Property developers have withdrawn plans to tear down the historic Shaw Brothers Studios in Hong Kong’s Clear Water Bay, following the site’s designation as the highest grade of heritage interest.
The 7.8 hectare (19 acre) site was Wednesday named as a Grade 1 Historical site by Hong Kong’s Antiquities Advisory Board.
The site was opened in 1961 by Sir Run Run Shaw and was home to a flourishing Chinese language cinema business that continued until the 1990s.
Susanna Siu Lai-kuen, of the Antiquities and Monuments Office, said that Shaw Studios not had had a positive impact on the local and international movie industries.
Developers including the SCMP group and China’s Fosun (an investor in Bona Film Group and in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 company) had last November been given permission by Hong Kong’s Town Planning Board to develop the site for commercial purposes.
There was argument about whether all of the 23 buildings on the site were of historical value, but the Antiques Advisory Board effectively said that the site should remain intact for now. Its heritage ruling now gives the government sets a basis for the government to negotiate with the owners.
The Shaw Brothers company has largely ceased activity as a film producer, but built new studios in nearby Tseung Kwan O.