View Full Version : HONG KONG | Western District Projects & Redevelopments
May 1st, 2009, 06:48 PM
Western district is the site of Hong Kong's original colonial settlement. It is undergoing many redevelopments as the buildings age and a subway extension is slated to be constructed through the area soon.
Photos by fatshe from skyscrapers.cn :
May 2nd, 2009, 08:14 AM
西環南里舊樓 新地出價洽購; 田生1.58億統一比鄰業權 具再併購潛力
6 February 2009
May 11th, 2009, 09:17 AM
May 11th, 2009, 07:42 PM
Never heard of this one! We should make a thread for this under highrise or something... altho this looks like it's gonna be ugly...
May 12th, 2009, 03:29 AM
Never heard of this one! We should make a thread for this under highrise or something... altho this looks like it's gonna be ugly...
This one is right at the western edge of Kennedy Town and is quite a walk from the tram terminus. I don't know much about this project and caught it on skyscrapers.cn initially. But it's topped out already ... probably not much more updates if it has its own Highrise section thread - it may all be over on the first page. What do you think?
May 13th, 2009, 12:14 AM
Thanks for posting this!
May 13th, 2009, 02:51 AM
Ok never mind I guess. Always good to have more representation on the front pages.
May 17th, 2009, 01:04 PM
May 22nd, 2009, 05:48 PM
Height cap points to shift in focus
Developers may turn to older buildings in other districts after Mid-Levels restrictions
26 March 2008
South China Morning Post
Old buildings in Western, Kennedy Town and Wan Chai will be the next acquisition targets of developers after the government imposed building height restrictions in Mid-Levels last week, property analysts say.
Developers have aggressively targeted old buildings in luxury residential areas for redevelopment in recent years, with Mid-Levels a favoured location.
However, their hopes of cashing in by significantly increasing the saleable gross floor areas of the redevelopments were dashed last week when the Town Planning Board imposed height limits in the area.
Under the restrictions, buildings will be limited to heights of between 170 and 320 metres.
A developer affected by the new rule is Cheung Kong (Holdings), which acquired the 28-storey Lodge on the Park in Kennedy Road for redevelopment last year.
The company is believed to have wanted to build a high-rise tower on the site but is now restricted to keeping the building to its existing height.
Gabriel Cheng Hon-wah, a director in investment at property consultants Savills, said developers were now expected to shift their focus to acquiring old buildings in Western, Kennedy Town and Wan Chai, which have no building height restriction yet.
Surveyor Albert So Chun-hin expected old buildings in Wan Chai would be welcomed as redevelopment prospects by developers.
"Many of the sites are on old leases which have no development restrictions," Mr So said.
"But it is definite that the government will impose building height restrictions over Hong Kong."
He said that although there were no limits in these areas yet, developers should be prepared for their imposition.
Both Mr Cheng and Mr So said buildings which were below the allowed development plot ratio and were at least 40 years old would be targeted by developers.
Prices of flats in buildings that were between 30 and 40 years old at present ranged between HK$4,700 per square foot and HK$5,000 per square foot, said Joan Chow Pui-ying, a sales manager at Centaline Properties.
"Most of the units in this age bracket offer rental yields of 6 per cent, which is attractive to investors," Ms Chow said.
Sam Shum Hing-woo, a deputy sales manager at Centaline, said flats in old buildings in Kennedy Town had become popular in recent years as buyers hoped developers would offer aggressive prices to acquire the buildings for redevelopment.
Units of 40-year-old buildings in the area are currently selling at an average price of about HK$3,500 per square foot, according to Centaline.
Mr Cheng said developers were willing to offer aggressive prices to buy flats in old buildings which had redevelopment potential.
"Take Merry Terrace as an example. Developers offered HK$19,000 per square foot to acquire units in the building for redevelopment that could fetch only HK$7,000 per square foot on the secondary market," he said.
However, prices expected to be bid by developers for old buildings would now be more conservative since the height restrictions in Mid-Levels were imposed, and developers expected more restrictions elsewhere.
"The taller the new development, the better panoramic view it gets, and the higher the price achievable," Mr Cheng said.
"Developers won't offer aggressive prices if they cannot build a tall building."
Mr So expected the acquisitions of old buildings in Mid-Levels would slow in the wake of the development restrictions announced last week - an outcome that occurred in Kowloon Tong two years ago.
After the market recovery in 2003, developers began aggressively acquiring old buildings in Kowloon Tong.
However, the trend stopped abruptly in 2006 when the government imposed building height restrictions in the area.
The government has accelerated its programme of imposing development restrictions, and within the past two years most of the high-density districts such as North Point, the Peak and Quarry Bay on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon have had building height or development plot ratio restrictions imposed to avoid over-development.
Kennedy Town, Sai Ying Pun, Sheung Wan and Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island are expected to become the next targets of the planning department.
Mr So expected the pace of urban renewal in Hong Kong would slow as more restrictions appear over the next two years.
"In the long term, the government should consider how to accelerate redevelopment in old districts and still retain the character of each district," he said.
"We should not rely solely on the Urban Renewal Authority."
May 23rd, 2009, 07:18 AM
By SillYIN from skyscrapers.cn :
June 12th, 2009, 09:53 AM
URA to study options for waterfront food market in Western
12 June 2009
South China Morning Post
The Urban Renewal Authority has been commissioned to study how to revitalise an underused food market occupying a large area of waterfront land in Western district.
The 6.2 hectares could be used for outdoor dining and for shops, Permanent Secretary for Development Raymond Young Lap-moon told a meeting of the Legislative Council development affairs panel yesterday.
