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Old May 23rd, 2007, 06:00 AM   #301
hkskyline
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Nod for URA Wan Chai project
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Town Planning Board has given the green light for a residential development in an old part of southern Wan Chai proposed by the Urban Renewal Authority and estimated to cost HK$10 billion.

The approval, with the gross floor area reduced, will allow the URA to begin work and invite private developers to participate in the long-awaited project through public tender, probably later this year.

"We are preparing to proceed with demolition work, site formation and joint-venture invitation," a spokesman from the URA said Tuesday without outlining a timeline.

Since existing buildings on the 95,800-square-foot site at the junction of Lee Tung Street and McGregor Street have been vacant for five months, the authority is eager to speed up redevelopment to make way for the proposed residential-commercial complex.

Market watchers expect the large- scale project will be put to public tender in the second half. Surveyors estimate total investment of about HK$10 billion, including land costs, construction expenditure, interest and other fees.

According to the approved plan, the gross floor area of the project has been lowered by nearly 6 percent to 835,100 sq ft from 885,300 sq ft.

The number of flats to be built from the proposed 20-story to 40-story four residential blocks has been reduced to 1,313 from 1,415. It will also consist of a 100,000 sq ft shopping arcade and more than 200 parking spaces.

Three existing historical Chinese- styled tenement houses, or tong lau, will be preserved as part of the project.

The project is expected to draw intense interest from private developers in the face of limited prime residential projects in urban areas.

In February, developer Nan Fung Group won a tender for another URA project at 235-245 Queen's Road East in Wan Chai, which offers a maximum gross floor area of 35,200 sq ft of residential and commercial space.

In March, Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) secured a URA tender to redevelop a residential site in Tai Kok Tsui worth HK$1 billion.

Separately, the URA has submitted a revised plan for a 4.3 million sq ft residential-office-retail complex in Kwun Tong to the Town Planning Board.

Covering a site area of 5.3 hectares, regeneration of the Kwun Tong town center will cost more than HK$30 billion, the URA's biggest-ever project.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 06:48 AM   #302
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Lawmakers condemn Urban Renewal Authority over woes of development
27 June 2007
South China Morning Post

Legislators across the political spectrum launched an offensive against the Urban Renewal Authority yesterday. They were particularly angry with the authority's decision to keep the financial information of individual redevelopment projects a secret, despite repeated requests, on the grounds of commercial sensitivity.

Legislators on the planning, lands and works panel also criticised the authority for acting too slowly on redevelopment, forcing people in run-down districts to live in dire conditions. They said it created conflicts between those who lived in the areas and people who had businesses there. They also accused the authority of not being committed to conserving heritage.

They cited the appalling condition of the 800-year-old Nga Tsin Wai village in Wong Tai Sin; the long-awaited Kwun Tong redevelopment; the row between residents and merchants caused by redeveloping part of Sai Yee, Nelson and Fa Yuen streets in Mong Kok - known as "Sneaker Street" for its profusion of sports shoe shops; and the pending demolition of the Bauhaus-style Wan Chai Market.

Deputy secretary for housing, planning and lands Olivia Nip Sai-lan said: "The authority is a player in the property market. How much it earns [in individual projects] has commercial sensitivity."

Albert Ho Chun-yan , chairman of the Democratic Party, said: "The authority [should not] think of making a profit when it is doing its job. Rehousing, compensation and heritage conservation are social duties."

Abraham Razack, of The Alliance, said he had given the Legislative Council financial information on individual projects in the 1990s. He used to head the dissolved Land Development Corporation, the authority's predecessor.

Veteran architect Patrick Lau Sau-shing, also an Alliance member, asked why, if it were committed to heritage conservation, the authority did not take the initiative and talk with developer Chinese Estates Holdings about finding ways to preserve Wan Chai Market.

