Government mandates cinemas in Hong Kong land deals

The government has mandated cinemas be built as part of developments on two Hong Kong land deals.

The move is part of a broader program to foster Hong Kong’s film industry by building up audiences.

A spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) said cinemas will be a requirement in the land lease of two designated government land sale sites.

“We have initially identified two commercial sites which are planned for sale by the government, one in Kai Tak and one in Sha Tin, for including in the respective land lease a required minimum number of cinema seats. Relevant government departments are further conducting technical assessment on both sites with a view to putting in place the relevant requirement when the sites are put up for sale in the coming few years,” the spokesman said.

“If successful bidder of the lot, and any subsequent owner, makes application for lease modification to change the cinema portion of the site to other uses or to reduce the minimum number of cinema seats, such application will have to secure CEDB’s policy support and be subject to payment of land premium to be assessed in accordance with the prevailing policy. In view of the generally longer duration of tenancies for cinemas and to support cinema development, lease modifications of the sites concerned would not be considered by the CEDB within the first seven years of the operation of the cinema.”

The sites are most likely to include retail as part of mixed-use developments.

In addition, in view of the fact that cinemas and cultural and entertainment facilities will create synergies, the CEDB will further study the feasibility of accommodating a cinema complex at the Tourism Node in the Kai Tak Development and explore with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority the feasibility of earmarking space for cinema development in the West Kowloon Cultural District.

“Facilitating cinema development enhances convenience for movie-goers and provides more screening slots for a greater variety of commercial movies, thereby encouraging film productions and raising the status of Hong Kong as an international and regional film hub.”

The chief executive announced in the 2015 and 2016 Policy Addresses that the government would consider ways to facilitate cinema development through land sale and planning. In the interim, the CEDB has proactively implemented measures to facilitate movie-going, including collaboration with the Home Affairs Bureau to install movie screening facilities at the auditorium of North District Town Hall, which were completed in December 2016, to make it more convenient for residents of the North District to watch movies in their own district.

Apart from facilitating cinema development, the government will continue to promote the development of the local film industry through a four-pronged strategy: encouraging more Hong Kong-produced film productions for commercial release; nurturing production talent; promoting film appreciation among students and young people to build up audiences; as well as showcasing and promoting the brand of “Hong Kong Films” in the Mainland, Taiwan and overseas markets, facilitating the participation of local commercial films in international film festivals, and helping drive Hong Kong’s development as a film financing platform in Asia.

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