• The Hidden Gem in Hong Kong’s New Territories

    30 June 2021

    The retail industry has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but Fairview Park – Hong Kong’s largest low density residential estate – has brought new life to its community, by creating what could even be described as a blueprint for the future of the city’s shopping malls. 

    It comes in the form of the first major renovation since this pioneering development first opened its doors in the late 1970s.  And the timing couldn’t be better.  What better place to shop in these strange times than in a centre designed to provide a unique open air shopping experience to the customers?

    Fairview Park is situated at the northwest end of New Territories of Hong Kong, next to the famous Ramsar Wetland. At a distance from the city’s sprawling and densely populated urban district, it is famous for its tranquil environment. (call out)…

    With a population of over 15,000 and located close to the Mai Po Wetland Reserve, the Fairview Park development is popular with families and retirees who appreciate nature and open space. It also boasts one of the largest private artificial lakes in Hong Kong, now famous for its black and white swans.

    At its core is the Fairview Park Town Centre, a 100,000 square foot GFA integrated community shopping centre, designed to serve the residents of 5,000 house units and visitors from the surrounding area. 

    “The Town Centre’s design is quite unique as an ‘open air’ shopping centre with many smaller blocks creating a ‘shopping village’ typology,” says Kelvin Cheuk, projects officer of Fairland Resources Ltd.  “But with no major renovation since the ‘80s it was becoming quite dated and stagnant.  We needed a significant upgrade to re-attract our customers and to compete with new shopping malls opening nearby,” he tells PRC.

    Rebranding with art and nature

    Aside from the aims of increasing customer footfall and spending during weekdays, the upgrade was also designed to encourage residents to spend more leisure time in the Town Centre.

    Step one involved repositioning the once uninviting shopfront entrances.

    “We made the bold move to remove the interior hallway, flipping the shopfront entrances to face the exterior.  This has significantly increased tenants’ visibility and accessibility, bringing more energy to the premises,” explains Cheuk.

    The next move was to upgrade the overall exterior of the blocks, replacing blank walls and the long parapet wall with custom-designed green, geometric patterns, designed to enhance visual interest and to promote a feeling of freshness and variety.

    “We wanted the changes to reflect the beauty of the natural and outdoor setting.  Concealing the parapet wall with bamboo planters was one way to create a natural green wall which further strengthens the green theme we wanted to achieve,” he adds.

    But perhaps one of the most significant visual changes was achieved through the hiring of two of Hong Kong’s prominent mural artists who were commissioned to create artworks reflecting the natural beauty of the area on two of the once stale and dated corner walls.

    “Each artwork has a unique style, but both reflect the natural and outdoor characteristics of Fairview Park, including the unique features of the lake.  The murals have transformed the Town Centre and have added visual interest to spaces which were previously home to a blank canvas. Footfall has increased in the area and we continue to see many people taking time out to photograph the artwork,” notes Cheuk. 

    Designing social space

    Improvement of the social spaces was a significant factor in the upgraded design.   And while creating space for gatherings was part of the original brief, the Town Centre’s original sunken plaza was hindered by multiple flag poles being placed right in the centre of the space.  Removal of the flag poles and the repaving of the entire plaza has not only resulted in an increase in the flow of people to the space, but will allow for hosting more special events.  The upgrade also addressed the lack of seating in the Town Centre, which was inconvenient for the elderly and those with children or large shopping bags.

    “The two-tone surface and use of artificial green turf has made the space much more inviting and has created much more visual interest, where people, young and old, can enjoy additional outdoor seating and children’s play areas,” comments Cheuk.

    On the tenanting front, Fairland Resources has also made the bold move of adding three new restaurant outlets to increase dining options for customers.

    For Cheuk, the goal was always to increase the synergy of the Town Centre’s retail and community spaces.  He is confident that the renovations, which were completed throughout the first half of 2020, have been a success. “We believe the renovations have made a difference in convincing customers that the Town Centre is a safe and pleasant environment to spend time with family, and we hope that the place will continue to thrive as an anchor destination for the larger community,” he concludes.

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