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Old August 5th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #321
hkskyline
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Chinese Estates sees underlying profit grow 19pc
4 August 2007
South China Morning Post













Chinese Estates Holdings, a mid-tier developer controlled by tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung, said half-year underlying profits rose 19.07 per cent, driven mainly by sales of units at a housing project in Wan Chai.

Underlying earnings increased to HK$944.4 million for the six months to June from HK$793.1 million a year earlier. Including a property revaluation gain and deferred taxation, the company's net earnings slumped 58.93 per cent to HK$2.05 billion from HK$4.99 billion.

Turnover rose 13.87 per cent to HK$2.53 billion in the first half from HK$2.22 billion a year ago. It generated HK$463 million from property sales in the first half compared with HK$35 million a year ago.

The developer started sales of unfinished units at the Zenith last year and sold 368 units by the end of July. It booked sales of about 308 units in the first half after they were completed, contributing to 56 per cent of profits.

The company also booked HK$360 million in rental income in the first half, an increase of 9.3 per cent from a year ago. But gains from sales of securities, investments and treasury products fell to HK$150.4 million from HK$248.4 million.

Joseph Lau said the decline was due to the company slowing investment at shareholders' behest. Its existing shares were considered as long-term investments, he added.

The developer planned to sell the remaining units at the Zenith and pre-sell three uncompleted housing projects in the second half, including the redevelopment of Tung Sang Building and two projects in Macau and Mong Kok.

Executive director Lau Ming-wai said the Macau project should fetch HK$3,500 to HK$4,500 per square foot and the 94-unit Tung Sang Building, HK$7,000 a square foot.

Chinese Estates this week teamed up with Sino Land and CC Land to buy a residential site in Chongqing for 4.18 billion yuan. The company estimates that its land bank is sufficient for development until 2013.

The company on Wednesday said it halted takeover negotiations with hedge funds and private equity groups. Sources had said potential buyers included its shareholder, The Children's Investment Fund Management, a British hedge fund that boosted its stake to 8.79 per cent from 7.86 per cent after the talks were reported in early July.

The executive director said the company "feels comfortable" about TCI's share purchases, adding that the hedge fund had no intention to acquire Chinese Estates and had never asked for a board seat.

Chinese Estates' first-half earnings per share fell to 90.7 HK cents from HK$2.316 a year earlier. The developer declared an interim dividend of 13.5 HK cents per share, a 12.5 per cent rise from a year ago.

Shares of Chinese Estates fell 2.78 per cent yesterday to close at HK$12.60.

Website : http://www.thezenith.hk/
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Old August 5th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #322
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Redevelopment : Cherry Street Project
Photos from HK Place :



Lonely building wasn't expropriated, so it stays.

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Old August 21st, 2007, 09:41 AM   #323
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20 August 2007
URA Statement on Sai Yee Street Project
URA Press Release

In response to media enquiry today (Monday) on progress of the Sai Yee Street project, Mongkok, a spokesman of the Urban Renewal Authority said:

This development will affect 16 sports shops or about 25% of the sports shops in "Trainers Street" in Mongkok.

According to a survey conducted by HKU in April 2006, of the number of units represented by the interviewed owners, there were 43% supporting redevelopment (mainly domestic residents) and 42% supporting rehabilitation (mainly shop operators and owners of single-owned buildings).

The Legislative Council passed a motion in January 2007 calling for the retention of existing commercial districts and bazaars with local characters.

The URA needs to take all these aspirations into account in project planning. In the past few months, we have been in close contact with various stakeholders to listen to their views and to follow up on their suggestions.

We have conducted an initial assessment of the proposal put forward by the K28 Concern Group. Our consultants held a meeting with the consultant of the Concern Group to clarify certain technical issues of the group¡¦s proposal on 9 August 2007. With this supplementary information, a detailed assessment is being conducted on a number of complex issues arising from the proposal.

Fundamental difficulties posed by the proposal include land administration legalities, prolonged disruption to the existing business operation, lack of unanimous support from the shop owners affected and the renewed planning process it entails.

When we have the results of further studies on these fundamental issues, we will announce our final decision on this redevelopment project as soon as possible. It remains URA's firm objective to commence this project within this financial year, based on a redevelopment scheme with features balancing the need to enhance the local character and economic activities of 'Trainer Street' and the interests of various groups of affected stakeholders.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 08:07 PM   #324
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Study casts doubt on Sneaker Street plans
21 August 2007
South China Morning Post

There are fundamental difficulties to overcome if shop owners' innovative plans for the redevelopment of "Sneaker Street" in Mong Kok are to be adopted, an initial Urban Renewal Authority study shows.

