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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #1
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HONG KONG | Wing On Life Building Redevelopment | Demo

Chinachem to redevelop ageing office buildings
31 October 2009
South China Morning Post

Chinachem Group has unveiled its biggest development since the death of chairman Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, with proposals to knock down ageing office blocks and replace them with modern accommodation.

Sales manager Ng Shung-mo said the company would spend about HK$1.5 billion redeveloping Wing On Life Building in Central and Asian House in Wan Chai to enhance rental income.

The expansion plan was unveiled as the business community raised concerns over the future of the company's business amid the court battle between Tony Chan Chun-chuen and the Chinachem Charitable Foundation for the late billionaire's estate.

"The lawsuit will not affect our operations and our business is being run as usual," said Ng.

He said the company had received government approval to redevelop Wing On Life Building on Des Voeux Road and Asian House on Hennessy Road.

After the redevelopment, Wing On Life Building's gross floor area will be increased from 50,000 square feet to more than 80,000 sqft. Redevelopment cost will be about HK$500 million.

Asian House, covering 21,000 sqft of site area, will have a gross floor area of about 300,000 sqft. Ng said the estimated redevelopment cost would be more than HK$1 billion.

"We are also considering the redevelopment of Wing On Central, also on Des Voeux Road," he said.

He said the redevelopment would upgrade the firm's commercial property portfolio as it tried to improve the quality of its residential projects.

Agents said Chinachem properties were not as popular as those of other major developers such as Sun Hung Kai Properties, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Sino Land, as buyers had the impression that the quality of its projects was not high.

Ng said the firm understood the problem. "We are making efforts to improve. Take a look at our new projects, such as the phase one development of Le Billionaire in Kowloon City. The construction quality and design are being upgraded," he said.

He said more new projects were in the pipeline, including the second phase of Le Billionaire, which would give home-seekers a better impression. "We will meet the industry's standard," he said.

Desmond Poon Chi-ming, an associate director of consultancy Chartersince Realty (International), said Chinachem's office properties had redevelopment value, especially Asian House. Rents at Asian House were HK$10 to HK$20 per square foot, but would increase.

"In terms of location, the building is comparable to Three Pacific Place built by Swire Properties where rents are HK$70 to HK$80 per square foot."
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