Repairs rushed for mall reopening

Top News | Staff reporter 13 Jan 2020

Workers are hurrying to complete renovation work at the Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong as it prepares to reopen on Thursday.

The mall has been closed since mid-November, when it became a target of vandalizing protesters. In one particularly notorious incident, the mall's four-story Christmas tree was torched for three consecutive days.

One worker doing repairs yesterday said they were told about the Thursday deadline and so they were hurrying as much as possible.

However, some were unsure if repairs could be completed as everything was "very rushed."

As seen from outside the main entrance, renovation work was continuing. But other floors appeared to have finished repairs.

Metal panels were installed around the mall's exterior, with several openings allowing workers in and out.

Curiously, there was no opening at the entrance leading to the Hong Kong Productivity Council building on Tat Chee Avenue, which was frequently used by shoppers. It remains unclear if shoppers would be allowed to go that way when the mall reopens, or if they would be diverted to other entrances, including the one leading directly to the MTR Kowloon Tong station.

Residents in Kowloon Tong are looking forward to the reopening of Festival Walk, which is the only mall in the area.

A Westerner who lives nearby said he doubted whether the renovation can be finished on Thursday.

In a notice uploaded to the mall's website, it says: "Festival Walk will reopen on January 16. As certain mall facilities are still under repair and replacement, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that may be caused."

Before the official announcement, the mall informed shop proprietors about the reopening. It was understood that more manpower would be deployed for security, but there will be no special arrangements at the entrances.

Apple Store's website says its Festival Walk outlet will open on Thursday. Other shops, including Pepper Lunch Express and restaurant Jasmine, will also reopen that day.

Festival Walk was hit by large-scale vandalism from November 11 to 13. Besides the tree being torched, glass panels of escalators were shattered and the moving handrails were pulled out.

The destruction followed police action on November 10 after some shops were vandalized.

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