The proposal, which will keep shops on the ground floor and demolish residential flats on the upper floors, would require support from government departments and consensus among shop owners, sources with the authority said after a board meeting yesterday.

The authority's plans involve a huge shopping mall, selling sports products, to replace existing old buildings.

The authority said that further feasibility studies on the shop owners' proposal were being carried out, stressing the project at Fa Yuen Street, also known as Sneaker Street, and Sai Yee Street must start this financial year.

The K28 Concern Group, comprising 40 per cent of shop owners, released its own study by consultants this month and tried to prove the proposal could be implemented according to building and fire regulations.

Under the proposal, only five of the 28 buildings would be torn down for a 30-storey commercial building at the end of Sai Yee Street. Four eight-storey buildings would be reduced to three to four storeys, while most old buildings would be renovated for commercial use.

Fire facilities and connectivity among buildings would be upgraded and roof gardens would be opened for public use.

During the redevelopment, shops selling sneakers on the ground floor would operate as usual.

However, the authority said the lack of unanimous support among shop owners would undermine the proposal since the idea required moving out some shops until the completion of the redevelopment. "The proposal seems a win-win solution, but without their agreement it will not work," said a source from the board.

Another source quoted the authority's consultant saying that piling work, which would last at least 18 months, would have to take place at some shops and would disrupt business.

The proposal would also require a rezoning permit from the Town Planning Board to turn residential flats into commercial sites.

"I am pessimistic about the proposal; the cost of renovation is too high," said a board member, adding the authority will still hold talks with the concern group.

In the board meeting, members proposed improving traffic and connections to the district by turning Sneaker Street into a pedestrian zone.

Members had concerns about the authority's proposal for a large shopping mall selling sports goods.

Chan Kam-wah, who is a member of the concern group, said he was disappointed by the authority's preliminary study, admitting that some shop owners were unwilling to "sacrifice" and temporarily move out during the redevelopment.

A spokesman said the authority would announce its final decision after completion of further studies of problems arising from the proposal.

He said that redevelopment would affect only 16 shops, equivalent to 25 per cent of the sneaker shops.
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Old August 27th, 2007, 07:46 AM   #325
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Call for more open space in Wan Chai
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, August 27, 2007

More public space and retaining the Bauhaus-style Wan Chai Market and open-air bazaar should be priorities in the district's future sustainable development blueprint, a development forum heard yesterday.

Bazaar hawkers, elderly people, proprietors and long-time residents told the forum the lack of public space in Wan Chai was the very first thing on their minds and the district center - Southorn Playground - was regarded by most as space not well spent.

They recalled the playground once had trees, ample space for a children's playground and even stone tables and stools for chess players. All these were scraped, replaced by a stadium, a commercial and residential tower, and a sports ground that is seldom used during weekdays.

Leung Yuk-yin of the Wan Chai Community Union said the only place left for the elderly to sit in the playground now is the spectator stand.

She proposed putting the sports stadium underground, leaving open space with greenery for a children's playground and leisure activities.

All were in favor of retaining Wan Chai Market on Queen's Road East as a community center, playground and cultural exhibition hall.

Chinese Estates, controlled by billionaire Joseph Lau Luen-hung, and the URA have agreed to redevelop the site into a luxury residential-commercial complex.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #326
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Redevelopment : Cherry Street Project
8/26

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Old August 30th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #327
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Hong Kong chief visits city's earliest developed districts

HONG KONG, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Donald Tsang Wednesday visited Sham Shui Po District to see revitalization work taking place in one of the city's earliest developed districts.

Accompanied by Sham Shui Po District Officer May Chan, Tsang visited Mei Ho House in Shek Kip Mei Estate, the first resettlement estate in the territory.

With the redevelopment of the estate, Mei Ho House, which was declared a Grade I historical building in 2005, is the last "H" shaped resettlement block still standing in Hong Kong.

To engage the public in heritage conservation, an ideas competition is being held to invite professional bodies and the general public to contribute creative ideas and concepts for revitalizing the life of Mei Ho House and its vicinity.

Noting that suitable methods of conservation and creativity could rejuvenate the conserved heritage, Tsang said the competition would encourage creative ideas in heritage conservation.

"It can also help raise public awareness of the subject," he said.

