Serious business

A new business hub: Kai Tak, Hong Kong

Get to know the transformation of Hong Kong's former airport site. Words by CASPAR LI

From 1925 to 1998, Hong Kong’s airport was located in Kowloon and known as Kai Tak, and featured heart-pounding landing approaches between tightly packed buildings. But then the airport was moved to a shiny new place on Chek Lap Kok Island, leaving the original space defunct.

The former airport site is still called Kai Tak today, and it’s taken on a new life. It certainly helps that it fronts a large stretch of harbour, which gives the area a scenic boost. Right now it’s best known for its futuristic cruise terminal, but plenty more development is afoot. The government aims to turn it into a mixed-use residential and commercial area that also caters to tourists coming off cruise ships. The plan is to more closely integrate Kai Tak with surrounding areas Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin and Kwun Tong. An extensive transportation network will be put in place, including the Kai Tak MTR station that is expected to open next year.

One-third of the development is set aside for public space, much of it green. Kai Tak Sports Park, under planning now, will include a new multi-use stadium bigger than Hong Kong Stadium in Causeway Bay. This new park is part of the city’s broader plan to expand its sports events and nurture athletes. A section of the former runway will become Kai Tak Fantasy, which is in the planning stages but promises to be a huge recreational landmark in combination with a new waterfront development at the Kwun Tong Ferry Pier. For now, though, many residents have their eye on the thousands of apartments set to be constructed.

Kai Tak MTR station

Still under construction, this MTR station is part of the Sha Tin-to-Central link. It’s expected to open in 2019.

Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Centre

Kowloon bay International Trade and Exhibition Centre
Winhorse/iStockphoto/Getty Images

This structure has become a key alternative to Hong Kong’s main convention centre in Wan Chai. Concerts are held here, in addition to conferences.

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal
Hi-Shots (Hong Kong) Limited / Dragages Hong Kong Limited

Designed by Foster + Partners, this cruise terminal can accommodate the docking of two large cruise ships at a time. The three-storey facility entertains passengers with shops and restaurants.

Kwun Tong Promenade

The development’s waterfront offers grassy lawns, strolling areas and views of Hong Kong Island’s famous skyline.

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