Following years of renovation and preservation works, the revitalised Central Market building is finally set to open this month! The Grade 3 historic building has been reimagined as a “playground for all,” with ample space for shops, food stalls, and event spaces among its green open spaces and historical features.
The new Central Market is set to soft-open on 23 August, with tenants ranging from street food stalls to speciality restaurants, cultural boutiques, lifestyle shops, and independent local brands. 13 of the original market stalls—which have been out of use since March 2003—have been preserved and are now being used by notable local businesses such as Lamma Rainbow Seafood, social enterprise Gingko House, and pioneering rice company Golden Resources Development.
A little under half of the space—56,500 out of 122,000 square feet, to be precise—has been dedicated to leasable units for local businesses. To maximise the diversity of tenants and create a “twenty-first-century marketplace,” these units will occupy an open-plan space in the market, with a flexible and interactive design. So far, big-name local brands like Slowood, Bathe to Basics, Mak’s Beer, and Perfume Trees Gin have already set up shop.
Many of the building’s classic architectural elements have been preserved, and in some cases—such as the grand staircase—reimagined with a new, community-minded purpose. The area around the staircase, which has been fitted with a motion sensor system and LED projection wall, will serve as a performance space.
Students, remote workers, and people who just need somewhere to eat their lunch will be pleased to hear the large piazza-slash-atrium on the ground floor has been designed to accommodate 100 seats, with Wi-Fi coverage throughout.
Meanwhile, a 2,500-square-foot space on the first floor has been fitted to be a multifunctional event space for exhibitions, performances, open forums, and the like. During the soft opening period, the event space will be the venue for a family-friendly STEAM workshop jointly hosted by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Cyberport.
The heritage project, which has been in the works since 2017, is envisioned by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and its operator, Chinachem Group, as the final piece in Central’s “heritage triangle,” with the other two points being Tai Kwun and PMQ.
This marks a brand-new era for the Central Market, which has stood proudly on Des Voeux Road Central since 1939. The current Bauhaus-style building, which is actually the fourth incarnation of the Central Market, is upheld by many as one of Hong Kong’s most notable examples of the architectural style. However, the building has been largely abandoned since the market closed in 2003, with just one small shopping arcade—linking the Central Elevated Walkway to the Mid-Levels Escalator—remaining in use until recent years.