Tsang visited a sample flat of Mei Ho House to better understand the life of residents in olden days. He was told that the Housing Department had continuously maintained structural safety and environmental hygiene of the building to prepare for its future use.

The Chief Executive also visited So Uk Estate, a 40-year-old estate in the district which is about to be cleared. The first phase of the clearance will begin by the end of next year while the second will start in August 2011.

Tsang visited two elderly brothers living in the estate and was told that an on-site re-housing team and a community service team of social workers had been set up to help address tenants' concerns about the clearance process.

So Uk Estate is a "green" estate with some 740 trees, half of them at least 40 years old, and Tsang was pleased to learn that most would be preserved.

"The government will strive to protect trees in Hong Kong, particularly the valuable and rare old trees," Tsang said.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #328
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觀塘重建規劃 城規周五審核
2007年9月4日

【明報專訊】市區重建局於今年4月向城市規劃委員會遞交的觀塘市中心重建規劃大綱,將排期至本周五討論,有關大綱包括主要地區及月華街的發展計劃。

為爭取城規會支持,市建局早前把觀塘物業地積比由原建議的最高7.98倍減至6.9倍,使住宅樓面由183萬減至172萬平方呎,5座大廈的高度只剩下140至170米,商業樓面亦相應減少一成。

市建局行政總監林中麟曾表示,需要等待城規會審核後,才能決定觀塘重建項目的先後範圍,但由於月華街巴士站不涉及民居,因此可優先考慮重建。

重建區內會有兩幢地標建築物,分別位於現時賽馬會健康院的280米高的酒店及寫字樓混合大廈,及建於現時裕民大廈位置的鵝蛋形社區中心。
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Old September 6th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #329
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Town centre revamp on track
6 September 2007
South China Morning Post

The public and the Planning Department have given a qualified thumbs-up to the planned redevelopment of Kwun Tong town centre, although there are concerns about the height of a 90-storey commercial tower and the effect of high-rise residential buildings on air flow in the area.

This follows a three-month consultation launched in April after the Urban Renewal Authority submitted the draft redevelopment plan to the Town Planning Board. Of 1,254 comments received by the board, more than 90 per cent supported the plan and asked the government to shorten the planning process in order to improve living conditions in the run-down area as soon as possible.

Of the 21 submissions objecting to the plan, most said the 280-metre commercial tower was too high and might spoil views of the Kowloon Hills' ridgeline. They also worried the super high-rise would increase traffic and worsen air quality in the town centre.

The "iconic" commercial tower is one of 122 characteristics of the draft plans that are said to reflect aspirations of the community. In a paper summing up the views from the public and relevant departments, lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit and pressure group SEE Network said the commercial tower proposal was out of place, disregarded the gradual, long-term evolution of the old area and would will further break the ridgeline.

A chief town planner from the Planning Department said more justifications were needed for the proposed building heights - 280 metres and 170 metres - for the iconic tower and residential buildings, because the redevelopment would have a moderate to high visual impact on residents in the area. The town planner said the redevelopment would reduce air ventilation in some areas, including much of Kwun Tong Road, and the authority was advised to reduce the size of the pedestrian walkway and address the reduction of ventilation in other problem areas.

But the authority said in its submission that the aim of high-rise towers was to create smaller building footprints to maximise open space and to help form breezeways and view corridors to avoid the wall effect. The redevelopment will accommodate 600,000 people.

The proposal will be discussed by the board tomorrow.
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Old September 9th, 2007, 06:58 AM   #330
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Iconic tower too tall, town planner says
8 September 2007
South China Morning Post

A high-rise proposed for the Kwun Tong redevelopment site has been criticised for being "too tall" and possibly disrupting the ridge line.

The 90-storey commercial tower - intended by the Urban Renewal Authority to be a district landmark - came under attack at a meeting of the Town Planning Board yesterday.

Board member Daniel To Boon-man said the height of the building far exceeded that of the APM mall in Kwun Tong and may destroy the continuity of the Kowloon hills' ridge line.

"An iconic building does not have to be tall," he said. "It will destroy the ridge line if one looks from some perspectives."

But the authority's managing director, Billy Lam Chung-lun, said Kwun Tong residents supported the idea of having a landmark in the district. He said the intention in building an iconic high-rise tower was to maximise space between buildings. "The tower is no doubt very tall but we have tried to make the zone as green as possible. We also hope to make it less dense when its height is increased."

The board members' concern echoed that of the Planning Department, which called for more justification for the tower and another 170-metre residential building.