"In the long run, we hope to make it a commercial space with a promenade," Mr Young said. The Urban Renewal Authority has several redevelopment and rehabilitation projects in the district.
The Western Wholesale Food Market near Fung Mat Road, consisting of eight piers, and one government office block now occupied by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, lie between existing promenades in Sai Ying Pun and Shek Tong Tsui. Four of the piers are disused. It is separated from the rest of the district by Connaught Road West.
Last month, the Central and Western District Council suggested developing the area, now closed to the public, into a tourist-friendly fish market like those in Japan. The council said if it was impossible to relocate the market; opening it as part of the promenade would be the second-best option.
An Urban Renewal Authority spokesman said its officers carried out a site visit last week and would study the feasibility of revitalisation.
Meanwhile, a petition organised by restaurant owners and residents in Central and Sheung Wan in support of outdoor dining had attracted about 2,030 signatures online by yesterday. It was launched against the district council's initial decision - now suspended due to public opposition - to ban outdoor dining in the area from next month.
Lawmakers were also briefed at the meeting about the methods, composition and terms of reference of harbour authorities overseas. Alan Leong Kah-kit, of the Civic Party, said he felt a high-level authority was necessary to oversee development of the West Kowloon Cultural District, Kai Tak and the new Central waterfront.
Mr Young said a taskforce under the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee was still studying the management mode and the government did not have a preset agenda.
Earlier, members of the taskforce said, after making overseas visits, that a central authority incorporating relevant government department heads and armed with policymaking powers would be suitable for Hong Kong.
June 25th, 2009, 05:04 PM
Old is gold for buildings
22 June 2009
There is a growing interest in the redevelopment of old buildings following a government proposal to make urban renewal easier.
A local fund has spent about HK$231 million on acquiring 90 percent ownership of an old building in Sai Wan, in the belief that the development potential of Western District will rise after the construction of the MTR West Island Line.
According to the Sing Tao Daily, sister publication of The Standard, the fund had to spend HK$2,800 to HK$3,000 per square foot on the eight-story Pit Fat Building at 58 Belcher's Street.
The total investment is expected to be HK$450 million for the area, which could be transformed into a gross floor area of more than 90,000 square feet. The fund will apply for compulsory sale of the whole project.
More developers are showing interest in acquiring old buildings after the Development Bureau proposed lowering the percentage of owners required to approve a compulsory sale for redevelopment from 90 percent to 80 percent. Sources said the local fund won 91.8 percent of undivided shares for the 49-year-old building before the bureau made its proposal.
Meanwhile, Richfield Group (8136) plans to acquire nine old buildings on Cha Kwo Ling Road in Yau Tong by offering HK$4,500 psf for flats and HK$4,800 psf for shops.
The nine buildings are 35 to 40 years old with five to 10 floors. They could be rebuilt into a GFA of more than 213,000 sq ft.
June 28th, 2009, 11:20 AM
27 June 2009
July 5th, 2009, 11:37 AM
5 July 2009
July 5th, 2009, 02:33 PM
July 7th, 2009, 07:09 PM
By fatshe - 6/29 :
July 8th, 2009, 11:04 AM
DAB backs residents in rail extension claim
6 July 2009
About 60 Western District residents are demanding government compensation for the impact of the MTR West Island extension project on their properties.
At a meeting held by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, some residents were concerned construction work would affect the safety and value of their buildings.
The DAB said construction would greatly limit the redevelopment potential of more than 360 buildings.
The MTR has to purchase full underground rights to 158 buildings and partial rights to 209 buildings in order to build the tunnel, which will be seven to 20 meters underground.
The most affected area will be between Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun where foundations will be particularly shallow.
The government has set aside around HK$380 million in compensation based on 2007 property values.
Surveyor Tony Chan Tung-ngok estimated current prices at between HK$7,000 and HK$8,000 per square foot.
He said compensation could amount to far more than HK$380 million.
On July 3, the Legco Finance Committee approved HK$12.25 billion for the construction cost of the West Island Line.
Property owners can claim compensation if they can prove loss of property value, but must use professional surveyors to evaluate the loss of value to their properties, said Yeung Hok- ming, the DAB's senior assistant coordinator.
``We worry about small property owners who cannot afford employing professional surveyors to estimate their loss,'' Yeung said.
The party demanded the government and MTR take an active role in compensating property owners.
In January, four property owners were told West Island Line construction work could affect their building's foundations but were given reassurances over safety.
The West Island Line will extend the Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town. Construction is due to start next month and be completed in 2014.
July 9th, 2009, 10:55 AM
6 July 2009
July 17th, 2009, 05:06 PM
MTR Corp, HK Govt Sign Agreement On HK$15.4 Bln Rail Project
13 July 2009
HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--MTR Corp. (0066.HK) said Monday it signed an agreement with the Hong Kong government to build the West Island Line, the extension of the MTR network to the Western District of Hong Kong Island.
Under the agreement, the government will pay the rail operator HK$12.25 billion to help finance the line's construction, MTR said, adding the project's total estimated cost is HK$15.40 billion.
During the construction period up to 2014, the project will create about 6,600 jobs, it said.
July 20th, 2009, 07:45 PM
July 22nd, 2009, 02:17 PM
13 July 2009
July 31st, 2009, 08:53 PM
Chinese herb garden to get HK$3.1m redesign
30 July 2009
South China Morning Post
A herb garden in Sheung Wan will be redesigned in a HK$3.1 million project to provide a better environment for Chinese species to grow.
Sanny Yeung Yuet-ming, a manager for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, said that the work was necessary to stop the herbs being flooded during the rainy season.
