Proposed Rationalization of Public and Private Areas at the Watermark Restaurant in the Central Pier No. 7
In 2016, this planning application was submitted to the Town Planning Board to rationalize public and private areas, for “Eating Place” use in the Watermark restaurant in Central Pier No. 7, at the Central Star Ferry Terminal, which is an important tourist landmark on the Central waterfront. This application proposes to resolve the long-standing undesirable interface issues and upgrade the underutilized public viewing decks. It would enable better facilities management, improve the restaurant operation, and improve the public viewing areas to become higher quality and accessible for the enjoyment of the public (including the restaurant customers).
The Application Site falls in the “Other Specified Uses” annotated “Pier and Associated Facilities” zone, at the edge of the Draft Central District (Extension) Outline Zoning Plan No. S/H24/8. It covers a total floor area of about 157m2 (under Option 1) and 94m2 (under Option 2). Under Option 1, the public viewing decks (west and north section) would be converted to private waiting and out-door dining areas, respectively; and the inner corridor would be converted to private area. Under Option 2, the same arrangement would apply, but the public viewing deck (north section) would be retained for public use. In both options, the public viewing deck (east section) would remain and be upgraded to a higher quality in terms of size, unobstructed views, available seats and landscaping, photogenic setting and intimacy with the water body.
The conversion of public area to private area would be insignificant in terms of reduction in public floor area. There are many alternative public viewing areas in the Terminal and in the surrounding waterfront context, as well as the extensively planned open space and public viewing areas in the surroundings. The viewing decks would also be upgraded for the enjoyment of the public and customers. It would be a fair trade of public and private area.
The proposal would bring many planning merits. It would fall in line with the tourism policy to improve facilities for visitors, support tourist attractions at the waterfront with prime viewing areas of Victoria Harbour, and provide a unique dining experience in a unique location on the waterfront. Provide upgraded quality of public viewing decks for the enjoyment of the public. Resolve the interface issues. Additional revenue generated from the expanded restaurant operations would contribute towards the non-fare box revenue of the Star Ferry operation, which would help alleviate the pressure to increase ferry fares on the public. Provide local job opportunities. The proposal would not have any traffic impact and insignificant air quality impact. It would be in line with the Harbour Planning Principles and Guidelines. It is in line with the planning intention of the OU(PAF) zone that would contribute to the development of integrated commercial and tourism-related facilities on the waterfront. It would be a compatible use in the Terminal and future waterfront development context.