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Old February 27th, 2011, 02:33 AM   #21
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Old February 27th, 2011, 02:33 AM   #22
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Old February 27th, 2011, 02:34 AM   #23
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Old March 1st, 2011, 04:03 PM   #24
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Hmm ... looks like a mix of Kowloon Bay and Fotan coming their way.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 02:20 PM   #25
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Warehouse district develops in style
13 March 2011
SCMP

Ageing warehouses, petrol stations and delivery trucks lined up outside garage doors typify the facade of downtown Wong Chuk Hang.

The main drag - a stone's throw from Aberdeen and Ocean Park and skirting the island's prestigious Southside - is not widely known as a lifestyle destination.

Yet there is a slow but sure change under way, thanks to the impending arrival of an MTR station (due for completion in 2016), Central's rising rents and lack of space.

Already, a steady arrival of lifestyle-centric small businesses - art galleries and studios, design and wine stores, homewares and fashion designers in need of space, cheaper rents and display areas - are taking early advantage of loft-style spaces, proximity to upmarket suburbs and a 10- to 15-minute drive to Central.

"The area is quite hot" for this kind of business, says Willis Mak Tze-hing, senior director of investment services for Colliers International, primarily because of the warehouse atmosphere, tourist areas such as Repulse Bay on its doorstep and the upcoming MTR station. "I definitely see the creative aspect of it growing. But, it will be gradual."

As in other cities, decrepit warehouse districts close to the city centre (New York's Meat Packing district, for example) provide an aesthetically antiquated, open and bright atmosphere ripe for renovation and artistic innovation. In turn, they become a hot spot for designers, artists, studios, quirky gift stores and eventually, inspired dining establishments.

Closer to 2016, Mak says food and beverage outlets will be introduced to Wong Chuk Hang, further attracting deeper pockets within Southside's residential areas.

"I think Stanley [a major tourist destination known for shopping and dining] may suffer," he says. Stanley is another 15- to 20-minute bus ride away and will not be on the MTR line.

Mak says many developers such as Swire Properties and Sun Hung Kai Properties are taking a wait-and-see approach until rents increase.

For now, new tenants are simply taking advantage of space at a better price and the knowledge they are creating a "destination" known for its creative elements. "Large spaces, lower rents and less direct competition allow business owners in Wong Chuk Hang more room for creativity and to take interesting risks to push their business concepts," says Heather Thomas Shalabi, co-director of Flex Studio, a health and fitness centre that also sells leisure wear brand Tulaa. Flex opened there late last year after spending five years in Stanley.

"Businesses [in Wong Chuk Hang] can expand in ways they would be unable to in Central. The strategic location straddling major residential areas is really proving to be an asset," she says.

"Being here, we find we still get people from Southside, but can also tap into Pok Fu Lam and The Peak. And because business owners here are staking out new territory, we benefit from the synergy of being in the same neighbourhood."

Eventually, she adds, when more consumer-related operations are introduced to complement the MTR, restaurateurs will move in.

A similar "creative centre" vision is shared by Paul Fung, director of modern Scandinavian furniture design company Manks Ltd, which opened a showroom in the area in January. "A loft environment is suitable for showing off the design furniture and lighting we offer," says Fung. "We also wanted to reflect the cheaper rent here by lowering the price of our pieces compared to stores in prime commercial neighbourhoods.

"We can see this area transforming into quite a trendy district in a few year's time."

Elsewhere, Burnt Oringe - a green certified, fine linen supplier and retailer - opened its showroom in Wong Chuk Hang in April last year. Owner Tarynn Hatton-Jones had looked in Central and was put off by the cost.

"We were looking for fabulous space at reasonable expense," says Hatton-Jones. "Our aim was to find a showroom with optimal natural light to accentuate our product ... and moving into Central would have forced us to increase our retail costs."

Also opened late last year is Mirth Home, selling homewares, gifts and children's items.

"Hong Kong has so few areas where you can get big open-plan spaces with lots of natural light and oozing with character. Stores in Hong Kong often have great products, but because the space is so small, it's difficult to show them off," says co-owner Kylie Platt.

"In the great cities of the world, there is an industrial area that has turned into retail/residential areas and we see Wong Chuk Hang has the most going for it; surrounded by residential and cool buildings to boot."