The authority's executive director, Iris Tam Siu-ying, told the panel: "The contract had been signed and we have to respect the contractual spirit."
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Old June 27th, 2007, 08:19 PM   #303
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A slice of Hong Kong's market magic at risk
15 June 2007
International Herald Tribune

Fair enough, it is hard to match the Rue de Buci in central Paris when it comes to open-air markets. Union Square in New York is a contender, and there is always Covent Garden in London, albeit in a reincarnation that is not at Covent Garden anymore. But if you think of the sheer magic of the marketplace - of the hustle, bustle and satisfaction at the heart of a deal for, say, dried mushrooms, mandarin oranges or a nice, handsome fish head - you simply cannot leave Graham Street in central Hong Kong out of the equation.

This is a scene where past meets present, East meets West and those in search of fresh pak choi, choi sum, lung soo choi and every other kind of choi (which is to say, vegetables) will find such variety and plenitude as to wonder where it all comes from. The answer is simple: practically everywhere.

As to the chatter up and down Graham Street and the narrow lanes around it, you have to classify the mix of Cantonese, Mandarin, English and assorted European tongues under the heading "no known language." For the monolingual Westerner, "yiu," or "I want," comes in handy, even if you cannot master the proper tone; add "ng goi," the Cantonese for "please" and "thanks" all at once, and you are ready to do business.

"It's a unique feature of life in this neighborhood," said Katie Law, who grew up near Graham Street, lives near it now and takes her two children on her forays to teach them the names of things. "It's an attraction, I suppose, but basically it's a functioning market, a way to make a living, a way to stock the kitchen."

It will not be the way it is for long, however. The Graham Street neighborhood is now slated for redevelopment, and many in the community think the authenticity and the life of the place - that ineffable spark of humanity that arises when shoppers and street hawkers transact - will be lost.

Pessimists think the market is a goner altogether. Four tall towers and stacks of retail shops - the usual Hong Kong treatment - are to replace a neighborhood of funky (not to say crumbly) low- rise buildings with which street vendors enjoy a certain symbiosis (not to say illegally tapped electricity and water).

"We don't think the government is going about this the right way," said Law, who volunteers with one of several advocacy groups active on the issue. "We're still hoping to find a way to save this place."

That appears doubtful no matter how you slice the melon. The government has not issued a new hawker's license since the early 1980s, thinning the ranks considerably.

Equally, the neighborhood around Graham Street is roughly the equivalent of Greenwich Village in New York, and gentrification over the past decade or so has further shrunk the open market.

Accordingly, the Urban Renewal Authority, the government agency charged with these kinds of projects, asserts that it must either reinvent Graham Street and preserve (some of) the market or watch upscale restaurateurs and designer clothing shops chase hawkers off the sidewalk altogether.

"It's vibrant. I love it. I shop there every day," said Michael Ma, the authority's director of planning and design. "This project is about arresting what is already quite a lot of erosion. Leave it as it is and the organic growth of the city will kill the market entirely."

The renewal authority's project was formally approved by the government planning board several weeks ago.

Graham Street itself is the very essence of the kind of urban commercial culture that Ma says the authority wants to preserve. It began as a Chinese market in the late 1850s and was known among the colonials as the Upper Bazaar because it was a steep climb skyward from the harbor front.

Old photographs suggest it was a crowded, cacophonous thicket of getters, spenders and vendors. But by the 1980s Hong Kong had committed itself to a certain idea of being modern: open markets were grungy, local and yesterday; glass and concrete were clean, Western and tomorrow.

The phenomenon is scarcely unique to Hong Kong. Singapore started razing one of the classic Chinatowns in Southeast Asia back in the 1980s and stopped only when the protests became too shrill to ignore.

Several months ago a member of the Legislative Council, Hong Kong's Parliament, introduced a motion calling for the government to protect "districts and bazaars with local characteristics." Heritage advocates say this marked a significant turn in tear-it-down, build- a-new Hong Kong.