"The project aims at moving all herbs to the other side of the park near Bonham Strand West, as some of the herbs were washed away by heavy rain in August last year," she said. The department, which has sought the advice of experts in Chinese herbs, will put in perimeter fencing and a new pavilion.
The Chinese Herb Garden, costing HK$1.3 million, opened in 2007 as part of an Urban Renewal Authority project and is now the responsibility of the leisure department. The 1,300 square metre garden, in Queen Street, has about 100 species of Chinese herbs.
The department recently received complaints from the public that the vent system nearby had caused some herbs to wilt. Some herbs have also been stolen.
Wan Bien, 86, who has lived in the district for 40 years, said the smell from the vent made her uncomfortable. "There is often a scent of fried food coming out from the vent in the afternoon, and it is even worse when it is windy," she said.
The department said the vent system had no direct impact on the herbs. "The hot air released from the vent rises up, hence it will only affect tall trees near the vent."
Democrat Kam Nai-wai said the project was a waste of public money, at more than double the original construction costs. "The government should use the HK$3 million to renew the vent system instead of redesigning the garden," he said.
In response to complaints about the vent system, which is part of nearby Queen Street Cooked Food Market, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department promised to clean it every two weeks instead of every six.
August 1st, 2009, 05:33 AM
Woods goes birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, to start round 2! Wow.
August 24th, 2009, 02:59 PM
Poor leadership and bureaucracy blamed for project delays
10 August 2009
South China Morning Post
Pet lovers might be grateful to the harbour watchdog for setting up a dog park in Wan Chai, but older residents in Kennedy Town say they are still waiting for a promenade that will allow them to exercise.
The dog park on the Wan Chai waterfront and a promenade in West Kowloon - set up by the Harbour Front Enhancement Committee in its last term - had provided some cheer for the public.
But the two sites will soon be turned into construction sites, thanks to the Central and Wan Chai Bypass and the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.
The dog park will close in December while construction of the arts hub begins in 2012. The committee had urged the government to revitalise sites in Kwun Tong, Hung Hom and North Point harbourfront, but none of them have materialised.
Ho Lee Siu-king, 60, of Kennedy Town, said she and her neighbours longed for a promenade so they could walk and exercise. She said they had been sneaking into the public cargo working area, which occupies the waterfront in Western District, to exercise every evening.
"We know it's dangerous to exercise around cargo, but we like the scenery overlooking the Tsing Ma Bridge." She said the seats next to the cargo area were always full.
Residents hope the half-vacant food wholesale market on the waterfront can be revitalised to provide resting areas and alfresco dining, and they want a harbour bicycle track.
Committee member Paul Zimmerman said poor leadership and departmental problems within the government had delayed waterfront plans.
"The Planning Department plans the waterfront but [it does not] implement," he said. "Unlike other cities which have mayors to direct city planning, Hong Kong has no boss to give directions to departments."
Committee members are not empowered to obtain staff and funding to commence a waterfront project, despite administrative support from the Development Bureau.
Members are often told that the body assigned to manage public parks - the Leisure and Cultural Services Department under the Home Affairs Bureau - has no resources to manage waterfront areas.
Mr Zimmerman said the committee had little influence on the government's waterfront projects. He said the accessibility of the new Central waterfront was still uncertain as it was occupied by the PLA berth and pump houses, while the future waterfront in Kai Tak - the old airport's runway - would be surrounded by roads. "You can just walk along these promenades. There won't be enough space for activities and alfresco dining," he said, adding that roads were hidden from the waterfront in Vancouver and Singapore.
Another committee member, Nicholas Brooke, said: "Despite the difficulties, the committee established a set of harbour planning principles and gave directions to the Kai Tak project."
The committee was not empowered to co-ordinate departments, he said, adding that a more powerful body should be set up to oversee waterfront areas. The committee will advise the government next week that the 56-year-old Queen's Pier should be put back at its original location to maintain its historical connection with City Hall and Edinburgh Place. It was dismantled in 2007 and is now in storage until it can be rebuilt - at its original site or between Central Pier No 9 and No 10, where it would function as a public pier again.
A spokeswoman for the Development Bureau said roads of more than 10 to 17 metres wide were planned in some sections of the Kai Tak runway but the government would enhance pedestrian access and bring vibrancy to the 20-metre wide waterfront.
Pump houses in the future Central waterfront would be built underground.
November 22nd, 2009, 06:04 PM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Take in spectacular harbor views, as aqua-toned walls reflecting the colors of the water transport you to a realm of total bliss.
Sounds like a dream? It can come true if you check into the Le Rivage, a newly built boutique hotel apartment in Western District.
The property was unveiled last month by developer National Properties, whose highly acclaimed previous venture - The Putman - opened in 2007.
This is the company's second collaboration with legendary French designer Andree Putman.
National Properties managing director Loewe Lee said: "Our company is passionate about offering world-class architecture and design to Hong Kong. Le Rivage is a testament to our vision in providing this new concept to all the developments that we create."
Le Rivage sits on a spectacular waterfront in Western District, allowing guests to take in the magnificence of Victoria Harbour through the wide windows of its 50 bespoke suites.
Designed as an urban oasis in the bustling metropolis, each apartment has a generous 1,000 square feet of living space and boasts a private lobby and entrance.
Two apartments on the third floor extend this uncompromising luxury by including a private terrace and a garden.
Featuring an open-plan design, the apartments have high ceilings and a chic natural decor featuring Putman's signature style and creating a sense of warmth and comfort.
