Choi Hong Estate is set to be redeveloped, sources have told The Standard, a redevelopment that will force thousands of residents to move elsewhere.
The Choi Hong Estate, a paradise for colour-lovers, is an apartment complex which has become an iconic landmark in Hong Kong and attracts an endless number of tourists.
The name ‘Choi Hong’, meaning ‘rainbow’ in Cantonese, is exactly what the apartment complex looks like: one big rainbow. Famous for its colourful urban look, it is a popular destination for photographers, who flock to the location to snap a photo of the building and its iconic basketball courts.
The complex was built in the 1960s at a time when Hong Kong was experiencing rapid urbanisation and a serious housing shortage. The colourful exterior, which is now a popular tourist attraction, was not meant for artistic purposes.
Each block in the building was given a distinct colour to help the residents tell the blocks apart from each other, as it would serve as a practical wayfinding system.
The building consists of more than 7,400 units and is considered home to approximately 17,500 people – but maybe not for much longer.
Forced to move out
The iconic landmark has been selected for redevelopment by the Hong Kong Housing Authority, which will most likely see thousands of the current residents allocated to other apartment complexes.
This has been decided as part of the 2022 Policy Address, which suggested that the Authority should select certain public housing estates to be redeveloped.
According to The Standard, Anthony Chiu, the Executive Director of the Federation of Public Housing Estates, has said that the redevelopment will happen through multiple phases and that this is being done to add more flats to the complex.
Because of the now-closed Kai Tak Airport, there were previous height restrictions, which limited the height of the current building.
But when the airport closed in 1998, the restrictions were lifted. Now, it is legally possible to make the buildings taller without causing trouble for flight-safety.
Chiu says that the apartment complexes Mei Tung Estate and Wang Chiu Road might be used to rehouse the Choi Hong Estate residents, who are forced to move from their homes.
Some of the residents of the Choi Hong Estate have been living there for many decades and are not exactly happy that they now possibly must find a new place to call home:
“I have been living here for 30 years. I am close with many of my neighbours, and we may fall apart if we have to move elsewhere,” said one concerned resident to RTHK.
The Authority doesn’t want to cause unnecessary trouble, which is one of the reasons why they are trying to relocate the residents to the same apartment complexes.
Michael Tien, a roundtable lawmaker, has expressed his concern about the rehousing of residents:
“There’s going to be a problem if the residents move all over Hong Kong. People are rooted there (in Choi Hong Estate). It is where they work and where they go to school,” said Tien to RTHK.
Nevertheless, it looks likely the Authority would go through with the redevelopment, despite being met with concern from residents and parties related to the project.