New life for a tea room mansion

Leopold Chen

The 85-year-old Chinese-style King Yin Lei mansion in Wan Chai will be redeveloped into a teahouse to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The three-storey mansion on Stubbs Road was among four historic landmarks selected for the new batch of Revitalizing Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme, which will spend HK$586 million to renovate and repair them before they come into use in 2025.

The partners who will oversee the revitalization of the mansion are the Tianda Institute, the International Pu’er Association Ltd and the Chinese Medicine (Global) Promotion Association Ltd.

They plan to turn King Yin Lei into a “healthy living center”, serving Chinese tea, herbal teas and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Chairman of the historic building revitalization advisory committee, Lau Chi-pang, said the location of King Yin Lei – which is surrounded by houses – requires traffic not to be heavy and only light activities to be allowed .

The revitalization program will also include the installation of two elevators.

Asked if this would affect King Yin Lei’s structure, Development Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun replied that it was not a problem.

The building was previously included in revitalization programs, but none of the applicants were approved.

The Fong Yuen Study Hall, which will be run by the uniformed Christian group Boys’ Brigade, Hong Kong, is another project from the latest batch.

Built before the 1900s, the building once served as Ma Wan’s primary school.

The building will soon host thematic workshops and exhibitions on innovation and technology, ecology and culture of Ma Wan fishing village.

The study hall was once turned into a museum run by the Yuen Yuen Institute, but was taken over by the government in 2017 after the institute changed the focus of its activities, Lau said.

The other two projects are the Tai Tam Tuk Raw Water Pumping Station Staff Quarters – which will be overseen by Lifeware – and the Homi Villa – which will be revitalized by the Chinese National History Education Center.

The Tai Tam project will be renamed Water Gallery, to illustrate the history of water supply in Hong Kong.

Homi Villa will be transformed into a study center covering Chinese history and culture as well as environmental education.

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