Shades of blue and white are used to pay homage to the harbor. This color scheme is seen throughout the apartm
ents, and the mosaic-tiled bathroom, in particular, echoes the glittering water.
Clever storage solutions, like a work desk with concealed drawers and beds with cabinets underneath, keep the interiors sleek and neat.
Aside from a minimalist overall design, the apartments come with sumptuous Frette bedding and Simmons mattresses, both emphasizing quality and timeless elegance.
Other mod cons offered include a Toshiba 42-inch TV, an iPod dock, broadband internet connection and a versatile kitchen.
A 24-hour concierge service and daily housekeeping make Le Rivage living hassle-free.
A fully equipped gym, a business center and a spacious rooftop sundeck with barbecue facilities are some added attractions.
Just a stroll away from Shun Tak Macau Ferry Terminal and conveniently close to the CBD and the Airport Express station, the entertainment hub of Lan Kwai Fong and fine-dining zone SoHo, Le Rivage offers the executive and the expatriate fast access to both work and the city's vibrant nightlife.
Residents will also be served by a complimentary shuttle service between the property and IFC on weekday mornings.
Address 138 Connaught Road West, Western District, Hong Kong
Developer National Properties
January 18th, 2010, 04:39 PM
42-44 Belcher's Street, Western District - Belcher's Hill
By fatshe taken on 1/12 :
GFA 121,754 sq ft, 156 units
February 1st, 2010, 04:32 PM
Belcher's Hill snapped up in 2 days
Monday, February 01, 2010
New World Development (0017) sold around 80 percent of the homes at Belcher's Hill in Sai Wan - the first major project put on the market in two months - within two days of the launch.
The developer raised prices slightly, said Jeff Lau Chung-leung, a senior manager in sales and marketing.
Most of the 116 homes on offer were sold, but some flats on the lower and upper floors are still available, he noted.
There are 152 apartments in the single-building project. Lau said the developer will put more homes on the market given the satisfactory sales.
New World launched eight more homes late yesterday afternoon.
The most expensive unit sold is a 964-square-foot home that fetched HK$12.6 million. At HK$13,093 per square foot, it was 55 percent above the average of HK$8,432 psf for the first batch of 32 flats. Lau said 70 percent of homebuyers are from Hong Kong Island.
The largest single transaction involved only two apartments because homes were allocated by drawing lots, he said. The developer did not sell any duplex or triplex apartments, but said on Saturday that the most expensive units in these categories will command more than HK$20,000 psf.
Meanwhile, Kerry Properties (0683) opened the show room of Island Crest in Sai Ying Pun to property agents. Midland director Jeffrey Ng Chong-yip said the successive launches of two nearby projects are good for the market.
"In the past few months the focus was on the secondary market. Some homeowners, especially those of smaller homes, asked for higher prices," he said.
"With the new projects now, there is a market reference for secondary home prices, so we cansee a slowdown [in the secondary market]."
As Belcher's Hill absorbed some purchasing power, secondary home transactions at three major Hong Kong Island estates fell 35.7 percent to just nine over the weekend, Midland said.
Three flats were sold in Tai Koo Shing, down from seven in the previous weekend while four homes were sold in South Horizons versus six a week ago.
Transactions at four major Kowloon estates was up 18.2 percent to 26, while those at three New Territories estates went down 15.4 percent to 33.
February 3rd, 2010, 06:50 PM
Please note : You can continue to track Belchers Hill's progress in the following new thread :
HONG KONG | Belchers Hill | 48 fl |160m+| U/C (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1059567)
February 20th, 2010, 08:34 PM
August 5th, 2010, 05:17 PM
URA invites bids for Sai Ying Pun site
23 July 2010
The Urban Renewal Authority has invited firms to apply to redevelop a 23,143-square-foot site in Sai Ying Pun.
The site, bordering Third Street and Centre Street, may provide a total gross floor area of 177,175 sq ft, mainly for residential use, the URA said.
It intends to provide about 270 homes, including a large number of units smaller than 500 sq ft.
Judging from the URA and Kerry Properties' (0683) Island Crest nearby, smaller homes could potentially cost buyers more per square foot.
Comparable homes at the redevelopment project in First Street and Second Street were sold for just above HK$14,000 to around HK$18,000 psf early this year, higher than units of about 800 sq ft, said Hong Kong Property sales manager Anthony Wong. ``Small units involve small lump-sums and have good rental yield,'' Wong said, noting the supply of these units is low in the district.
The URA said it also plans to re-use a pair of existing tenement buildings as public open space.
Interested parties have to prove development experience and financial capability, and submit expressions of interest by July 30.
Meanwhile, URA chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen noted criticism of excessively large bay windows at Lime Stardom, co-developed with Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), and said the issue would be discussed with the Development Bureau. He personally supports a cap on size.
August 14th, 2010, 05:26 PM
Owners protest over payouts as buildings are torn down for MTR
16 June 2010
South China Morning Post
The owners of two buildings being demolished to make way for construction of the MTR West Island Line in Sai Ying Pun staged a protest yesterday seeking more compensation.
About 30 mostly elderly owners and residents of Tai Shing House and No2 and No4 of Tsz Mi Alley blocked a lane of Queen's Road West for six hours. They demanded Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng explain how their payouts - which they said were much lower than the market price - had been calculated.
But Cheng did not make an appearance because she is on leave.
Among the protesters was Lee Hui, 70, who owns an 800-square-foot flat in the Tai Shing building, with four rooms that he previously leased to tenants. He was offered HK$2.6 million in compensation, but Hui said it was not enough to cover the cost - HK$5,000 to HK$6,000 per square foot - of buying another flat of similar size in the district.