"People are thinking more about the soft edge of the city - the smells and sights," said Paul Zimmerman, an expatriate Dutchman long active in Designing Hong Kong, an urban planning advocacy group. "Young Chinese, especially, want to hold on to things."

Among the vendors along Graham Street, the stance is mixed. And to gauge this you go to see Yau Luk Chiu-ying, a fruit-seller for more than 30 years who also represents the hawkers when the renewal authority folk drop by for a chat.

"Very long time no see," Yau says as you approach her stall, a profusion of grapes (American), avocados (Australian), dragon fruit (Vietnamese), lychee (Chinese), persimmons (New Zealand) and a dozen other things.

"Mango, right?" she asks.

"Not today, Mrs. Yau. Just wondering what you think of this plan to put up office towers and apartment blocks."

She looks toward her awning, a saggy bit of plastic tarp that has seen many days of sun and rain.

"A lot of us want to stay. We're making a living," she replies. "But some, mostly the older ones, want the government compensation."

The renewal authority, indeed, has budgeted 3.8 billion Hong Kong dollars, not quite $500 million, for this project, and 1.8 billion dollars of that will go to compensating shop owners, hawkers and tenants in the apartments above the street.

When the project is completed - no date for this has been announced - the hawkers will be invited back to occupy spiffy stalls the authority has designed in consultation with them. They will have proper water and electricity lines, storage space and all else that vendors now obtain in improvisational fashion.

Way too spiffy, aficionados say. And true enough, a model in the renewal authority's office suggests a certain Disneyesque effect in the market as it now seems fated to be - a little in the way of West 42nd Street after New York made it good, clean fun.

"This isn't another Singapore deal," Ma, the government planner, protests when the thought is put to him. "I want to save as much of the existing street character as I can."

If there is a beating heart in the Graham Street district, it is the Wing Woo provisions shop, an 80-year-old establishment housed in the neighborhood's oldest building, an 1870s edifice decidedly on the feeble side.

Wing Woo is a house of a hundred odors - dried fruit rind, dried fish, assorted spices and seasonings, hundred-year-old eggs, half a dozen varieties of beans and as many of rice.

To his credit, Ma plans to preserve the facade and reconstruct the timber innards of the place, far more than Hong Kong would have bothered to do in the past.

Kwan Moon-chiu, the proprietor, turns out to be a philosophic sort. Having inherited the shop from his uncle 60 years ago, he is now admirably stoic as he faces an uncertain future.

"I have my attachment," Kwan said the other day. "I raised a family on this shop. On the other hand, if the government says it needs to redevelop Graham Street, there's not much I can do."
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Old July 9th, 2007, 07:52 PM   #304
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Redevelopment : Cherry Street Project

Rendering



Construction



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Old July 9th, 2007, 08:12 PM   #305
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where is this?
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Old July 9th, 2007, 08:48 PM   #306
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Originally Posted by gladisimo View Post
where is this?
Tai Kok Tsui just east of Olympic MTR station between Hoi King St and Tai Kok Tsui Rd
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...&t=h&z=18&om=1
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Old July 10th, 2007, 08:03 PM   #307
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Ahh, I never go around there. In fact, I've never gone to O Hoi Shing... but I will go now!

By the way, anyone know what the small site next to the bridge on Canton Road (where it splits at the China Ferry Terminal) is?

http://wikimapia.org/#y=22299604&x=1...18&l=0&m=h&v=1
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Old July 10th, 2007, 09:55 PM   #308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladisimo View Post
Ahh, I never go around there. In fact, I've never gone to O Hoi Shing... but I will go now!

By the way, anyone know what the small site next to the bridge on Canton Road (where it splits at the China Ferry Terminal) is?

http://wikimapia.org/#y=22299604&x=1...18&l=0&m=h&v=1
Not quite sure where do you mean exactly. Do you think you can explain the location more precisely?
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Old July 11th, 2007, 12:42 PM   #309
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Two killed in collapse of 60m crane
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, July 11, 2007








RTHK

A 60-meter crane collapsed on a Causeway Bay demolition site Tuesday killing two workers and injuring five others, three of whom were trapped in the wreckage.

