A Chinese millionaire will welcome tourists into the Hong Kong mansion of martial art and cinema legend Bruce Lee. For a short period after the actor's death in 1973, the house served as a brothel.
AFP - The owner of Bruce Lee's former Hong Kong mansion has agreed to turn the property into a tourist destination commemorating the late kung fu legend, his advisor said Wednesday.
Millionaire philanthropist Yu Panglin met with government officials to try to hammer out a plan to preserve Lee's last residence, Michael Choi, who is assisting Yu in the negotiations told AFP.
"Since Yu decided to withdraw his plan to sell the mansion in July last year, the government had been considering the feasibility of a conservation plan," Choi told AFP.
"Both sides reached a consensus on restoring the property to Lee's days and turning it into a tourist attraction," he said.
Yu bought the 5,000 square feet (460 square metres), two-storey house in Kowloon Tong for 850,000 Hong Kong dollars (109,000 US) in the 1960s. The property is now worth around 100 million dollars.
He hopes to expand the floor area of the mansion -- which has been used as a seedy love hotel -- and turn it into a large museum complex with a cinema, library and martial arts centre.
"We met with Lee's daughter last October and she agreed to help us restore the mansion to its former shape. She told us her family could donate some of Lee's personal items including his movie costumes," said Choi, who is chairman of Land Power International.
"Mr Yu will donate the property to the government if he is satisfied that their plan is sustainable and will attract tourists to Hong Kong," Choi said.
The secretary for commerce and economic Development Rita Lau confirmed the government had given provisional backing to the plan after Tuesday's meeting.
"The government takes the view that the development should focus on enabling the Bruce Lee fans to commemorate the achievements and understand the life of their idol through visiting the residence, and revitalising the building for long-term sustainable operation as a tourism attraction."
Yu decided against selling the mansion last summer, following calls from fans of the star to preserve Lee's former home.
The US-born Lee died at the age of 32 in 1973, after a brief but bright career as the high-kicking hero of Hong Kong movies like "Big Boss" and "Fist of Fury", which remain hugely popular across the world.
Date created : 2009-01-07