Lee, who has a chronic illness, depended on rental income from the unit to pay for his medical expenses. He said he had not received any rent from tenants since October 18 last year, when authorities claimed his flat as government property and put a stop to leasing.
He said officials seized his flat before he could agree with the department over compensation. "They damaged the lock, broke into my flat and locked all four rooms - but I have not received a single cent," he said.
He also said it was unfair that his flat, which he unknowingly bought for commercial use, was not eligible for an exgratia allowance.
The allowance, called a home purchase allowance, is granted only to owners of flats for residential use to make up the difference between the property's market value and that of a seven-year-old flat of similar size and in a similar locality.
Leung Kit-chen, a 58-year-old cleaner who bought a 650-square-foot flat for her son on Tsz Mi Alley, was also at the protest. Leung said she had also unknowingly bought her flat for commercial use and been offered HK$1.58 million in compensation. She said it was unfair that the owner of another flat of similar size in the same building received HK$3.3 million in compensation because they were offered a residential contract and received the allowance.
But even those who received the allowance said it was not enough to buy a seven-year-old flat. Lee Mei-fong, 43, daughter of the owner of a 400-square-foot flat, said she had been offered HK$2.2 million compensation, including a HK$900,000 allowance. "It was not enough to even buy a bathroom," she said, adding that she was asking for HK$7,000 to HK$8,000 per square foot.
She said the department had not negotiated individual payouts with owners and she did not know how the compensation was calculated.
Legislative Councillor Cyd Ho Sau-lan said the Transport and Housing Bureau had refused to offer flats in public estates or under the home ownership scheme for rehousing, saying there was no such rule.
About 20 owners met two Lands Department surveyors last night, but did not agree on the payouts.
August 31st, 2010, 03:25 AM
Work to start at Sheung Wan MTR
Friday, August 27, 2010
Construction work is due to start tomorrow at Sheung Wan MTR station as it prepares to become part of the planned West Island Line.
In an HK$80 million upgrade, the station will be converted from a terminus to an intermediate station upon the 2014 completion of the extended line, which will connect Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town.
Passengers are warned to expect inconvenience with the closure of most of the eastern concourse and the switching of services between platforms during construction, which is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The works will include a series of new and upgraded facilities for passengers. The station's eastern concourse will be enlarged and relaid to create more space and wider corridors will facilitate passenger flow.
On the operational front, new tracks, overhead lines and signaling will be installed.
For the comfort of passengers, toilets will be built and two new passenger lifts installed.
The new customer service center, of an open design, will be located at a more central location on the concourse.
The directional flow of escalators will also be changed to match the new route.
The station's other concourse, which is used by the bulk of passengers, will not be affected by the works.
Choi Tak-tsan, head of operations at MTR Corp, assured passengers that they will still get to their destinations on time.
While construction is taking place, dust and noise will be kept to a minimum, Choi said.
September 1st, 2010, 05:55 AM
Tunnel vision spurs council to dig deep
9 July 2010
A HK$3 million scheme was launched yesterday to subsidize the hiring and training of new tunnel workers for MTR contractors.
The scheme, run jointly by the Construction Industry Council and the MTR Corp, involves a three-week full-time course and eight weeks of on-the-job training.
Advanced courses for shotfirers, tunnel-boring machine drivers, fitters and mechanics and drilling rig operators will also be launched.
The council will shoulder part of the salary of new workers and provide MTR contractors necessary training staff and facilities, council director Charles Wong Doon-yee said.
``The amount of subsidy will be based on the scale of the projects and the types of construction works,'' said Wong, who added that local workers stand to benefit from the scheme.
Projects such as the West Island Line, South Island Line (East), Guangzhou- Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, Sha Tin to Central Link and Kwun Tong Line Extension will need well- trained workers, according to MTR project manager James Chow So-hung.
At least 1,200 shotfirers and 400 tunnel-boring machine operators are expected to be required by 2013.
September 30th, 2010, 05:36 PM
MTR trumpets muffled blasts
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
MTR Corp has adopted a new method to suppress noise and vibrations during tunnelling work for the West Island Line.
Instead of using sandbags and tires to cover the explosives, the 60-meter shaft is filled with water to 1.5 meters deep to contain the blasting shocks.
The shaft is in the King George V Memorial Park above the future station at Sai Ying Pun.
"It is the first time for Hong Kong to have water as the blast ballast in a vertical construction shaft," senior construction engineer Walter Lam Wai-tak said.
"This new technology can significantly reduce noise and vibration caused by the blasting in the densely populated district."
Lam said it costs about the same as the conventional means for constructing the four- stop West Island Line, which extends the existing Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town.
"We usually measure the disturbance of vibration caused by blasting in terms of particle velocity," said Yang Jun, an earthquake geotechnical engineering assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong.
"The corporation must have adopted a stringent standard on controlling noise and vibration levels at a site that is surrounded by residential blocks."
The underground blasting in the park began in early August and is expected to finish next month.
Explosions are expected two or three times a week.
To further reduce the nuisance to the district, Lam said the whole process is carried out inside a HK$10 million enclosure that can reduce noise by 30 decibels.
A resident surnamed Lee, who lives in Ko Nga Court next to the site, said the two- second blasting is hardly noticeable.
"I only feel a minor vibration when it takes place early in the morning," she said.
MTRC construction engineer Anson Cheung Chun-hoo said the corporation studied examples in Britain and South Africa, and may apply the same method to other work if it needs to vertically blast through solid rock such as granite.