Clinton Mong, owner of home decorative accessories store and gallery, Simply Decor, says he positioned his business as an outlet-style gallery and needed space for display.

"A 2,400 sq ft shop in Central or a mall would cost a fortune," he says. "And Wong Chuk Hang is one of the areas in Hong Kong with a lot of middle- to upper-class residents."

According to Colliers' Mak, the asking price in Central ranges from HK$30,000 to HK$150,000 per square foot compared with HK$6,300 to HK$8,000 in Wong Chuk Hang.

Mong says clients tell him the studio is more convenient for them than nearby Ap Lei Chau.

Elsewhere, Mimi Gradel, the director of Blindspot Gallery - a small gallery space in Central - has recently opened Blindspot Annex. "Wong Chuk Hang is a convenient location compared with other industrial areas such as Kwun Tong. I hope we can eventually build a little arts hub [here]. I do hear some art institutions looking around already."

Contributing to this artistic image of the area is the building The Factory, which offers workshop space (Manks takes up a whole floor within it and Simply Decor is also a tenant). Developed by K. Wah Real Estate, The Factory is the first visibly artistic building, thanks to its eye-popping comic book-style fa?ade designed by Italian comic artist Mauro Marchesi.

Not everyone is as enthusiastic yet, however. Lau Chun-king, international director and head of valuation advisory services at Jones Lang LaSalle, says it is early days to predict if Wong Chuk Hang will become a thriving retail area.

"Upon the availability of the MTR services, Wong Chuk Hang is expected to become a more vibrant location to do business. Various new redevelopments would also be completed by then, which will bring in more opportunities," says Lau.

"[However] we are not aware of consumer-based businesses moving into Wong Chuk Hang at the moment," he says, although conceding that there have been "some increases in population due to some new developments."

Those there now will have to wait for associated consumer operations (food and beverage, for example) to join them. "As more retail outlets open, I think [the area] will have less of an industrial feel," says Nicole Darragh, owner of children's clothing business Hip Little Bubba, which opened there in April last year.

"With the opening of L'hotel [last year by Chinachem] and similar businesses, I believe this is an up-and-coming area."
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Old March 15th, 2011, 03:20 PM   #26
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No doubt the MTR is going to change Wong Chuk Hang, not just because business and tourists into the area easier, but it is going to have another 4,700 units of flats over the Wong Chuk Hang Depot bringing even more people into the area.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 08:54 PM   #27
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Cool project!
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:25 AM   #28
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There just aren't too many English news or information with this local project, so every little bit helps even in Chinese.
Feel free to Google Translate the article if you are interested to understand, but can't read Chinese.


黃竹坑轉型港島新商廈區
(星島)2011年3月25日 星期五 05:30
(綜合報道)

(星島日報 報道)政府活化工廈方案,及南港島線 鐵路發展,令傳統工業區黃竹坑,近期出現翻天覆地的變化,多家財團因應形勢,均紛紛放棄在黃竹坑工貿區內發展酒店,將「轉軚」作寫字樓發展;料全區將「升呢」為新晉商業區,令區內變天。

  地產界人士指,掌握先機的發展商,在早前一度紛紛將旗下項目,擬作酒店發展,但近來已紛轉軚。

  據本報所獲得的區議會 文件顯示,黃竹坑工貿區過去有十四個用地,獲批酒店發展方案,惟發展商多年來遲遲未有動工,當中有六個項目更延至酒店規劃許可失效,至今區內新落成的酒店項目,只有華懋 旗下南灣海景酒店,此外大生地產香葉道四十三號的酒店項目完成補地價,相信亦將作酒店發展,除此以外,不少項目更已補地價落成作商廈發展。

  現時區內已有七家財團,包括恒基、協成行、香港興業 、新地、和黃、太古及會德豐 ,放棄已批出的酒店規劃,當中恒基、協成行及會德豐等,更先後拍板轉作商廈。計及現時已批作商廈及若果放棄興建作酒店的項目,均改建為商廈,料將提供達二百五十八萬方呎樓面。

  當中區內新型的商廈項目為會德豐黃竹坑香葉道二號甲廈One Island South,此外,協成行與恒基合作的發展的黃竹坑道十九號至二十一號商業項目,則已達成補地價協議,恒基執行董事黃浩明表示,項目已決定轉作寫字樓發展,早前亦已完成補價,對於棄酒店轉攻商廈計畫,黃氏稱,鐵路效應屬主要因素。

