HK cultural district funds greenlit

Members of Legco approve $2.77 billion

HONG KONG — The West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong’s controversial and much-delayed arts hub, is free to move off the drawing board after legislators approved financing on Friday.

Members of Legco, Hong Kong’s equivalent of a parliament, voted in favor of a HK$21.6 billion ($2.77 billion) payout to fund the development, although many expressed ongoing worries about the governance of the authority set up to build and run it. Others asked why the government had sought lump-sum funding, rather than funding it in stages as work proceeds.

Hong Kong, with its limited space, is sometimes criticized for a lack of large, world-class venues for concerts and other major performances.

The 99-acre waterfront site is expected to include performance venues, museums, a multilevel complex of entertainment and retail facilities, some residential development, open spaces, a waterfront promenade and a spectacular canopy.

Bureaucratic infighting and financial uncertainties have stalled development since 1998.

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