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Major development revealed for Hong Kong's Kai Tak

Hong Kong's Kai Tak runway and cruise terminal as it is today.

Details of Park Peninsula, a major development at Hong Kong's Kai Tak runway, have been revealed.

Kai Tak airport in the city's Kowloon East district closed in the 1990s and the old runway is now set to be transformed into what is hoped will become a second Central Business District. Nine property developers have formed a non-profit private group to build leisure, residential and entertainment amenities and the development is to be known as Park Peninsula.

New leisure development

In line with the government’s ‘Energising Kowloon East’ plans, Chinachem Group, China Overseas, Empire Group Holdings, Far East Consortium, Henderson Land, K Wah International, New World Development, Sun Hung Kai Properties and Wheelock Properties will work on the long-term development, together with stakeholders and government departments, through public-private partnerships. The runway is currently home to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and leisure spaces.

Kai Tak airport operated from 1925 to 1998 when the current international airport was opened on reclaimed land around the islands of Chek Lap Kok Lam Chau off Lantau Island.

In the 1920s the airport was no more than a grass-strip used by Britain's Royal Air Force and various local flying clubs. It was developed during the war years and in the 1950s the old runway was removed and replaced with a strip that extended into Kowloon Bay. It was extended again in the 1970s.

The runway is surrounded by water on three sides and with 2,000-plus foot mountains directly to the northeast and high rise residential apartment complexes in neighbouring Kowloon City, landing there was one of the most challenging procedures in the aviation world.

Environmental initiatives

Located on the landing strip, Park Peninsula will effectively float in Victoria Harbour, encircled by water and approximately 450,000sqm of parkland, Hong Kong’s largest green space. Local leisure spaces include Metro Park, Kai Tak Sky Garden, Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Park, Kai Tak Runway Park and Kai Tak Sports Park. Park Peninsula is also close to Kai Tak Water Sports Centre with rowing, kayaking and dragon boating facilities.

Further plans for the Park Peninsula development include an 11km waterfront promenade and a 13m shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists, bridging the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter and adjoining areas. A ‘linkage system’ will feature elevated walkways with travelators and a cross-harbour pedestrian and cycle bridge will connect the development with the nearby suburbs of Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay. A new mooring facility, Runway Park Pier, will enable water taxis to pick-up and drop-off, effectively connecting Kai Tak with Central on Hong Kong Island, West Kowloon, East Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom.

No timeline has been given for the project but it is described as a "long term" development.

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