The commercial tower is one of the 122 characteristics of the draft plans that are said to reflect the aspirations of the community. The Kwun Tong project, costing HK$30 billion, would accommodate 600,000 people.
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Old September 9th, 2007, 07:04 AM   #331
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90-storey tower?

HAVE SOME OF THAT!

LEAVE IT YOU *****! WE WANT SUPERTALLS!

Oh, wait nevermind it'll only be 280 metres.

BURN IT DOWN!
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Old September 14th, 2007, 08:53 PM   #332
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北角村地皮無償交政府
14/09/2007
東方日報



【 本 報 訊 】 房 屋 委 員 會 策 劃 小 組 昨 通 過 , 無 條 件 將 北 角 地 皮 交 還 政 府 。 房 委 會 主 席 兼 運 輸 及 房 屋 局 局 長 鄭 汝 樺 說 , 北 角 地 皮 臨 海 , 位 置 優 越 , 是 社 會 重 要 資 源 , 不 適 宜 興 建 公 屋 , 而 且 房 委 會 財 政 狀 況 穩定 , 無 條 件 交 還 地 皮 不 影 響 房 委 會 財 政 。 政 府 承 諾 提 供 足 夠 土 地 , 讓 房 委 會 興 建 公屋 。

地 政 總 署 發 言 人 說 , 政 府 正 檢 討 北 角 地 皮 的 用 途 和 發 展 參 數 , 在 既 定 城 市 規 劃 過 程 中 會 考 慮 市 民 意 見 , 包 括 區 議 會 和 關 注 團 體 , 並 根 據 檢 討 結 果 , 考 慮 何 時 納 入 未 來 勾 地 表 。

鄭 汝 樺 表 示 , 北 角 地 皮 不 宜 建 公 屋 , 近 年 作 停 車 場 已 不 符 大 眾 利 益 , 政 府 在 ○ 二 年 宣 布 停 售 居 屋 時 , 已 撤 回 北 角 地 皮 的 混 合 發 展 模 式 , 政 府 會 盡 快 將 地 皮 放 入 勾 地 表 。

列 入 勾 地 表   估 值 170 億
鄭 汝 樺 又 說 , 房 委 會 的 中 短 期 財 政 狀 況 穩定 , 到 二 ○ 一 一 年 有 七 百 億 元 資 金 , 政 府 承 諾 會 一 直 提 供 足 夠 土 地 , 讓 房 委 會 興 建公 屋 , 不 會 影 響 輪 候 公 屋 三 年 上 樓 的 承 諾 。

房 委 會 委 員 王 坤 則 稱 , 政 府 在 ○ 二 年 承 諾 房 委 會 在 北 角 地 皮 擁 有 四 分 一 權 益 , 他 希 望 政 府 履 行 承 諾 。

北 角 地 皮 佔 地 二 萬 七 千 多 平 方 米 , 測 量 師 估 計 價 值 一 百 五 十 億 至 一 百 七 十 億 元 , 樓 面 呎價 為 五 千 元 , 連 同 建 築 成 本 達 七 千 元 , 單 位 出 售 時 樓 價 可 達 八 千 至 九 千 元 以 上 。
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Old September 14th, 2007, 08:54 PM   #333
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重建利東街 灣仔整頓交通
14/09/2007
東方日報





【 記 者 譚 美 芳 報 道 】 為 配 合 利 東 街 ( 喜 帖 街 ) 重 建 計 劃 , 市 區 重 建 局 擬 於 灣 仔 推 出一 系 列 改 善 交 通 措 施 , 包 括 將 利 東 街 闢 作 行 人 專 用 區 及 打 通 廈 門 街 疏 導 車 流 ; 至 於早 前 有 指 廈 門 街 盡 頭 的 樓 梯 級 為 香 港 開 埠 最 古 老 的 海 岸 線 , 市 建 局 經 考 證 後 認 為 並無 根 據 , 建 議 拆 卸 開 路 , 灣 仔 區 議 會 稍 後 討 論 上 述 封 路 及 改 道 建 議 , 之 後 將 結 果 交行 政 會 議 審 議 。