Tam Sing, 51, and his cousin Tam Cheung-tai, in his 50s, were confirmed dead after firemen pulled them from the wreckage.

After the crane collapsed, its vertical arm rested across the top of the ninth floor of what was formerly a 20-plus story building.

The fatal accident happened at the Hennessey Centre on Hennessey Road about 9.45am. The basement of the building formerly housed the Mitsukoshi department store.

Eyewitnesses said they saw the crane buckle in the middle and then heard a loud bang.

A shopkeeper behind the center, who declined to give her name, said she was frightened by the incident. "It was like the September 11 attacks, dust was everywhere. I heard someone shout: `Run, run,"' she said.

Another shopkeeper, Lau Hon-pan, said the sound was more a rumble than a loud bang.

Central senior divisional fire officer Kung Ping-lam said the station received a report of an industrial accident at 9.45am and his men were at the scene within five minutes.

"When we got to the site an eyewitness told me one of the crane towers had snapped while lowering a load," Kung said. "We found two injured workers on the ground floor, along with a portion of the collapsed crane. When we got to the ninth floor [the roof] we found five other workers trapped in the wreckage. Two of them, the crane operators, were later certified dead."

Kung said it took five hours and 110 firemen to extract the dead and injured.

"Several things slowed down the rescue," Kung said. "As the building was under demolition, the lifts were not working and rescue equipment had to be carried up to the ninth floor. There was also a lot of debris. The steel frame weighed around 24 tonnes and we had to secure it first."

Kung said the cause of the accident was not known.

One of the five injured workers was admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital and another to Queen Mary. Both were listed as being in serious condition.

The scene was chaotic, with both Lee Garden Road and Kai Chiu Road cordoned off.

Only families of the victims were allowed inside the area.

Many onlookers did not realize what had happened, some thinking it was part of a film set.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the Labour Department would begin an investigation today. It would also inspect all of Hong Kong's several hundred high rise construction sites with similar cranes to make sure they are safe.

Cheung said work safety was very important and that it was the contractor's responsibility to ensure the safety of laborers.

Construction Industry Employees' General Union chairman Choi Chun- wah said the crane is a large machine which should be operated only by licensed workers. He said there were many factors to be considered such as operation procedures, movement of the crane arm and the age of the machinery.

There was also the possibility of human error.

Choi said there had been many crane-related accidents in the past and most of these were serious since cranes were heavy machines.

Head of the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims Chan Kam-hong said the accident was totally unacceptable. He said the Labour Department and contractors should conduct a thorough investigation.

A spokesman for the Construction Site Workers General Union said the accident could have been the result of mistakes in working procedures.

He said current legislation did not require construction companies to take risk assessments before construction and suggested the government revise its legislation.

He also suggested construction companies require all workers to vacate areas when cranes are being lowered.

Greg Wong Chak-yan, former president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, said the crane may have become unbalanced while the arm was being lowered.

Lo Kwok-keung, an engineer at the Polytechnic University's department of mechanical engineering, said the possibility of faulty screws should not be overlooked. He also said it could be the result of human error.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 12:54 PM   #310
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
Not quite sure where do you mean exactly. Do you think you can explain the location more precisely?
Click the link, it shows it... it's hard to explain, there's a crane there... and it's a very very small site. It might not even be a building.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 03:05 PM   #311
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Two killed in collapse of 60m crane
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We're unlucky to have this happened; but we're also lucky the crane fell into the building, not the other way towards the street. Otherwise, the outcome is really unthinkable, probably taking down two to three other buildings.

gladisimo, sorry, i just can't see the crane maybe someone else can help you.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 07:16 PM   #312
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興利中心清拆重建前的外貌。 資料圖片
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Old July 13th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #313
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#1
image hosted on flickr


#2
image hosted on flickr


#3
image hosted on flickr


#4
image hosted on flickr


Detail and More Photos here:
http://hkdigit.blogspot.com/2007/07/...seway-bay.html
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:02 PM   #314
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19 July 2007
URA commences Peel Street/Graham Street project
URA Press Release

Renderings : http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c1002073e230e.html

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Thursday) announced the commencement of the Peel Street/Graham Street redevelopment project, estimated at a total development cost of $3.8 billion, by conducting an occupancy survey.

