Plans to turn Bruce Lee's home into a museum foiled
Plans to turn Bruce Lee’s former residence in Kowloon Tong into a commemorative museum for the star are likely to fall through, despite glossy government publicity campaigns and three years of speculation.
Philanthropist Yu Panglin, a self-professed Bruce Lee fan who currently owns the property, offered to donate the house to the Hong Kong government in 2008.
His condition: the two-story property should be expanded to include a library, a cinema and a martial arts training center.
This would entail building three more floors to accommodate the new facilities, a condition that was not approved by the Town Planning Board in an area that is dominated by low-rise residential buildings.
Initial announcements of a possible Bruce Lee museum at the site were met with much excitement from the public. Last year, the government held a competition calling for ideas for restoring the residence.
It attracted 140 entries from around the globe, and winning entries were publicly exhibited in Hong Kong.
Needless to say, the failed negotiations caused a fair bit of mud-slinging among the parties involved—some of it directed at landowner Yu.
A Bruce Lee fan told the South China Morning Post that it looked like Yu regretted the decision to sell his house, and imposed impossible restrictions which could not be fulfilled.
Yu, for his part, blamed the Town Planning Board for turning down his proposal.
The property at 41 Cumberland Road is currently valued at more than HK$100 million, according to local reports. The house was reportedly a love hotel until 2008.
A Bruce Lee commemorative exhibition will be held at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin to “showcase Mr Lee’s life and his contributions to the development of film and kung fu culture,” a government spokeswoman said.
The exhibition will open late next year, in time for the 40th anniversary of Lee’s death in July 2013. Lee passed away in July 1973.