Here's the plot we've been looking at recently, which currently has it's fourth-generation building under construction:
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So far we've seen:
- Late 1890's: As with many areas of Hong Kong, the story starts with reclaiming new land from the sea. Once the land was ready, two buildings were built here. On the North, the Telegraph Office looked over Connaught Road to the sea wall and the harbour. On the South, the Hong Kong Club Annexe looked across Chater Road to the cricket pitch.
- Post-war: I wonder if the Telegraph Office was badly damaged in the war, as it was demolished in 1948. In its place rose the new Electra House, later renamed Mercury House. The Hong Kong Club Annexe survived til the late 1960's when it was replaced by Sutherland House.
During this time, reclaimation took away their harbourfront location, and relocation of the cricket pitch meant they got a view of Chater garden instead.
- 1993-2008: The next re-development followed two of the trends in Hong Kong's construction: taller buildings, and larger plots. The new Ritz Carlton Hotel occupied the land previously occupied by two buildings.
- 2009: Today we can just see a construction site, but it won't be long before the new building appears: the headquarters building for the China Construction Bank (CCB).
The 'larger plot' trend should have continued, but was interrupted by the 1997 financial crisis. Wikipedia writes:
[...] LSD intended to combine the Furama plot with the Ritz Carlton plot, which it already owned, for redevelopment into a prime office block. Then the Asian financial crisis struck, plunging the entire group into distress and forced asset sales.
Another trend is the shortening cycle between redevelopments. The first generation lasted over 50 years. The Ritz-Carlton just 15. How long will the new CCB building stand for?
So, four generations in just over 110 years. Can any other plots beat that? How about areas of Central or Wanchai that were first built on over 50 years before this piece of land was reclaimed?
For more information and photos of the individual buildings, please click the links below: