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Old June 15th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #141
hkskyline
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More skyscraper(s) likely coming after the successful auction of the plot next door.

SHKP $5.56b wins West Kowloon site
Hong Kong Standard
13 June 2007
The Standard

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) bagged a prime seaview site in West Kowloon for HK$5.56 billion as it threw caution to the wind amid sluggish bidding from developers concerned about the high reserve price and the prospect of a judicial review related to the site.

The price was 32 percent above the opening bid of HK$4.2 billion, but was at the lower end of market estimates.

This was despite the Hoi Fai Road site offering a sea view, unlike another West Kowloon site, at Yan Cheung Road, which sold last month for HK$4 billion or 54 percent above the opening bid.

In terms of accommodation value the Hoi Fai Road site, which was triggered for auction last month by Wheelock Properties (0049), stood at HK$6,066 per square foot, lower than the Yan Cheung Road site at HK$6,147 psf.

An SHKP spokeswoman confirmed it had won the site as sole bidder but could not offer details such as the total investment required.

Developers had mixed views of the final bid, with Peter Woo Kwong-ching, chairman of Wheelock Properties (0049), saying it was a good market price, while Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) deputy chairman Victor Li Tzar- kuoi commenting that it was quite high.

``The price is within expectation, although maybe at the lower range,'' said auctioneer Chris Mills, the Lands Department assistant director.

He declined to comment on whether a judicial review application filed Monday by a Sham Shui Po resident had affected the sentiment of developers. The writ accuses the Town Planning Board and Lands Department of not following guidelines to promote health and welfare during planning and urged the rezoning of the plot.

``Bidders would have factored it in the bids if they saw any justifications or risks attached because of the judicial review,'' Mills said.

The Lands Department also warned potential bidders before the auction that the Town Planning Board had received an application to lower the plot ratio for the domestic portion from 6.5 to 5 and to impose a height restriction on part of the site to allow better ventilation.

The plot, sandwiched between One Silversea and The Long Beach, has a site area of 122,204 sq ft and provides a total gross floor area of 916,522 sq ft, of which 794,319 sq ft is residential.

``The result ... was at the lower end of market expectations, mainly due to the recent legal issues,'' said Tony Chan Tung-ngok, executive director at Vigers Appraisal and Consulting.

Centaline Property Agency research department associate director Wong Leung-sing reckoned the opening bid price was already very high, with reference to existing secondary market prices in the area.

``They are already very brave to go to this [final] price,'' said Wong, noting the very tight site, limited seaview and the possible judicial review.

Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tsz-pun said the final price was about right as it was similar in accommodation value to the Yan Cheung site.

Lam noted it was 11 percent higher than two inland West Kowloon sites sold in September 2005 at an accommodation value of about HK$5,400 psf.

Midland Realty sales director for Kowloon Jeffrey Wai Man-chun said the accommodation value of HK$6,066 psf was about 20 to 30 percent higher than prevailing secondary market prices at Olympic station and would allow prices in West Kowloon to consolidate.

Wai believes SHKP could sell the units at between HK$9,000 and HK$10,000 psf.

Cheung Kong deputy chief manager for sales Francis Wong See-chung said Tuesday, in expectation of a good auction result, the developer would revise upwards its indicative selling price for the initial batch of units for its upscale Celestial Heights project at Ho Man Tin from HK$13,000 psf to more than HK$14,000. The project is awaiting pre-sale approval.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:23 AM   #142
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Review sought on sale eve
12 June 2007
Hong Kong Standard

A Sham Shui Po resident has filed an application for a judicial review in the High Court against the Town Planning Board and the government concerning the possible building of a skyscraper in a Tai Kok Tsui plot _ a day before the site is to be auctioned.

However, a spokeswoman for the Lands Department said the auction will take place today as scheduled, while surveyors queried the timing of the last- minute application.

The application was made Monday by Ng Au-chai, believed to be in his 70s, a self-proclaimed West Kowloon resident who refused to spell out his age, occupation or address.

According to sources in possession of the writ, Ng is a resident of Fu Cheung Estate in Sham Shui Po.

The writ accuses the government of not following guidelines with regard to high-rise buildings, citing a non- binding section of the Town Planning Ordinance which urges the Town Planning Board to promote health, general welfare and the safety of the community when granting development permission. Ng was urging the board and the department to reconsider the plot's landzone use and to take into account the skyscrapers next to the site when determining its use.

``The building of skyscrapers would be like a hill, creating further screening and worsen air pollution in Tai Kok Tsui. This is the gradual homicide of people living there,'' Ng said, stating he was concerned as he is a frequent visitor to Tai Kok Tsui.

On whether he knew what exactly he was doing, or how great the impact would be should another skyscraper be built next to the existing buildings, Ng refused to comment and diverted questions to Democratic Party Yau Tsim Mong district councillor Lam Ho- yeung.

Lam, who assisted Ng in his legal procedure, stressed the last-minute filing of the writ was the result of legal advice which was late in coming. He said Ng had approached the party himself and asked for help.

Citing the words of judges, Lam said the High Court would take five to seven days to review the application before deciding on whether or not to accept the application. He also declined to say who would fund Ng in the lawsuit should the application be accepted.

Solicitor Daniel Wong Kwok-tung accused those assisting the applicant of not genuinely wanting to solve a problem. ``This is such a gutless move. Why put an old man in the spotlight at the last minute when one could have easily filed the objections earlier?'' Wong asked.

He said the ambiguity of the ordinance cited in the writ means the applicant can interpret it whichever way he wants.

A Lands Department spokeswoman said developers would be reminded before entry to the auction that a judicial review application on the concerned site has been filed.

The plot on Hoi Fai Road adjacent to One SilverSea has a site area of 122,204 square feet and offers a total gross floor area of 916,522 square feet, of which 794,319 square feet is for residential use. Analysts expect the plot could fetch as much as HK$6.2 billion.

General practice surveyors said it was the first time they had heard of such a move to stop a land sale.

Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors past-president Tony Tse Wai-chuen said time was needed before a judge could decide on the case.

``One will have to see how strong is the justification,'' Tse added. He noted the conditions of sale have been available to the public for at least a month. ``Timing wise, do they really need to wait until the last moment?'' Tse asked.

Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tsz-pun reckoned there would not be any adverse effect on the property market if the auction were postponed as this was an independent and isolated case.

He estimated the site could go under the hammer for HK$5.6 billion, or 33 percent above the opening price of HK$4.2 billion.

The site was the subject of several failed applications to the Town Planning Board in 2003 and 2005 to amend the zoning from residential use to ``open space'' or ``government, institution or community'' use.

The latest saga follows another high- profile judicial review case that started in 2004 when elderly housing estate resident Lo Siu-lang filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against The Link REIT's privatization of car parks and shopping malls in public housing estates under the Housing Authority.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 07:49 AM   #143
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