Measuring a total site area of about 57,240 square feet, the project is bounded by Peel Street, Graham Street, Gage Street, Wellington Street, Cochrane Street, Gutzlaff Street, Staveley Street and Kin Sau Lane in the Central and Western district. Some 360 property interests in 37 old buildings are expected to be affected. Four of the blocks were built pre-war, while the remainder were built mostly in the mid-50¡¦s and early 60's.

Speaking at today's media briefing to announce details of the occupancy survey, District Development Director of the URA, Mr Joseph Lee, said: "It is estimated that some 470 households involving approximately 1,120 people are residing within the site area. We are deploying some 90 staff members to ascertain the exact number of those affected and the occupancy status of the properties involved, aiming to complete the survey within three days."

Depending on the work progress, the URA intends to issue purchase offers to the owners for acquiring the 360 affected property interests in about three months. Upon completion of the property acquisition exercise, the URA will make compensation or rehousing arrangements for the tenants concerned. The estimated cost of cash compensation and rehousing is about $1.8 billion.

The Peel Street/Graham Street project is one of the projects announced but not yet commenced by the former Land Development Corporation in 1998. Over the past years, the affected residents have repeatedly petitioned the Legislative Council, the Government, Central & Western District Council and the URA urging for early implementation of the project to improve their living environment.

Also speaking at the briefing, Mr Michael Ma, Director, Planning & Design said: "In moving this project forward, the URA will not only bring tangible benefits to those directly affected, but will also provide a multi-purpose community hall with a floor space of 13,500 square feet and some 17,000 square feet of quality open space for the enjoyment of the community."

Central & Western District is a place full of interesting historical and cultural elements. Over the past two years, the URA has spared no efforts in engaging the community in a bottom-up approach on the design and other aspects of the project. The URA, after giving due consideration to all views expressed, has incorporated a lot of the suggestions in the final plan and design which has recently been approved by the Town Planning Board.

Mr Ma said: "One of the unique design elements is to create Graham Street as Hong Kong¡¦s first 'Old Shop Street' where Hong Kong's renowned old specialty shops would be attracted to do businesses there. The entrance of the 'Old Shop Street' will be located at the present Wing Woo Grocery whose façade will be preserved, subject to structural feasibility study. At the other end are the three prewar shop houses at 26A-26C Graham Street which likewise will be preserved and put to adaptive re-use. The rest are three-storey structures to be built for the specialty old shops; the design of these structures will be based on that of traditional shop houses in Hong Kong."

"The URA is keenly aware that we will be faced with a daunting task. Hence, a heritage advisory panel under the Central and Western District Advisory Committee, comprising district council members, local community figures, conservation experts, as well as hawker and resident representatives, has been set up to advise on our various conservation proposals. The panel and experts have started work and have initially obtained a very positive response from operators or descendents of the once vibrant specialty old shops."

"The project is also unique in that it is one of the earliest open markets in Hong Kong. Hawkers still operate in the area. Although strictly speaking they fall outside the project boundaries, we fully encourage these hawkers to continue with their activities upon completion of the project. Indeed we have been in close touch for months with government departments concerned and hawker representatives; we hope to put in place the best possible mutually-acceptable arrangements, be they interim or permanent," Mr Ma added.

He said: "We will take into consideration the views and needs of hawkers in our design for the future stalls so as to give added emphasis to the original district feature."