  六酒店項目規劃過期

  至於其他多個已放棄酒店發展項目中,亦有發展商已放棄發展酒店而轉攻商廈。當中協成行集團旗下黃竹坑好景大廈,地盤面積逾一萬六千方呎,總樓面近二十五萬方呎,發展商去年已透露研究申請改作商廈,而項目早前已獲批的酒店發展方案,亦已失效。

  另一間大型發展商亦表示,隨著區內交通改善,轉型作商業或商貿用途回報較酒店更佳,相反若發展為酒店,則回本期較長,亦需要與酒店業合作,故旗下於區內的工廈已放棄發展為酒店。

  發展商:轉型商廈回報高

  現時尚有四個項目獲批出酒店的發展許可尚未到期。當中香港經貿商會會長李秀恒旗下集團持有的黃竹坑道偉晉中心,項目的酒店發展許可將於一三年到期,李氏表示,工廈現正作出租用,暫未考慮是否補地價轉為商業用途,打算觀望待港鐵通車後再作安排。

  韋堅信測量師行董事林晉超表示,隨著港鐵港島南線落實發展,發展商近年再次評估黃竹坑工貿區轉型作酒店時,相信會重新考慮。他指出,由於改作酒店發展未必可以發揮到工廈轉型的最大效益,而在鐵路概念下,南區由於交通即將得以改善,為商廈帶來較大市場,回本期快加上較容易有合理回報,令發展商紛紛考慮轉型。

http://hk.news.yahoo.com/article/110324/3/nfrj.html
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:26 AM   #29
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鐵路帶動廠區變天
(星島)2011年3月25日 星期五 05:30
(綜合報道)

(星島日報 報道)鐵路系統仿似是經濟的「輸血管」,隨著未來南港島線 通車效應下,過往作為傳統工業區的黃竹坑,區內已出現翻天覆地的變化,陸續轉變成商業地帶,變新晉商業區。而一眾發展商亦早著先機,除率先「插旗」外,更積極將旗下工廈,轉變成甲級商廈推出市場。

  在鐵路網絡帶動下,近年黃竹坑區已逐漸由工業區,轉變成新晉的商貿區,而發展商及財團亦看準商機,積極將旗下工廈轉型,其中會德豐地產 於同區的甲廈One Island South,就是其中一個工廈轉型的最新例子,該廈近期以分層形式推出市場發售,至今就迅即售出逾二十一層樓面,平均呎價逾六千二百元,售價媲美觀塘及長沙灣等一線工貿區甲廈。而該廈亦屢錄知名企業及資深投資者購貨,反映看好該區商業物業潛力。

  財團先後「插旗」

  此外,一眾發展商亦早著先機,頻頻在區內「插旗」,其中恒基及協成行位於黃竹坑道十九至二十一號的商業項目,早前亦已完成補地價,金額涉及一億零十八萬元,每方呎約四百七十七元。

  至於長實 的香葉道四十一號項目,早前亦已申請由工廈轉型成商業項目,現獲批建一幢三十六層高的物業,而嘉華位於同區的黃竹坑道三十四號及業發街一號,同樣在去年已完成補地價,把原先的工廈轉變成商業項目,兩廈補價金額合共逾一億二千萬元,樓面呎價逾四百元。

  另外,區內除頻錄發展商把工廈轉型成甲廈外,也不乏精品式酒店推出市場,其中華懋 的南灣海景酒店,於去年亦已正式開業。

http://hk.news.yahoo.com/article/110324/3/nfqo.html
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Old April 1st, 2011, 05:31 PM   #30
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LDAC advised stepping up efforts to revitalise industrial buildings
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Government Press Release

The Land and Development Advisory Committee (LDAC) was briefed on the work progress of the Development Opportunities Office (DOO) under the Development Bureau since its establishment in mid 2009 at its meeting today (March 31). Members have provided views and comments on the implementation of measures to revitalise industrial buildings as well as suggestions on the direction of the ongoing mid-term review on these revitalisation measures.

Members agreed in general that the Government should consider whether it could handle the requirement of retaining the existing building frame more flexibly, including, for example, whether loss of gross floor area during conversion may be compensated by addition to other parts of the building and there should also be incentives for installation of green building design or features through wholesale conversion.

Development Bureau plans to announce results of the review in the second half of this year.

Members also noted that by early March, DOO had handled or was handling 44 land development proposals meeting the eligibility criteria for its services, including 25 projects proposed by non-governmental organisations and 19 projects proposed by private sector.

Members recognised that the work of DOO in the past year was useful in encouraging and facilitating implementation of community or private land development proposals that would bring broader social and economic merits. Successful implementation of these projects would also contribute to Hong Kong's social and economic development and help create jobs.

In today's meeting, the LDAC also considered three land development proposals, including proposed wholesale conversion of an industrial building in Southern District for commercial, arts and creative uses; a church extension project in North District; and development of an out-reaching architectural centre in Central and Western District.

The proposed wholesale conversion project in Southern District, proposed by Hip Shing Hong Development Company Limited, seeks to convert an existing industrial building for various commercial, arts and creative uses such as art studios, training centres, offices and retail shops. The project proponent plans to provide about 1 000 square metres of floor area for youth and graffiti artists. The project proponent also proposes to adopt green building design and features during conversion of the building.

Members supported this wholesale conversion project as it could complement the transformation and regeneration of Wong Chuk Hang. The Committee also welcomed the proposal to provide properly converted floor spaces to support local arts and creative industries. Nevertheless, the Committee did not support the proponent's proposal to make up for the loss in floor area due to the need to provide additional loading/unloading bays in the converted building, as it was not in line with the existing policy on revitalising industrial buildings.

Members also considered a land development project proposed by the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong to extend the St Joseph's Church in Fanling. Apart from preserving the three existing church buildings, which are Grade 3 historic buildings, the project proponent also proposed to extend to the adjoining lot and build a two-storey church building and a three-storey priest quarters to strengthen its services to the congregation in Fanling. The project proponent is prepared to open up the new multi-purpose hall, function rooms and the landscaped open area for community use, where appropriate. The Commissioner for Heritage's Office considered that granting the adjacent lot to the Church for extension was in line with the existing Heritage Conservation Policy, i.e. to provide economic incentives to encourage private owners to preserve existing historic buildings.

Members supported this low-density development project which was compatible with the layout and spatial arrangement of the surrounding area. LDAC also recognised that allowing the proponent to carry out its church extension project at the adjoining lot would encourage preservation of the St Joseph's Church, which is of high heritage value.

The LDAC also gave in-principle support to a proposal by the Hong Kong Architecture Centre Limited to develop an outreaching architecture centre in Central, under the flyover between Connaught Road Central and Rumsey Street. The project proponent is exploring the use of recycled building parts in constructing the proposed centre, which is designed for promoting and educating the public on architecture appreciation. The new centre would also provide an additional cultural tourist attraction, showcasing the characteristics of Hong Kong's townscape.

Members expressed appreciation of the proponent's idea in making use of under-utilised space under the flyovers. They advised that the proponent should explore in greater details various management and operational issues to ensure successful implementation of the proposed project.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 04:27 AM   #31
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Old May 20th, 2011, 04:06 AM   #32
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MTR given two mega plots
The Standard
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wong Chuk Hang




The MTR Corp has been given two plots of land to help offset the HK$17.7 billion cost of two new rail projects - the South Island Line and the Kwun Tong Extension.

Transport Secretary Eva Cheng said the Executive Council had yesterday decided to hand over the sites - seven hectares in Wong Chuk Hang and a 2.6 hectares in the former Valley Road Estate in Ho Man Tin - to compensate the MTRC for having to shoulder the cost of designing, building and running the two lines.

The estimated construction cost for the South Island Line is HK$12.4 billion while the Kwun Tong Extension could reach HK$5.3 billion.

Under the rail plus property model, the MTRC will pay the full market premium (on a green field basis) on the sites and bear all development costs for the property developments. It has also to bear the operation, maintenance and management responsibilities for 50 years.

Both sites will have a lower plot ratio to limit the size and height of the development.

Cheng said it is expected that the MTRC will build 4,700 mostly small- and medium-sized flats in Wong Chuk Hang.

Cheng also said the environmental impact assessments of both sites are "valid and legal."