Last year the Executive Council approved HK$15.4 billion for the Island Line extension, which is due to be completed in 2014.
November 5th, 2010, 04:55 AM
Changing faces, changing fortune
2 November 2010
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition
Located west of Central and in between Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town, Sai Ying Pun is one of the oldest parts of Hong Kong Island - and one of the most rapidly changing. Martine Beale reports.
Sai in Cantonese means "west" and Ying Pun means "military camp". In all probability the name Sai Ying Pun derives from a fortification set up by notorious pirate Chang Po Tsai around 1806. It also relates to the encampment set up by the British Military in 1841.
It was the British Military together with Bengali volunteers and Chinese immigrants who constructed an intelligent grid pattern of roads, as well as sewage systems and some of its buildings.
During construction, a lack of shelter and desperation to protect against the elements meant that dug-out trenches and open-land fast filled with rain-water, something that became a perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and malaria. As the population grew and sanitation remained poor diseases were commonplace and widespread. The area was hit by an epidemic of small pox in 1888 and the Bubonic Plague in 1894.
In the 1940s, the Japanese launched heavy bomb attacks leaving many people dead. In short, Sai Ying Pun was then one of the most unhealthy and unsafe places to live in.
"In those childhood days we used to play in the King George V Memorial Park and would often tell each other that we were playing on the bones of the dead," Patrick says.
The man who was born and raised in the area works in the Sai Ying Pun Market Complex. "Many soldiers were buried there. We were really scared of that spooky building which we called a 'crazy people's house' full of ghosts. No one would dare step into it," Patrick reminisces.
The building he talks about has come to be known as the Sai Ying Pun Community Complex which is located on High Street and the corner of Eastern Street. Constructed in 1891, the only surviving features of its haunted past are its granite facade and arched verandas.
Near the building is a slope that runs right down from Bonham Road to Connaught Road near the harbor-front. "Eastern Street used to have lots of old squatter shops selling all sorts of stuff like brooms made from old coconut shells," Patrick says.
Hints of changes are broad and clear. Centre Street, that runs parallel to Eastern Street will soon have an escalator much like the one in Central and it will join the other side of an escalator at Sai Ying Pun Market, and run from Third Street up the hill to Bonham Road.
"Back in the 70s Centre Street was lined with Dai Pai Dongs and coffee shops. It was really unusual to see any foreigners then. They didn't live around here. But that's all changed. In fact, I would say it is the biggest change," he says.
Brooke, a native of the US's New Mexico and her English husband moved to Sai Ying Pun two years ago. They live in a row of old terrace houses in Tak Sing Lane. "The plans to the building say it was rebuilt in 1950, but I think it's older, maybe 1920s or 30s," she tells me.
"After we got it, it took a year to renovate. I knew I wanted to keep the old facade and style because it's so unusual, and adds character. I love my house, and it's my home."
Not only the house, Brooke has also fallen in love with the area. "Sai Ying Pun was a military camp when the streets were perfectly aligned. So I can see the whole of IFC Tower when looking down Second Street towards Central and the harbor when I gaze down Centre Street. I guess once the MTR is built, we'll see more little shops."
Scheduled to open in 2014, construction for the MTR's West Island Line has commandeered part of the King George V Memorial Park for tunneling, and several more sites have been set up for ventilation shafts, entrances, and the storage of construction equipment. It is having a vast, and fast, impact on the area.
Just over two years ago Kerry Properties cleared several blocks along Second Street to make way for two huge apartment blocks. Comprised of 488 residential units with three top floor duplexes, and a clubhouse, Island Crest has brought loads of luxury to the area.
Queens Road has had three enormous construction sites in separate locations. And more recently, an entire row of old Chinese style houses, some of which date back to 1909, located just off Centre Street in Yu Lok Lane, were demolished by the Urban Renewal Authority. And there are plenty more empty blocks waiting to be torn down.
"Construction in the area is going on in full swing," says property consultant Linda Lau. "The prices have skyrocketed over the past two years, and that's due largely to the upcoming MTR."
"When it comes to buying property, it's always going to be the older locals who get there first", she says. "But they sell it fast and make a quick profit. We call them 'chau-gah' or 'quick-fry investors'. Expats usually prefer older buildings which they renovate and wait for buyers, chiefly property developers or the government. Prices will keep rising."
Jasper Wong from the Above Second Gallery agrees. "MTR will definitely benefit the area, but at the same time rent costs higher. And that's certainly a huge deterrent for people like us," he says.
The gallery moved to the area in February this year because it was a cheaper proposition than Central. "We also felt that Central and Sheung Wan were too heavily saturated with galleries that only displayed mainland art and made no effort to promote local emerging artists".
Des Vouex Road West is lined with myriad shops selling dried stuff, and the streets running off it have long been dotted with small, independent shops selling everything from fresh meats, vegetables and noodles, to dried and tinned goods, as well as those that sell Indian, Thai and Philipino products.
Now a new breed is starting to move in, like the MiniMart, which opened on Third Street in February this year. "I really love the friendly vibe and old ambience in this place," says owner Brian Chung. "My customers can park right outside the shop. Rent here is also much cheaper than in Wan Chai or Happy Valley".
A small Spanish delicatessen specializing in dried meats, Pata Negra House opened in July on Second Street. Manager Tristan Saintraymond explains lower rents were also an attraction. "The area also has a history of dried foods and meats. We get more local customers than westerners, but maybe that will change as Island Crest becomes more crowded."
No bars or trendy new restaurants have yet moved into the area but as the area becomes more gentrified, with new residential buildings, galleries and specialist shops that will no doubt attract a more moneyed crowd, that's likely to happen very soon.
