Bruce Lee Hong Kong home to be saved as tourist site

Tue Jan 6, 2009 10:45am EST
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By James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A philanthropic bid by a Hong Kong tycoon to preserve the one-time residence of kung fu legend Bruce Lee and transform it into a major tourist attraction honoring the film icon was approved on Tuesday.

The green light comes after a long-running struggle by fans to save the 5,700 square-foot, two-storey town house from an inglorious fate as a seedy love motel in a leafy Kowloon suburb.

The fate of Lee's last home had hung in the balance for years, until its owner, real estate and hotel tycoon Yu Pang-lin, made a surprise decision last year to donate it to the city where the martial arts master first shot to fame.

"Both sides have now reached a consensus to go ahead and essentially proceed with this good plan," Yu told reporters after a meeting with government officials.

"I'm 88 years old now and hope that while I'm still alive I'll be able to see this Bruce Lee museum completed," he added.

Hong Kong's Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said it agreed to preserve the "original outlook of the building and its features" with an aim to revitalize it for long-term sustainable operation as a tourism attraction.

Parts of the home will be recreated, including Lee's study and training hall stacked with martial arts weaponry and other paraphernalia of his discipline.

While further details have yet to be hammered out, Yu wants the site, which has served as a love motel with rooms rented out by the hour -- to include a library, martial arts center and a movie theater to fully commemorate Lee's life and philosophy.   Continued...

<p>An exterior view of a motel at Hong Kong's Kowloon Tong district which is the old home of the late Hong Kong martial arts star Bruce Lee, July 3, 2008. REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>