Cover Hong Kong's revitalised Central Market is set for soft opening on August 23, here's what to expect (Photo: Courtesy of Central Market)

Hong Kong’s historic Central Market is finally reopening on August 23 after years of restoration and preservation works, offering a quality recreational space where people can enjoy a wide variety of cultural and leisure experiences

The wait is almost over: Hong Kong's historic Central Market will be opening its doors to the public on August 23, after a four-year-long renovation project managed by the Urban Renewal Authority and Chinachem Group. Located between Des Voeux Road and Queen’s Road Central, the four-storey Bauhaus-style structure is known as the city’s very first wet market that opened for business in 1842. Having undergone several incarnations in its 178-year lifetime, the current building is the fourth generation built in 1939, which was listed as a Grade III historic building by Hong Kong’s Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) in 1996. 

And today, the historic landmark has been revitalised into a unique cultural destination revolving around the concept of “Playground for All”, offering an eclectic mix of dining, retail and entertainment experiences for public enjoyment.  

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Connecting the local community to the neighbourhood’s history, and maintaining the site’s authenticity and cultural significance are the two key objectives of the massive renovation project that began back in 2017. According to the press release, the revived Central Market is envisioned to “foster community building, cultural legacy and innovation”, while preserving the collective memory of old Hong Kong and bringing new energy to the local community through its leisure offerings.

Boasting a total floor area of about 122,000 square feet, the new Central Market will feature a wide range of businesses, with tenants ranging from street food stalls to speciality restaurants, cultural boutiques, independent local brands and lifestyle shops. 13 of the original market stalls have been preserved for their unique appeal and offered to popular old brands, such as rice company Golden Resources Development, Lamma Rainbow Seafood, and social enterprise Gingko House to operate their businesses. Visitors will also be able to shop from a selection of famous homegrown labels including Slowood, Bathe to Basics, Perfume Trees Gin and Mak’s Beer.  

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With a strong focus on promoting local brands and start-ups, the site has adopted a flexible, interactive open-plan design to create a “21st Century Marketplace”, offering over 100 leasable units to cater for a wide variety of tenants. 

Classic architectural elements have been thoughtfully retained to highlight the historical value of the structure, including the grand staircase, which has been reimagined as a semi-open space featuring a motion sensor system and LED projection wall for performances. There’s also a large 100-seat piazza on the ground floor equipped with Wi-Fi coverage, projection and sound systems, where visitors can relax, participate in social events and enjoy performances.

A 2,500-square-foot multi-functional event space is also available on the first floor of the market, which is perfect for open forums, exhibitions and cultural performances. During the soft opening, the first event will be a STEAM workshop jointed hosted by Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Cyberport. 

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