Kai Yip Recreation Centre Renovation Works
Gaw Capital’s Transformation of the Kai Yip Recreation Centre into a New Community Hub
Since taking over 17 district malls on March 1st 2018, Gaw Capital’s “People’s Place” team has been highly proactive in engaging local communities, with the aims of getting to grips with the needs of the local communities and – through innovation – transforming malls into community hubs where locals and visistors alike could foster robust communal camaraderie and a sense of belonging.
The Kai Yip Recreation Centre is located on the rooftop of the Kai Yip Mall car park, and was built in 1981 (alongside the Kai Yip Estate). It had been hugely popular amongst basketball players and photographers, and was renowned for being the “Golden Cage in the Sky”. Yet after thirty years of operations, its facilities had been severely weathered and were in need of substantial repair. Thus Gaw Capital’s founder and Managing Partner Goodwin Gaw adeptly applied his experience of managing revitalisation projects in the US in the 1990s to bring the Recreation Centre into the 21st century whilst retaining its original spirit. Our team hopes that the Recreation Centre will offer its users a fresh, brand new experience, such that it could become a prime neighbourhood haunt; this is in line with our motto of building “A Place for All People, A Place of Affection”.
Kai Yip Recreation Centre as a New Neighbourhood Haunt
Since its re-opening in January 2019, the centre has increasingly become known for being a crowd favourite amongst avid basketball fans, with its usage increasing by over 50% to 6,000 persons per month. The re-opened Recreation Centre contains a specially designed basketball court, a free-shooting zone, kids’ corner, and jogging path – not only is it a favourite amongst basketball fans, it is also able to attract many locals, “artsy youths”, avid photographers and other members of the public to ‘check it out’ and ‘check-in’ on social media. This has vastly increased the footfall across the entire estate, establishing a new communal hub.
An Experimental Ground for Local, Up-and-Coming Designers: A New Model for Landlords
A vast majority of sportgrounds in Hong Kong today are managed by private property developers, the Housing Department, or the Leisure and Cultural Services Department; these departments tend to produce largely identically designed sportsgrounds; quite a few amongst them have become dilapidated and are in need of repair.
Gaw Capital believes that as landlords, we should make effective use of our available land, and – through revitalising malls and fostering a communal sense of belonging – develop new hubs in malls and sportsgrounds. As such, we took the bold move of hiring the basketball-promoting group SLAB and the communal spatial designing lab One Bite Social, in concretising our “Our Hong Kong, Our Basketball Home Ground” vision.
SLAB comprises a group of youths who, born and raised in local estate housing, have been striving to build a street basketball court that could preserve the Hong Kong spirit in its servicing for locals. One Bite Social consists of a group of young local architects and designers, who specialise in a human-oriented and community-driven approach to urban design; they have participated in multiple local construction projects.
Gaw Capital offers aspiring local designers the opportunity to undertake authentically user-driven design work; in doing so, it seeks to offer the wider industry a model for effective deployment of privately-owned public space. With adept and crafty innovation, even very finite space (such as an anodyne sportsground) could give rise to infinite possibilities and a new communal haunt.
Pioneering the “Creating Shared Value” Approach
Since the revitalisation project, Kai Yip Recreation Centre has received numerous enquiries concerning its rental and usage rates. Gaw Capital strives to balance the interests of the local neighbourhood and the wider public; we thus open venue up to a wide range of organisations. We are piloting the “Creating Shared Value” approach in our operations, endeavouring to encouraging tenants to contribute towards local community development whilst making the most use of the space; in light of this, Gaw Capital will be allocating all of its rental revenue to covering maintenance costs, subsidising communal sports, and backing small businesses.
Furthermore, the People’s Place has collaborated with several non-profit organisations, sponsoring the Hong Kong Playground Association and Hong Kong Newly Emerged Sports Associations in offering free basketball classes for teenagers every Thursday, and in hosting the Emerging Sports Day every Saturday.
First Local Estate Recreation Centre to Win Coveted International Architectural Design Competition
The Kai Yip Recreation Centre won the coveted 2019 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Asia-Pacific Award of Excellence – a first amongst Hong Kong local estate recreation centres. The prize-giving ceremony took place in Shanghai on June 12, 2019. We adopted a pioneering and groundbreaking approach in collaborating with local designers and local basketball gurus and designing an estate basketball court that uniquely captures the Hong Kong spirit; this was a feat that international adjudicators very much appreciated.
The ULU Asia-Pacific Award of Excellence strives to recognise and celebrate outstanding exemplars amongst all types of real estate projects. Awardees are selected through a rigorous process by a distinguished panel: they must demonstrate exceptional qualities across a wide range of criteria – including architecture, design, planning, construction, facilities, economics and management, as well as generating demonstrably positive effects for the local communities.
Kai Yip Recreation Centre
Address: Kai Yip Mall Car Park Roof, 18 Kai Yip Road, Kowloon Bay
6pm-10pm (requires prior appointment made at the Mall Management Office)
Facilities available for rent: Basketball Court 1, Basketball Court 2, Multi-purpose Court/Badminton Court, Performing Stage
Renting and Enquiries: Kai Yip Mall Management Office (Phone Number: 2953 0108)
Nearby Carpark: Kai Yip Mall Car Park