Besides, we've seen SoHo deflate and NoHo become so-so. Now all eyes are turning west to Sai Ying Pun, and the next big thing; WoHo.
March 12th, 2011, 04:42 PM
Blend of East meets West lures new breed
Sheung Wan remade by rapid gentrification
9 March 2011
South China Morning Post
Living in Sheung Wan for more than two decades, Karen Lee Ka-man witnessed its gradual gentrification from an old residential district into one of fashionable offices and eateries.
"I have seen the old housing blocks that were occupied mainly by locals being renovated and coffee shops and Western gourmet restaurants opening up all over the district. The character of the area has changed," she said.
Lee, who lived in the area for most of her 29 years, said the changes had not all been for the better. "It was a district with distinctive old architecture in which lived mainly local people. Now it's more commercial, with more serviced apartments, boutique hotels and Western restaurants, which have attracted more expatriates and young people."
The price of this progress was that Sheung Wan had become more crowded, polluted and costly to live in, she said, so she and her retired parents decided to move to Tseung Kwan O three years ago.
The family sold their Sheung Wan flat at that time for about HK$4 million, which was nearly triple what they paid for it two decades earlier, Lee said. It was now valued at closer to HK$5 million.
Located between Sai Ying Pun and Central, Sheung Wan is close to the expensive residential area of Mid-Levels and is benefitting from its proximity to the upmarket area.
Redevelopment in the district has transformed many tenement buildings into boutique hotels and luxury flats, among which is the Hotel de EDGE by Rhombus on Connaught Road West, scheduled to open in the middle of this month.
"The renovations and redevelopment have boosted the quality and value of the flats there," Midland Realty Mid-Levels sales director Patrick Fung Kim-chiu said.
Fung said that before 1997, buyers showed only lukewarm interest in flats in the walk-up tenement buildings in the area and they were priced up to 40 per cent lower than flats in buildings with a lift. Now they sold at similar prices.
"The upgrading of the area has attracted some quality residents, including expatriates, to move in," he said. "There is also demand from those whose flats have been sold to developers for redevelopment, as they like the neighbourhood."
Alan Lo Yeung-kit, co-founder and executive director of development company Blake's, said Sheung Wan had turned into the city's unofficial art and culture hub, which attracted his company to acquire a building at the west end of Hollywood Road and turn it into an upscale residential development.
The flats in the TwoTwoSix project sold for HK$14,759 to HK$18,359 per square foot at the end of last year, which was a record high for western Sheung Wan, he said.
Also attracted to the area by its blend of East meets West and old and modern was street artist Dom Chan, co-founder of two-member art crew Start From Zero, which opened its first store selling streetwear and exhibiting art in quiet Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, in December.
"At first we were thinking about premises in Central but the rent there was too expensive," Chan said. He could save about one-third on rent by choosing a spot in Sheung Wan instead.
He pays nearly HK$14,000 a month to rent the 400 sq ft Sheung Wan store.
He appreciated the variety of things the district offered, citing Hollywood Road as an example of the area's eclectic mix, with shops selling coffins, paintings and antiques.
Simon Lo Wing-fai, director of research and advisory at property agency Colliers International, said local retailers were facing greater competition for retail space because of rising inflation and aggressive rent increases.
"As a result, they are migrating to second-tier locations in key shopping districts from core shopping areas," he said.
Data from the firm shows average rents for ground-floor shops in core shopping areas such as Central, Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui increased by 5.3 per cent in the final quarter of last year.
Lo said the sharp increase in store rents was due to double-digit growth in retail sales and leasing demand from international brand names.
Given sustained economic growth and an anticipated increase in inbound visitors, he expects rents for ground-floor shops in traditional shopping districts to rise a further 20 per cent over the next 12 months.
March 19th, 2011, 05:53 PM
Flavours of the west end
Reasonable rents and the upcoming extension of the MTR are turning Kennedy Town into a prime area for pioneering restaurateurs
17 March 2011
South China Morning Post
Until a couple of years ago, Kennedy Town was a neighbourhood that resisted gentrification. The dining choices were mostly Cantonese restaurants, noodle and siu mei [roast meat] shops and cha chaan teng.
However, upmarket new residential developments such as the Merton and Manhattan Heights, and news that the MTR West Island line is to pass through the district, has led an influx of new restaurants, particularly on Davis Street, near the Kennedy Town Praya and the Davis Street Garden.
Marc Mostacci, for instance, opened Italian restaurant Zig Zag on Davis Street two years ago. Also owner of the Beach Club in Stanley, Mostacci says he was drawn to the neighbourhood because of the water. "There's the sea - the Beach Club is also on top of the beach. And I like space."
The Beach Club is known for its thin-crusted pizza, and Mostacci sticks to the winning formula, serving the same menu at Zig Zag. They make their own dough, use fresh tomatoes for their sauce, and top the pizza with three different cheeses - mozzarella, asiago and parmesan, imported weekly from Italy, along with fresh basil from Thailand.
The 64-year-old Frenchman says the relatively low rent on Davis Street allows him to maintain a high quality by making almost everything in-house, except for the cheese fondue, which is imported from Switzerland.
"There's a market for Western-style restaurants, but those you find in Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo are very expensive. Here, customers spend on average HK$150, and 95 per cent of my customers are regulars."
The street has attracted other small, self-owned food and beverage businesses, rather than fast food franchises and places opened by restaurant groups. They include Harbour Restaurant, which serves Chinese seafood, several pubs such as The Pier, and a small hole-in-the-wall pizza place, Pizza Q.