But since work on the property developments cannot begin until the completion of the railways, the new homes will not be ready until 13 years from now.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat said the government will be disappointed if it expects affordable flats as the MTRC may build luxury apartments instead.

He suggested the government separate the accounts of railway and property developments to increase transparency.

Lawmaker Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, chairman of the Legislative Council's transport panel, said the MTRC is likely to have a substantial financial gain.

In fact, the two plots could fetch as much as HK$7.88 billion if sold in a public land auction today, Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat said.

He said the Wong Chuk Hang plot could be worth HK$6.2 billion and Ho Man Tin HK$1.68 billion, both at an accommodative value of HK$12,000 per square foot.

Last June, Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) bought a site near Ho Man Tin for HK$10.9 billion, or HK$12,500 psf.

The developer said flats on the plot will be sold for at least HK$20,000 psf.

A 600-square-foot flat near the Wong Chuk Hang site is now selling for HK$7,000 to HK$10,000 psf.


The construction of the railways is expected to be completed in 2015.

The seven-kilometer South Island line will run from South Horizons, with Lei Tung, Wong Chuk Hang and Ocean Park stops before connecting to Admiralty.

The time for a commute from South Horizons to Central - now just by road - will be cut from the current 25-45 minutes to 10 minutes and will benefit 350,000 people.


The 2.6-kilometer Kwun Tong Line Extension will connect Yau Ma Tei and Whampoa via Ho Man Tin before connecting to other routes at Mong Kok. This will benefit about 180,000 people.

MTRC chief executive Chow Chung-kwong said the agreements with the government are a key milestone for the two rail projects.

The MTRC expects the two projects will create about 3,500 jobs during construction and 2,260 jobs after the railways start operating.
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 05:06 AM   #33
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LCQ13: Wong Chuk Hang Business Area
Government Press Release
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Following is a question by the Hon Dr Pan Pey-chyou and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 1):

Question:

According to recent media reports, the MTR South Island Line project has commenced, coupled with the launch of the revitalisation of industrial buildings scheme by the Government, a number of private developers have abandoned their original hotel development plans in the Wong Chuk Hang Business Area (WCHBA). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the authorities have conducted any consultation on the development plan for WCHBA; if they have, of the details, including the respective numbers of consultation activities conducted and participants in each activity;

(b) of the number of applications for planning permission in respect of hotel developments on the sites in WCHBA approved by the authorities so far; the total area of the sites concerned, and the percentage of the total area of such sites in the total land area of WCHBA; whether it knows, among these sites, the respective areas of the sites on which hotels have been built and the sites on which hotels will be built within this year, as well as the developers who will convert the land use from hotel purpose to commercial building purpose instead; whether such conversion of land use requires approval from the authorities; if so, of the criteria adopted by the authorities in considering whether to grant approval for such conversion; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether the authorities were inclined to convert the land use of WCHBA to hotel purpose when it initially implemented the revitalisation of industrial buildings scheme in WCHBA; if they were, whether they will review afresh the development direction for WCHBA and consult the public again in this regard as the progress of such revitalisation scheme has been unsatisfactory so far; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

(a) In the process of rezoning the industrial land in Wong Chuk Hang to "Other Specified Uses" annotated "Business" (OU(B)) in 2001, the Town Planning Board (TPB) did conduct consultation in accordance with the statutory and administrative procedures, including displaying relevant amendments to the Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau Outline Zoning Plan (the OZP) for inspection by the public and objection by affected persons, as required by the Town Planning Ordinance (TPO). The Community Building, Culture, Leisure and Tourism Committee of the Southern District Council was also consulted.

Subsequently, in determining building height restrictions for the Wong Chuk Hang Business Area (WCHBA), the TPB agreed that the Planning Department (PlanD) should conduct public consultation. PlanD then launched a two-month public consultation, including public forum, lasting from September to November 2005. During the consultation period, views were also sought from the Southern District Council, the Wong Chuk Hang and Stanley Area Committee, and the Planning Sub-Committee of the Land and Building Advisory Committee. Apart from members of the aforesaid committees, participants of the consultation activities included members of the public who attended the open meetings and public forum. PlanD has not kept statistics on the number of participants. Having considered the views collected, the TPB incorporated the amendments to the building height restrictions into the OZP which was exhibited for public inspection and for representations in accordance with the TPO in 2006. The Planning, Works and Housing Committee of the Southern District Council was also consulted on the amendments.