Mr Joseph Lee added: "Upon completion of the survey, we will arrange a series of briefings for the affected residents and shop operators to explain to them the acquisition and compensation and rehousing arrangements. Meanwhile, we have appointed the urban renewal social service team of the St James' Settlement to provide professional and practical services alongside our frontline staff for the affected residents, in particular the elderly, physically handicapped, new arrivals and single-parent families. The telephone number of the social service team is 2857 1606.

The URA will also set up a district office at 27A Gage Street to address public enquiries on the project. Members of the public are also welcomed to call the URA hotline at 2588 2333 for general enquiries about the project.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #315
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URA begins resuming Central plots
Authority moves on redevelopment despite opposition of residents, heritage groups

20 July 2007
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority pushed ahead yesterday with its plan to knock down the city's oldest wet market despite strong opposition from heritage and residents' concern groups.

The authority took the first step in the resumption process for a half-hectare site in Central - which includes the 140-year-old market - by launching a population survey of about 1,120 residents in the area.

It did so in the face of continued opposition by critics who said the development would wipe out a rich and dynamic part of the district's history and that residents and traders did not want to move out.

In the HK$3.8 billion plan for the area bounded by Cochrane, Gage and Wellington streets, two residential blocks of 30 and 32 storeys over a four-storey podium are planned, as well as a 33-storey office tower and a 26-storey hotel on top of two more four-storey podiums.

Central and Western Concern Group spokeswoman Katty Law Ngar-ning said the development would destroy the market, which runs through Peel, Graham and Gage streets, and bring its rich and dynamic history to an end.

"The market is a vibrant place. It attracts a lot of tourists and is a favourite shopping place for the neighbourhood," said Ms Law, whose group conducted its own survey of people in the area.

"When we did the survey and chatted with the vendors and shop owners, many of them said they did not want to go.

"We have to express our view of preserving the market or keeping the effect on it to the minimum when the area is redeveloped."

The group will hold a signature campaign tomorrow and a website will be launched soon to give information about the project.

District development director Joseph Lee King-chi said the authority hoped to complete acquisition of affected properties within two years, with a budget of about HK$1.9 billion, which he said catered for possible fluctuations of the property market.

"But honestly, we can't predict what the market will be like during the period," he said. The compensation rate would be close to the prices of nearby private buildings, he said.

The authority's director of planning and design, Michael Ma Chiu-chi, said the project would preserve the external walls of the nearly 100-year-old Wing Woo Ho grocery store and three pre-war buildings in Graham Street.

A heritage advisory panel would work out ways to run a row of old-style shops the authority plans to build in Graham Street and the planned open market, he said.

The old-shop street would house century-old brand names and shops selling traditional products and handicrafts, he said, but he gave no details of what brand names would be invited or when the finalised plans would be submitted.

Ms Law complained that the heritage panel lacked transparency and excluded the public from its meetings.

"The panel comprises district councillors, historians as well as representatives of the affected vendors and residents.

"But they turned down our request to sit in on the meeting, saying that we have to express our opinion through the members instead," she said.

Roger Ho Yiu-sang, a heritage writer who recently wrote a book on the wet markets of Hong Kong, said the Central project focused more on making profits from the high-rise buildings rather than preserving the wet market tradition and heritage.

"The wet market in Central has a rich sense of interpersonal connections and community feeling," he said.

"Once it is knocked down and with its operation moved into commercial buildings, the whole feeling will be gone."
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:32 AM   #316
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Coalition to fight `old-style shops' plan
23 July 2007
Hong Kong Standard

Graham Street in the central Mid- Levels does not need artificial ``old- style shops'' that would take years of construction work as there is already a 140-year-old open market, which is to be redeveloped under a HK$3.8 billion facelift, according to a concern group.

The Central and Western Concern Group _ a coalition of more than 10 community organizations _ said yesterday it will launch a signature campaign as part of efforts to prevent the government from turning a vibrant market into a ``decorated stage'' that would take at least five years to build.