Chef and restaurateur David Lai is the newest kid on the block, with his French bistro, Bistronomique, which he opened in January.
Lai was attracted to Davis Street because "it's a real neighbourhood with unique character. We like to be where we have regular customers; here, we get a lot of people who live in the neighbourhood, and customers living in Pok Fu Lam or Cyberport, where there are virtually no restaurants of this type," he says. "Business-wise, it makes a lot of sense because it's quite wide open in terms of supply and demand."
Lai says that it wasn't just the relatively low rent that attracted him to Davis Street; he also likes it because the neighbourhood isn't well known.
"If you're not in an independent area, you don't get the good customers," says Lai, who also owns the two-year-old On Lot 10 on Gough Street.
"People go to Lan Kwai Fong to get drunk, have some snacks on the street and watch people. Same as on Wyndham Street. In SoHo, you have Greek, Italian and French restaurants, but they're all fake. They [only] have good interior designers."
Bistronomique is basic and relaxed, decorated with white tablecloths, beige chairs and wooden wall panels, and with a menu of casual bistro fare. Lai, who worked at fine-dining restaurants in San Francisco and Monaco (including Alain Ducasse's Michelin three-star Le Louis XV), says he's not attempting to reinvent dishes, but updating classics.
"There used to be a time when you mentioned French food and people would think about fine-dining and of 10-course, fancy presentations, silver platters and so on. But the format of fine dining at very expensive hotels doesn't make much sense any more.
"Most of my cooks are trained in fine dining, and I worked for Alain Ducasse for seven years, so we have the techniques and the good products to make similar food. But we're able to do it in a casual atmosphere with simpler presentation, which keeps the food real and the prices low."
Lai sources ingredients through daily visits to the wet market, where he's established relationships with fish vendors who save him the freshest of local catches. As at On Lot 10, the Bistronomique chefs make rabbit rillettes, blood sausage and other hearty dishes, including tÍte de cochon - a large "sausage" of tongue, ears, cheek meat and other "parts" of a pig's head which is cooked and chilled, then sliced and pan-fried before being served with sauce gribiche - a cold egg and herb sauce. "These are very traditional dishes," Lai says. "A lot of places are too lazy to make them or don't know how to make them. At a lot of French [restaurants] all they make is steak with fries or mussels with white wine - these dishes take no work, they don't take any technique."
Steps away from Bistronomique is Xiao Tian Gu, a hip and casual place that serves traditional Chinese desserts with a Japanese touch. Actress-turned-restaurateur Jo Kuk Cho-lam opened Xiao Tian Gu two years ago, following the success of the first branch on School Street in Tai Hang.
Kuk is proud of her steamed milk and egg white pudding. She uses Hokkaido milk for a stronger taste and smoother texture. Her other tong shui are made the old-fashioned way. "We make our sweet soups using the oldest methods. We grind our own black sesame, almonds and cashews, and do everything in-house. We've tried making the [nut] pastes by using [prepared] powder but can't bear [the taste] so we stick to doing it the old way. I'm grateful my staff would rather do the work than sacrifice quality to price."
While she thinks that Davis Street's laid-back environment makes it a great place for families, Kuk anticipates a more vibrant feel when the MTR Island line extends to Kennedy Town in a few years.
"The district has potential, but the challenge now is that most customers are from the neighbourhood. Competition may bring more people here. Davis Street is a bit like SoHo at the start: people knew Lan Kwai Fong well, but had no idea what was on offer a little farther away."
May 10th, 2011, 05:37 PM
Kennedy Town Swimming Pool
May 21st, 2011, 07:25 AM
Kennedy Town Swimming Pool to open for public use
Monday, May 9, 2011
Government Press Release
The new Kennedy Town Swimming Pool will be partially open for public use starting from May 11 (Wednesday). Under the management of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the public are welcome to come and enjoy the fun of swimming.
To facilitate the construction of the West Island Line, the old Kennedy Town Swimming Pool was demolished and the new swimming pool complex built at No 2 Sai Cheung Street North in Kennedy Town, next to Belcher Bay Park. The new site is accessible by bus, mini-bus or tram.
Occupying an area of about 0.8 hectare, the construction of the new swimming pool complex involves two phases. The first phase of the works – the construction of an outdoor secondary pool and leisure pool – has been completed and the facilities will be open for public use from this Wednesday. The second phase of the works, scheduled to be completed in 2016, will include the provision of a multi-purpose pool, a teaching pool and a jacuzzi.
The new complex is uniquely designed so that the public can enjoy a fabulous view of Victoria Harbour from the swimming pool.
The pool is open daily from 6.30am to 10pm in three sessions during the summer (from April to October). It is closed between 10am and 5pm every Wednesday for weekly cleansing, and reopens at 6pm on the same day.
For details on the pool, please visit the department's website (www.lcsd.gov.hk) or call our pool staff at 2817 7973 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 2817 7973 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
The LCSD urges swimmers to keep public swimming pools clean and hygienic while they are having fun. If swimmers feel unwell, they should not swim. They are advised to use the toilet before swimming and not urinate or defecate in the pools. They should leave the water immediately and use the toilet if they want to vomit. They should wear clean swimsuits. Before entering the pool deck, swimmers should shower in the changing room, and walk through the shower bath and footbath.
February 5th, 2012, 05:53 PM
189 Queen's Road West
Scheduled Occupancy - Q4 2012
1 Tower of 32 stories from 6-42/F, skipping 13, 14, 24, 34/F
March 31st, 2012, 03:41 PM
Soho 189 by fatshe on 3/31 :