Category Archives: Residences

New MTR exit and underpass in Wan Chai now open

Updated 2019: Hear hear, an opinion in SCMP that reflects my sentiments….

If you live in the Avenue on Lee Tung Street, you’ve now got a nice underground walkway to get you to the Wan Chai MTR station without navigating street traffic across Johnston Road. This underpass took around two and a half years to build so I’m relieved it’s finally done.

To get to it, take either escalator or lift down to the basement where the supermarket is and walk along the corridor until you get to the end where you’ll see an escalator taking you down to the tunnel.

Okay, so it’s escalators in the middle, stairs to the right. What about barrier free access?

Initially I thought this was a ramp. (Yay!). But no… it’s a lift for wheelchairs 🤔🧐.

The big pain is that you can’t just use it like in other buildings, you have to call the staff to switch it on. (Call in advance! 3791 2103) That is just so lame. Why couldn’t they just put in a ramp or just leave it on for the convenience of anyone in need of it. Why create another step and waiting time?? MTR Corp you are slowing down my journey!!! Hell, I’ll just use the escalator for my stroller. I feel sorry for the wheelchair users.

When you do get down into the tunnel, it’s nice and wide (at least 3 meters wide), slopes uphill going to mtr station and downhill if you’re walking to Lee Tung Avenue. From the design of it, Sino Land and Hopewell seem to expect a crowd heading in their direction. I suppose this is in anticipation of their next development and continued connection to Hopewell Center II. There are spaces created for a few new retailers in the station too.

That’s a new circle K shop coming up next to the platform lift (under repair until May 2018).

And here’s another shop undergoing renovation on the left opposite Circle K. Not sure what it is yet.

I’m not sure if behind this white sheet there will be a shop or an advertising installation. You can see beyond it however that there’s a corridor for future expansion into Southorn Playground’s new underground mall when that gets done.

So this exit is D and here’s a reminder of the opening hours.

I guess the arcade corridor access and lifts to the surface remain operational during these hours too. Check out the promotions from the basement arcade shops below.

Living at the Avenue (Lee Tung Street)

You only have to look through the number of entries I’ve written about the Avenue to know how much of a fan I am of the remodelled street (you can find those posts by searching for Lee Tung Avenue in the search box above). I patronise the shops and often prefer walking through it over the other more chaotic side streets in Wan Chai

It’s also a perfect example of how short streets can be pedestrianised to make a neighbourhood much more liveable for families with young children. 

I caught up with a friend who lives in the Avenue and was asking how it was in the newest residential complex in Wanchai. He had mixed feelings about the management of the estate. The issues that he raised were as follow:
1) slow and insufficient lifts for the number of units in each block. Having to wait for two lifts to go by is similar to waiting for two MTR trains to go by before you board. It’s tiring (and boring) standing around in anticipation, especially in an enclosed lift lobby area. 

2) inefficient clearance of rubbish bins. Apparently the bins are often filled to overflowing, causing a bit of a stink after a few days at room temperature. Perhaps the staff assume that not all floors are occupied and skip certain floors…

3) receptionist unable to accept packages. This is usually expected of building reception, especially these days where many people live without extended family (mostly studios and one bedrooms on offer- designed for singles or couples).  It’s very strange that reception can’t or won’t assist with receiving parcels from the postman or simple deliveries if instructed by the resident. 

4) residents need to take two lifts to get to the ground floor of their building. This is the case with many estates in Hong Kong where one has to ascend from mall level up to the podium, then podium up to the apartment. This is just an unfortunate design decision and it’s too bad that the architect didn’t incorporate an escalator or some more rapid and efficient way of accessing the main lobby of the apartments. 

Benefit: If you live on a high-ish floor as my friend does, what you do get is a fantastic view over Wan Chai and marvellous sunsets if you get home early.

Ophelia Bar designer Ashley Sutton expressed this opinion of the Avenue in the SCMP…not the most flattering comment…

Directions to the Upper House via Pacific Place

Last night I had to drop off a document to a friend staying at the Upper House above Pacific Place in Admiralty. It’s been at least five years since I was last there and I couldn’t quite recall how to get there. 

Each of the large hotels Conrad, JW Marriott and Shangri-La have their own lift lobbies connected to the top floor of the mall but I don’t remember seeing one specifically for the Upper House

A search on the web yielded… nothing short of useless information. I was quite frustrated that one of the swankiest, fanciest hotels in Hong Kong situated in location touted as convenient would intentionally make accessing it so obscure that it would force to you take a taxi to be sure you arrived. (See these instructions on their website and you’ll get my point.)

even a search on google maps was elusive

Nevertheless, saddled with an urgent mission, toddler and I made our way to Pacific Place. It was after dinner time, cooler weather prevailed and I figured it would be no problem to walk along roads if necessary.

We took a bus getting off at Pacific Place, then proceeded to the information counter ( ground floor) at the far end of the mall towards the cinema for directions. 

The lady at the counter was certainly counting the minutes to the end of her shift, the mall was beginning to shut down for the day. She waved us toward the lifts and said to take them to the fourth floor and that would be the Upper House. Ok, sort of. 

We took the glass mall lifts up to the fourth floor and ended up by a driveway podium area. We had to cross the driveway and a lit up glass walkway (you can look down through the glass into the mall) to get to the Upper House. The signs for the Upper House are not in any way conspicuous, a thin neon sign at roughly eye level with the initials inscripted into a logo is all there is. 

The first sign you’ll see stepping out of the elevator is the sign for the JW Marriott that’s on the left of it.

So there it is for the record. You can access the Upper House via the mall lifts or from the lobby entrance of the JW Marriott. There’s no “direct” mall access but it isn’t too inconvenient. It was only on returning to the elevators that I saw a covered walkway linking the Upper House to the Marriott to the elevators. Good to know.

The old, the re-painted and the new

Sometimes old buildings just get a clean up and a new lick of paint. The residents don’t change, no new additions to the structure. For example this one.

Old and New
Old, Re-painted and New

The building on the left is what the block used to look like. The orange one awkwardly angled, is the building that was just re-painted. The building with the tinted glass on the right is the very fashionable Indigo Hotel.