(b) In 2001, the TPB rezoned the industrial land in Wong Chuk Hang (about 8.3 hectares) from "Industrial" to "OU(B)", with a view to encouraging the conversion or redevelopment of existing industrial buildings and sites into commercial and non-polluting industrial use. Since then, a total of 14 sites (about 1.6 hectares) have been approved by the TPB for hotel development, representing about 19.3% of the land in the WCHBA. Among these 14 sites, seven have had their planning permission lapsed while one had a hotel completed last year. Of the remaining six sites, two have been given consent by the Government for lease modification for hotel development while four have had their lease modified for non-industrial or non-residential uses (excluding hotel). As such, hotels have been built or would be built on three sites with an aggregate area of some 0.37 hectares, representing about 4.5% of the land in the WCHBA. As mentioned above, there were indeed applicants forsaking their hotel development plans after planning permission was granted. It should however be noted that for "OU(B)" zone, TPB approval is required for hotel development, which is a "Column II" use, but not for the construction of commercial buildings for office use. Whether the sites in an "OU(B)" zone will eventually be developed for office building or hotel purpose is a commercial decision up to the developers. As a matter of fact, out of the seven sites which were first approved for hotel development but then had their planning permission lapsed, four have completed procedures for lease modification for non-industrial or non-residential uses (excluding hotel), and have either proceeded with office development or have submitted general building plans for office. For information about the 14 sites, please refer to Annex 1.

(c) The planning intention of zoning the WCHBA as "OU(B)" is for general business use, such as non-polluting industrial, office or other commercial uses, so as to provide greater flexibility in the utilisation of existing industrial and industrial-office buildings in the area, and in the development of new buildings for commercial and non-polluting industrial uses. After rezoning, the industrial area is gradually transforming with the completion of new business buildings and hotels, which is in line with the planning intention. The MTR South Island Line (East) to be completed in 2015 will also promote the redevelopment of industrial buildings in the Wong Chuk Hang area for business use.
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Old July 21st, 2011, 03:52 PM   #34
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LCQ7: Transportation of explosives required for the construction works of the South Island (East) Line
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Patrick Lau and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Yau Shing-mu, at the Legislative Council meeting today (July 6):

Question:

Recently, there was a serious accident in which a dangerous goods vehicle (DGV) overturned on Tai Po Road, paralysing the traffic in the New Territories for seven hours, and some members of the public are concerned about the safety of DGVs. According to the information provided by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), during the construction of the South Island (East) Line, explosives are collected daily by the Mines Division of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (Mines Division), from Kau Shat Wan on Lantau Island, and transported from North Point Pier through busy roads across various districts to the Southern District for delivery to the sites in Wong Chuk Hang first via Deep Water Bay Road, Nam Fung Road, Wong Chuk Hang Road and Nam Long Shan Road, etc., and from the sites in Wong Chuk Hang, the explosives are then transported via Nam Long Shan Road and in Wong Chuk Hang Road, etc. to the temporary explosives magazine site at Chung Hom Shan (Chung Hom Shan Magazine) by 3pm for storage, and from where the explosives are collected twice daily (from 4am to 5am and before 4pm) by MTRCL for transporting via Repulse Bay Road and Wong Chuk Hang Road, etc. to the MTR sites at Nam Fung Road and in Ap Lei Chau for tunnel blasting. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that at present, the Mines Division's daily route for transportation of explosives passes through the MTR sites at Nam Fung Road and in Ap Lei Chau on the way to Chung Hom Shan Magazine, whether it will consider taking the opportunity to deliver explosives to the two sites for use in the blasting operations in the afternoon; if not, of the reasons for that; and whether it has considered arranging the explosives delivery vehicles of the Mines Division to transport explosives directly from the North Point Pier or the sites in Wong Chuk Hang to the aforesaid two MTR sites, so as to avoid respectively transporting the explosives by the explosives delivery vehicles of the Mines Division to Chung Hom Shan Magazine at 3pm daily and then collecting from the Site by the explosives delivery vehicles of MTRCL for transportation to the MTR sites at 4pm, thus avoiding duplication of routes and prolonged transportation time of explosives on the road; if not, of the reasons for that;

