Redevelopment of Hong Kong’s Instagram-famous Choi Hung Estate to take 15 years, with 1,800 more flats to be added

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Redevelopment of an ageing Hong Kong public housing estate famed as an Instagram hotspot is expected to take 15 years and yield 9,200 flats, 24 per cent more than currently on the site, the government has said.

Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho Wing-yin on Thursday announced the redevelopment plan for the rainbow-coloured Choi Hung Estate in Wong Tai Sin, home to about 7,400 households in 11 seven- to 20-storey buildings built between 1962 and 1964.

“We have been putting more and more resources into its maintenance. The estate also has signs of ageing. It is time to commence the redevelopment study,” Ho said after meeting the strategic planning committee of the Housing Authority, the city’s major supplier of public rental flats.

Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho says more resources are being put into the estate’s maintenance. Photo: Edmond So

According to a preliminary government proposal, redevelopment of the sprawling estate will take 15 years and be completed in three stages, yielding 9,200 flats, around 1,800 more than the existing number.

The first batch of about 2,500 affected households will be relocated to Mei Tung Estate – a 30-minute walk from Choi Hung – where two redeveloped blocks will provide 2,860 flats by 2027-28.

Their old blocks in Choi Hung will be pulled down and rebuilt into new flats, which will house the second group of residents to be relocated. A similar arrangement will apply to the remaining batch of families.

Residents of Hong Kong’s Instagram-famous Choi Hung Estate brace for change

The government also said affected tenants would be given priority to apply to buy around 1,460 subsidised flats scheduled for completion by 2025-26 on Wang Chiu Road, opposite Choi Hung Estate.

Referencing the Chinese term “choi hung”, which means rainbow, the colourful exterior walls and basketball court of the estate have become an Instagram hotspot attracting numerous locals and tourists.

Noting the estate had distinctive features, Ho said the government would consult the community next year and formulate its final proposal, including the development density and the layout of the site.

She added that the government would also consider ways to solve traffic congestion outside Choi Hung Estate.

Resident Ng Hong-hing welcomed the redevelopment proposal as the paint was peeling in his flat and concrete had fallen from the ceiling and smashed his fish tank seven years ago.

The sprawling Choi Hung Estate was built in the early 1960s. Photo: May Tse

The 67-year-old retiree said he preferred to move to a new block in the estate rather than relocating to Mei Tung, although it was seen as a nice location with a park nearby.

“Transport is not as convenient as Choi Hung Estate. We have a MTR station right next to it,” Ng said, adding that he could not afford to buy a subsidised flat.

The government did not guarantee that shops in Choi Hung could move to nearby spots but said they would get priority in bidding for stalls in other new public housing estates.

The family-run Kam Pik Restaurant, a landmark traditional Chinese eatery that has stood in the estate since 1964, said it was still considering its future plan.

“The redevelopment will take 15 years. There are still a lot of uncertainties. It also costs a lot to move to a new shop,” Jason Yuen Chun-fat, the youngest son running the restaurant, said.

“It will be best if we can continue our business in the new blocks in Choi Hung Estate.”

Hong Kong Instagram hotspot Choi Hung Estate set to be ‘redeveloped in stages’

Scott Leung Man-kwong, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council’s housing panel, said the government had to step up efforts to help tenants with their relocation, particularly those who were moving to a new estate and elderly residents.

“It has to strengthen support to assist elderly tenants’ relocation, as well as the relocation of shop operators, to keep the estate’s community network as much as possible,” Leung said.

He also urged the government to rebuild the estate with larger flats to improve residents’ quality of living.

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