Under the massive facelift announced by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, a 57,240-square-foot area in the district housing Hong Kong's oldest wet market will make way for an avenue of shophouses, multistory residential blocks, a hotel and an office complex.

The area, bounded by Peel Street, Graham Street, Gage Street, Gutzlaff Street and Staveley Street, now has 37 old buildings with about 470 households and almost 80 shops.

The coalition said it has carried out a survey in the district and found there has not been adequate consultation with the residents and shopowners on the redevelopment plan. It said only half of the shop operators said the URA had sought their views.

Sixty-four percent of the operators said they believed the market should be preserved, while more than one-third said the district's historical values should be left intact and that they have developed a close relationship with the neighborhood.

Nineteen percent of the respondents vowed not to leave, and 17 percent said they will stay until the last moment.

John Batten, a coalition co-convener who lives in the area, said the campaign is meant to be political to some extent.

``We'll send questionnaires to all the nominees or candidates in the forthcoming district council elections to get their views on the heritage issue. We'll then publicize the results to let the voters decide at the ballot box,'' he said.

Katty Law Ngar-ning, another convener of the group, said more than half of the shop operators are against the renewal plan. ``Although the Town Planning Board has approved the URA plan, it's still not too late to opt for a better one and have a re-plan,'' she said.

The group urged the government to have review its policy on open markets.

Tanya Chan Shuk-chong of the Civic Party said: ``We don't need an artificial old-shop street. Tourists can't be bothered visiting it in Central if we already have something like the Ngong Ping 360 market. I hope the government will understand what's real and what's not.''

Yau Luk Chiu-wing, a fruit store owner who has been doing business in the open market for 35 years, said she was worried about the uncertainty.

``The URA has explained the renewal project to me briefly. Yet, no one has told me where my new shop will be,'' Yau said.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:15 AM   #317
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Island Lodge set for launch Swire to market North Point residential project in September
25 July 2007
South China Morning Post

Island Lodge, a North Point residential development due for completion in early 2009, will be marketed in September, according to co-developers Swire Properties and China Motor Bus.

The 45-storey, 184-unit project offers apartments that range in size from 800 square feet to 1,200 sq ft. About 40 per cent are two-bedroom units, while most have three- or four-bedroom layouts.

There is also an undisclosed number of larger units of between 1,500 sq ft and 2,200 sq ft on the top floors of the development.

Swire Properties would not disclose target prices, but senior sales manager Mabelle Ma said the latest prices in two developments - The Orchards in Quarry Bay and Les Saisons in Sai Wan Ho - could provide an indicator.

According to data from Centaline Property Agency, units in The Orchards sold for prices ranging from HK$6,793 to HK$8,300 per square foot.

La Place de Victoria is the most recent development in North Point.

Danny Ho, district sales director of Centaline Property Agency, said prices of typical units without a sea view at the project ranged from HK$5,460 to HK$6,500 per square foot.

Units with sea views reached HK$15,000 per square foot when the project was launched in 2005.

Island Lodge is the latest residential project developed by Swire Properties after the developer launched The Orchards in 2003.

It is located on the site of the former staff quarters of China Motor Bus at the junction of Java Road and Kam Hong Street and is a three-minute walk from the North Point MTR station.

In a departure from the current development trend, the project adopts a floor-to-ceiling window in the living room instead of a balcony.

The building height was set at 160 metres and since the Town Planning Board has imposed a 100-metre building height restriction on the former North Point Estate site in front of Island Lodge, only upper level units in the development will have harbour views after the completion of the North Point Estate redevelopment project.

The development will be the only new project in North Point released this year.

A residential project at Wo Fung Street in Sai Ying Pun, developed by Pacific Century Premium Developments, will be another medium-range development released on Hong Kong Island this year.

