Hong Kong’s marquee cultural development project, the West Kowloon Cultural District, has been dealt yet another setback. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, five executives at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority will be leaving between now and the fall, and the departures seem to be affecting the construction timelines for venues at the complex.
A theater at West Kowloon dubbed The Box at Freespace missed its April opening date, and the M+ museum, which was originally expected to open in 2017 and most recently has been scheduled to open in 2020, could now be pushed back to 2021. At an M+ launch party in Venice on Tuesday concurrent with the Biennale preview, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority promised that M+ would be open in time for the next Venice Biennale in 2021.
The five departing executives are: Emily Chan, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority’s chief technology officer; Julian Marland, its development director; Christian Wright, its commercial director; Paul Hennig, its head of technical development; and Louis Yu Kwok-lit, its executive director in charge of performance arts. The West Kowloon Cultural District project was first announced in 1998, and since then only one venue at the waterfront district, the Xiqu Centre opera house, has opened. M+ describes itself as a “museum of visual culture” and still promises a 2020 opening date on its website; since 2016 it has held temporary exhibitions at its M+ Pavilion.