(b) given that MTRCL has pointed out that an interval of 10 hours must be maintained between the blasting operations carried out during the daytime and in the evening, and explosives will be delivered to the construction sites only two to three hours before the blasting operations take place, whether it will advise MTRCL to carry out blasting operations at 7am and 5pm to 6pm for compliance with the provision that blasting operations must be completed by 7pm, and make it possible for the timing of the blasting operations carried out in the afternoon to dovetail with the arrangements proposed in (a) that the Mines Division can deliver explosives directly to the aforesaid MTR sites by 3pm daily; if not, of the reasons for that;

(c) given that the traffic in the Stanley area is very busy after 3pm, whether it will consider dovetailing the arrangements proposed in (a) and (b) to cancel the arrangement of explosives transporting from Chung Hom Shan before 4pm, so that vehicles carrying explosives will not need to travel back and forth in the district during the peak hours of traffic; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(d) if the Mines Division is unable to deliver explosives directly to the sites at Nam Fung Road and in Ap Lei Chau, whether it will consider coordinating with MTRCL so that when explosives are delivered to the sites in Wong Chuk Hang by the explosives delivery vehicles arranged by the Mines Division, MTRCL may be allowed to collect the explosives directly there and deliver the explosives to the MTR sites, thus shortening the route for delivery of explosives; if not, of the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

The South Island Line (East) (SIL(E)) is a new rail corridor from South to North of Hong Kong Island. It starts from South Horizons on Ap Lei Chau to Admiralty via Lei Tung, Wong Chuk Hang and Ocean Park. The SIL(E) will serve the 350 000 people living and working in the Southern District. At present, travelling by road-based transport between South Horizons and Admiralty takes about 25 to 45 minutes during rush hours. With the commissioning of the SIL(E), the travelling time from the Southern District to Admiralty will be about ten minutes. This long-awaited railway project has commenced its construction in May 2011 for the completion in 2015.

Part of the SIL(E) will be constructed using the drill and blast method. In fact, the blasting works for railway tunnel construction and site formation is by detonating explosives installed in the drill holes in the rock mass. The air pressure created in the blast breaks the solid rock mass into parts, which can be excavated easier. There is no open flame created in a blast. Sufficient safety measure is also provided.

Based on the SIL(E) works schedule, the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) will carry out one blast a day at the site of Wong Chuk Hang Depot every afternoon for the site formation work; and two blasts a day at the Nam Fung Tunnel and Ap Lei Chau Tunnel sites respectively to match with the tunnel construction programme. Otherwise, the anticipated completion of the project by 2015 will be delayed. The programme of the blasting works is constrained by the limit in the sizes of the cut faces in both tunnels and the preparatory works required for each blast. As a result, the MTRCL cannot reduce the number of blast in both tunnels to once a day by increasing the scale of each blast further.

Our replies to the specific questions are as follows:

(a), (b) and (c) According to the "Dangerous Goods Ordinance" (the Ordinance), it is prohibited to transport explosives in or out of the Government Explosives Depot at Kau Shat Wan, Lantau, or within the Victoria Harbour by sea between sunset and sunrise. Upon arrival at the work sites, the explosives must be installed immediately, and cannot be laid idle at the work sites or on the delivery vehicles.

According to the stringent process for blasting, prior to each blast, there are a number of preparatory works required which includes drilling, installation of explosives, checking, testing, evacuation of staff from tunnel and work site, and establishing protection measures around the blasting zone. After each blast, suitably qualified professionals will enter the work site for inspection, break the rock boulders into smaller pieces mechanically, clear the excavated material in the tunnel, carry out reinforcement work, review the design of the next blast and carry out the preparatory steps abovementioned for the next blast. These procedures will normally take 12 hours to complete, therefore the two blasts carried out at Nam Fung Tunnel and Ap Lei Chau Tunnel will have to be in 12 hour interval. As the time required for the preparatory work varies with a number of factors including the result of the previous blast and the actual ground conditions, it is difficult to accurately predict the time of each blast.