Transactions in North Point had been active in the last few weeks, said Andy Chuang, director of Ricacorp Properties. He said Provident Centre and City Garden remained the most popular housing estates in the district.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 12:55 PM   #318
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Redevelopment : Cherry Street Project

Rendering



Construction



7/29



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Old July 29th, 2007, 06:43 PM   #319
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Fresh start for decaying city
The Urban Renewal Authority is heading the fight against urban corrosion with an army of consultants
13 July 2007
South China Morning Post

Urban renewal has become a hot topic in recent years as the government looks to breathe new life into the city's older districts, where many neglected buildings have turned grey and are in disrepair.

Leading the fight against urban dilapidation is the quasi-government Urban Renewal Authority (URA), which inherited 25 unfinished projects from the Land Development Corporation in 2001.

With the establishment of the URA's rehabilitation programmes in 2003, 16,000 units and 178 buildings have been rehabilitated, three times as many are being redeveloped, and 200 projects are in the pipeline.

These include projects such as the preservation of 22 traditional Cantonese-style buildings in Wan Chai with a focus on structure, exterior and functionality, and the recent rehabilitation of residential blocks and urban streets in Tai Kok Tsui.

The authority will spend more than HK$30billion on the implementation of new urban renewal plans from 2006 to 2011, including the dramatic Kwun Tong Town Centre which will cost HK$25billion and affect nearly 600,000 residents.

Hong Kong has more than 11,000 buildings in old districts such as Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, Sham Shui Po and Mong Kok that do not have owners' corporations that would normally look after their upkeep. The URA provides material subsidies and educates the public in methods to maintain safety in older buildings like these. Financial help and advice are offered, as well as interest-free loans.

Iris Tam Siu-ying, the authority's executive director of planning and development, said: "We are here to tackle the very dilapidated urban areas. We want to arrest and slow down urban decay."

Such projects include the hugely successful Western Market in Sheung Wan. Local businessmen at first opposed development, but the preservation has revitalised the square. Business got better and soon more people were attracted to that corner of Sheung Wan.

The authority organises events there, and recently announced plans to build a Cultural Terrace on a slope opposite the Man Mo Temple.

In a nutshell, the URA preserves, redevelops, rehabilitates and revitalises urban sprawl in Hong Kong.

"We work with consultants such as conservation architects, design experts in restoring buildings, traffic engineers, and environmental engineers - the list is long," Ms Tam said.

"Together, we aim to give a particular area a sense of place, create a sense of pride in the area and attract more business.

"It's our mission. But sometimes we have great difficulty pushing forward schemes because the very people who will benefit [from the renewal] oppose the changes we wish to make. It is almost impossible not to bring change.

Ms Tam said the authority could not ignore what people said.

"The community are stakeholders. In the past, Hong Kong people didn't mind pulling down buildings. Now it is possible that they have seen too much demolition. In certain projects, the core buildings can be preserved, such as the development of Graham Street in Central where an old-style building is structurally sound and will be worked into the design of the district."

Gammon Construction director of human resources, Leung Pik-wah sees redevelopment and urban renewal as a team effort.

"For urban renewal, many aspects of engineering and design are needed. There can be positions for people in building services and maintenance for older districts, and, of course, the painting and refurbishment that is needed inside and out," Ms Leung said.

"It all really depends on the scale and the nature of the project, which can include engineers from civil, building, foundation and engineering and manufacturing branches. If there is urban planning involved, roadworks will need to be done. There is a need for designers and engineers in these fields," she said.

Gammon Construction is no stranger to redevelopment, revitalisation and preservation. It completed refurbishments and extensions for both The Peninsula Hong Kong hotel in 1994 and the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong last year.

At the height of the Mandarin Oriental contract, there were 2,100 workers on-site, including 70 Gammon specialists.

"Redevelopment is not just about the practical architectural concept and building. People who specialise in environmental protection are also needed. Many of the people looking to build, rebuild or revitalise are heavily into the environmental impact of the project," Ms Leung said.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:09 PM   #320
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7/29



8/4







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