The former Police Married Quarters (PMQ), now revitalised as a design hub for local talent, has suffered HK$16 million in losses in their first year of operation.

PMQ. Photo: HKFP.

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, a lawmaker and consultant for PMQ, said he was “not surprised at the results”, according to Ming Pao.

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen.

Leung said that the creative hub has only been open for a year and losses are within his expectations. He added that marketing and publicity events could help build a solid foundation for its operations.

Although it attracted four million visitors since it opened in June 2014, the arts hub spent HK$17.6 million in its first year, according to Ming Pao. Deducting the HK$1.22 million they received in rental income, the total deficit would amount to nearly HK$16 million.

PMQ. Photo: HKFP.

Although PMQ expects to receive almost HK$10 million in rental income for the coming year, they are expected to suffer a loss of HK$7 million. To break even, the site would have to increase rents or reduce expenditure.

PMQ. Photo: HKFP.

PMQ already faced a deficit of HK$14.9 million in the 2013-14 term, before it opened to the public. Without rental income, the arts hub relied on donations from the Musketeers Education and Culture Charitable Foundation (MECCF) to fund its operations.

Aside from rent, the design hub relies heavily on the HK$110 million seed fund from MECCF. When asked by Ming Pao about the remaining seed funds, a spokesman for PMQ declined to comment.

Located near art galleries along Hollywood Road, the arts venue attracted over 100 creative businesses since it opened. Monthly rents cost between HK$12,000 and HK$28,000 with start-up tenants exempt from paying rent for the first two years.

The former Police Married Headquarters before revitalisation. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The building provided accommodation for married junior police officers serving at the nearby Central Police Station until 2000.

Update (09:41): Wendy Chu, a spokesperson for PMQ told HKFP that the HK$16 million loss is part of the HK$110 million seed fund donated prior to PMQ’s opening. She said: “The seed donation is also planned to further support 10 years of PMQ’s operation.”

Paul Benedict Lee

Paul Benedict Lee is an undergraduate law student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Paul has previously contributed to HK Magazine and Radio Television Hong Kong, covering issues ranging from local heritage conservation to arts features. He has also worked as a legal intern at local human rights firm Daly & Associates.