In view that it is difficult to accurately predict the time of each blast and the explosive is not allowed to be laid idle at the work sites according to the Ordinance, it is necessary to set up a temporary magazine at a remote location at Chung Hom Shan (Chung Hom Shan Magazine) for storage and delivery of the explosives, to enable having two blasts a day at the Nam Fung Tunnel and Ap Lei Chau Tunnel according to the Ordinance and to meet the programme of SIL(E). The contractor has a very tight schedule for these necessary steps. When the preparatory work is almost completed, the contractor, as required by the Ordinance, will inform the Chung Hom Shan Magazine and arrange the delivery of the explosives to the work site, such that two blasts can be carried out in a day.

The MTRCL will avoid the delivery of the explosives at morning and evening peak traffic hours. The MTRCL plans the first delivery to be carried out at around 4am to 5am in the mornings so as to meet with the morning blast at around 7am. The second blast is expected to be at around 7pm. To match with the time of the second blast, the explosives will depart the Chung Hom Shan Magazine at around 4pm and arrive at the work sites at around 5pm for the preparation of the blast at around 7pm.

The MTRCL has taken the community's views regarding the delivery time, and will avoid delivery during peak traffic hours. It is expected that the explosive delivery from the Chung Hom Shan Magazine to the Nam Fung Tunnel and Ap Lei Chau Tunnel sites will require only 4 vehicle trips every afternoon. It will not have any significant impact on the traffic along Repulse Bay Road and Chung Hom Kok Road.

As there will be only one blast a day at Wong Chuk Hang Depot site, the MTRCL has requested the contractor arranging the works to match with the schedule of the delivery vehicle from Mines Division of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (Mines Division), so that the explosives can be delivered to the work site directly, without routing to the Chung Hom Shan Magazine.

In fact, the use of explosives for construction in Hong Kong has a long and safe history. The professionals in the industry are also experienced in the application. Record shows that the explosive delivery vehicles have not been involved in any traffic accidents that endangered the explosives, showing that the storage and delivery of explosives have been very safe.

The delivery vehicles must have different compartments to deliver detonator and explosives separately with fire fighting equipment. Drivers of the delivery vehicles are required to complete the fire fighting and explosives handling training and deliver the explosive according to the safe driving procedure. The delivery vehicles and the drivers are also required to be approved by the Mines Division.

The speed limit of delivery vehicles is the same as other vehicles. They must comply with the statutory speed limit. To further enhance safety, the explosives and detonators will be delivered separately in different vehicles.

(d) According to the Ordinance, it is stipulated on the explosive delivery permits that the explosives must be retrieved from a designated storage and transported to a designated location. The destination cannot be altered and the vehicles cannot wait in idle during delivery. The suggestion given in the question that the MTRCL may distribute the explosives to the Nam Fung Tunnel and Ap Lei Chau Tunnel sites when the delivery vehicles of the Mines Division arriving the Wong Chuk Hang site shall also comply with the requirements of "no idle during delivery" and "no idle at work site". As explained in the paragraphs above, it is difficult to accurately predict the time for the second blast, no matter the explosive is delivered by the vehicles of Mines Division direct or is distributed by the MTRCL, the time of delivery is difficult to match with the blasting programme accordingly. Therefore, the explosives for the blasts in Nam Fung Tunnel and Ap Lei Chau Tunnel have to be stored in and delivered from the Chung Hom Shan Magazine.
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Old July 24th, 2013, 04:29 AM   #35
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Second shot on Aberdeen hotels
The Standard
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Prominent businessman Eddy Li Sau-hung plans to turn two industrial buildings in Aberdeen into hotels, providing a total of 342 rooms, Town Planning Board documents show.

An application for redeveloping the two phases of Regency Centre on Wong Chuk Hang Road was yesterday submitted to the board by Ever Success Holdings.

Li, who controls the company, is also president of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Association.

The two hotels are around 20 stories high and rooms will measure 300-400 square feet. The hotels are expected to commence operations in 2016, a year after the area is linked to the MTR.

This is Li's second attempt to turn the same properties into hotels. He did not proceed with a bid in 2009 as that would have required a huge land premium.

Li owns another industrial property in Kwai Chung - The General Garment Building - which will be redeveloped into a Grade-A office project to be dubbed KC100.

About HK$500 million will be invested in that. He hopes to charge rent of HK$28-HK$30 per square foot at KC100.

Li is also building a 500-room hotel on Cha Kwo Ling Road, Yau Tong.
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