Govt & Sands to revitalise Taipa’s Iec Long Firecracker Factory area, 2 old quarters on peninsula

2023-10-05 03:16
BY Yuki Lei

The government and local integrated resort (IR) operator Sands China announced last week at a joint press conference their plan regarding the revitalisation and optimisation of the areas around the erstwhile Iec Long Firecracker Factory, Pátio da Eterna Felicidade and Rua das Estalagens, including the development of a themed game based on the old firecracker factory to “vividly” present its stories and connotations, and the transformation of the Taipa Houses into a “more pleasant” place with Sino-Portuguese features to take wedding photographs, thereby enriching the cultural and tourist content of the walking route that connects the two places.

In combination with the environmental characteristics to inject different functional attractions, the revitalisation plan also includes the setting-up of speciality stalls, the sale of culinary delights and arts and crafts, as well as performances.

Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) President Leong Wai Man said during the joint press conference at the Macau Cultural Centre (CCM) on Friday that the old Iec Long Firecracker Factory, opened in 1925 and closed in 1984, is the only remaining and well-preserved firecracker industrial site in Macau, adding that being testimony to the development of Macau’s modern industry, the long-defunct firecracker factory also shows the prosperity of this kind of traditional industry in Macau in the 20th century.

The former site of Iec Long Firecracker Factory has been partially open to the public since late December last year after the completion of its first phase of revitalisation work which included construction of a 400-metre-long walkway and the renovation of several small buildings.

Leong said that the restoration and revitalisation of the firecracker factory area would be carried out in phases, with the premise of preserving the historical buildings and ecological landscape in the park, adding that she expected the restoration to be gradually completed in phases between the end of the next year and 2025.

There are about 30 old buildings at the Iec Firecracker Factory plot, covering an area of more than 20,000 square metres, according to Leong.

When asked about the implementation schedule of the projects, Sands China President Wilfred Wong Ying-wai said that the projects’ timing was different, with some still in the conceptual stage and pending discussions with different stakeholders, while those involved in the design or restoration of historic buildings had to be completed by the government before they could move forward. Wong added that his company was striving to complete some of the projects within this year.

Pátio da Eterna Felicidade & Rua das Estalagens

In terms of the revitalisation of Pátio da Eterna Felicidade (“Courtyard of Eternal Bliss”) and Rua das Estalagens (“Street of Inns”), according to the press conference, Sands plans to develop Pátio da Eterna Felicidade into a venue for contemporary artists for new artistic creations and exchanges and reinforce the area’s special atmosphere of the arts and community connections with the courtyard’s adjacent streets such as Rua das Estalagens by inviting local artistic groups and artists to participate in the street’s beautification project, and thus recreating the neighbourhood’s previous appearance.

In addition, Sands also plans to launch a business incubation scheme to encourage local enterprises to set up speciality shops on Rua das Estalagens, aiming to promote the ancient street’s entertainment and fashion trends, as well as revitalise the old neighbourhood’s vitality.

Wong said he hoped that more innovative businesses would enter the area and thus help other shops revitalise one after another, adding that the company would first liaise with the owners of the shops on various streets to brainstorm ideas on revitalising the district. Wong pointed out he believed that the rents of shops in the area would not suddenly rise after the area’s revitalisation.

According to Leong, Pátio da Eterna Felicidade, the Chinese-style courtyard which is in a “relatively completed” state of preservation and the largest in Macau, is made up of 13 buildings with a unified architectural style and high continuity. Pátio da Eterna Felicidade, adjacent to historical streets such as the streets circling the Ruins of St Paul’s, Rua dos Ervanários “(Street of the Herbalists”) and Rua das Estalagens, is a “node” connecting various neighbourhoods.

Since taking over Pátio da Eterna Felicidade in 2019, the bureau has carried out revitalisation and restoration work there, Leong said, adding that some of the completed reinforced buildings are currently being used as temporary exhibition spaces.

Govt to update public in due course: Ao Ieong

Meanwhile, attending last Friday’s press conference, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U said that when summarising the revitalisation plan for six of Macau’s old quarters, it was found that each area and its surroundings have a large number of features worth developing in line with their cultural and historical connotation, adding that the revitalisation plans of these areas will not only help retain and highlight the respective neighbourhoods’ features, but also inject innovative attractions through the collaboration of the city’s six IR operators, which have provided “incentives” to encourage businesses to move in, thus widening market participation in the six areas.

Ao Ieong also said that the inter-departmental working group dedicated to following up on the revitalisation of the six historic quarters “would work closely” with the six IR operators to take the lead, coordinate and promote the work in accordance with the government’s development orientation and strategies, so as to ensure the effective implementation of the revitalisation plans.

Ao Ieong promised that the government would announce the phased work plan in due course and continue to listen to public opinion on the revitalisation drive.

SJM, Galaxy, Wynn, MGM, Melco and Sands are taking part in the government’s ongoing programme to revitalise six historic areas in the peninsula, Taipa and Coloane, comprising the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro area,  Coloane’s Lai Chi Vun Shipyards, the pedestrianisation of Rua da Felicidade (“Street of Bliss”), the Barra area, Pier 23 and Pier 25 in the Inner Harbour district and the area surrounding Mount Fortress, as well as Taipa’s Iec Long Firecracker Factory, Pátio da Eterna Felicidade and Rua das Estalagens. 

This photo taken yesterday shows the erstwhile Iec Long Firecracker Factory site in Taipa, which has been partially open to the public since late December last year after the completion of its first phase of revitalisation. – Photo: Yuki Lei

This handout photo provided by the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) shows Sands China President Wilfred Wong Ying-wai (second from left), Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U (fourth from left) and IC President Leong Wai Man (third from left), as well as senior officials from the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) and Transport Bureau (DSAT), plus an officer of the Public Security Police (PSP), looking on during last Friday’s press conference about the erstwhile Iec Long Firecracker Factory and the area around Pátio da Eterna Felicidade and Rua das Estalagens, at the Macau Cultural Centre (CCM) in Nape.


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