kong Club Building

The Hong Kong Club Building is the building in between Chater Road and Connaught Road Central at the junction of Jackson Road, , 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 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

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.

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 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...''"

Second generation

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

The club building was designed by Palmer & Turner, 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. 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, A petition was sent to the Executive Council. 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 Hong Kong Conservancy Association also appealed to the 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.

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.

Hong Kong Land was the appointed . The Victorian building was demolished in June 1981.

Third generation

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

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