城 市 規 劃 委 員 會 早 前 通 過 利 東 街 / 麥 加 力 歌 街 重 建 項 目的 總 體 規 劃 總 綱 , 市 建 局 重 建 利 東 街 後 , 會 提 供 四 幢 高 二 十 至 四 十 層 的 住 宅 大 廈 、十 萬 平 方 呎 的 大 型 商 場 及 一 個 兩 層 深 的 地 下 停 車 場 , 市 建 局 會 保 留 區 內 三 幢 戰 前 建築 物 , 並 會 評 估 空 氣 及 交 通 , 確 保 工 程 不 會 加 重 區 內 負 擔 。

市 建 局 最 近 完 成 區 內 的 交 通 評 估 , 認 為 隨 灣 仔 區 不 斷 發 展 , 區 內 道 路 明 顯 不 勝 負 荷 , 其 中 春 園 街 行 人 路 無 法 應 付 人 流 需 求 ,行 人 經 常 擠 出 馬 路 而 險 象 環 生 , 區 內 上 落 客 貨 位 亦 不 足 , 導 致 交 通 經 常 擠 塞 。

市 建 局 建 議 將 利 東 街 永 久 封 閉 改 作 行 人 專 用 區 , 有 效 疏 導 現 時 春 園 街 及 往 返 合 和 中 心 一 帶 至 灣 仔 地 鐵 站 的 人 流 , 增 加 市 民 休 憩 空 間 。

為 了 配 合 有 關 的 改 動 , 市 建 局 需 打 通 現 時 為 掘 頭 路 的 廈 門 街 , 以 便 提 供 一 條 南 行 車 線 疏 導 交 通 。

廈 門 街 梯 級 證 非 古 擬 拆 卸
至 於 早 前 有 指 廈 門 街 的 梯 級 為 古 , 標 誌 本 港 開 埠 時 的 海 岸 線 , 市 建 局 特 別 委 託 顧 問 考 察 歷 史 文 獻 , 查 證 有 關 位 置 應 屬 填 海區 , 加 上 樓 梯 級 是 使 用 混 凝 土 興 建 , 不 屬 百 多 年 前 的 建 築 物 料 , 有 關 梯 級 應 非 古 , 當 局 屬 意 拆 去 開 路 。

至 於 目 前 客 貨 車 上 落 貨 集 中 點 的 麥 加 力 歌 街 , 當 局 擬 封 閉 北 段 , 改 道 通 往 太 原 街 ,令 客 貨 車 毋 須 再 於 麥 加 力 歌 街 掉 頭 , 可 直 接 由 太 原 街 出 交 加 街 。

灣 仔 區 議 會 下 周 四 討 論 有 關 交 通 改 善 計 劃 , 若 議 員 對 打 通 廈 門 街 有 異 議 , 當 局 亦 有替 代 方 案 , 將 聯 發 街 北 行 改 為 南 行 , 保 持 區 內 交 通 暢 順 。 灣 仔 區 議 員 李 繼 雄 指 利 東街 一 帶 交 通 擠 塞 , 若 有 關 樓 梯 級 確 實 不 屬 古 , 他 會 同 意 拆 去 開 路 , 但 他 擔 心 將 麥 加 力 歌 街 的 車 流 分 流 到 太 原 街 的 話 , 會 加 重 太 原 街 的 交 通 負 荷 。
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Old September 18th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #334
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Strategy revamp on urban renewal welcome
18 September 2007
South China Morning Post

Urban renewal can be a complicated and controversial endeavour, particularly in a city such as Hong Kong. Most people here live in densely populated high-rises, many of which have fallen into serious disrepair because of lax maintenance. All too often, hundreds of owners of small flats in a multi-storey building are unable to get their acts together to renovate or redevelop their properties.

So it is ironic that when the Urban Renewal Authority steps in to buy up dilapidated blocks for redevelopment, it is often treated with derision by the owners.

The problem lies in the way urban renewal has, until now, been implemented. The URA - and its predecessor, the now defunct land development corporation - is responsible for identifying run-down areas, devising redevelopment schemes, acquiring the properties concerned and handing them over to developers for redevelopment.

The participation of developers is necessary as the URA receives only seed grants from the government and has to depend on developers' financial resources and professional expertise to carry out its projects. This approach, however, has given rise to the perception that the URA is acting as the bulldozer for developers, who stand to profit from pulling down old buildings. Even though compensation packages for owners and tenants are laid down by law, negotiations over the payouts are often protracted and acrimonious.

In recent years, conservationists concerned about the disappearance of historic buildings and socially vibrant street life in old neighbourhoods have joined the chorus of opposition. Such opposition has persisted despite the authority's attempts to preserve old buildings with heritage value, often at huge costs that add to its financial burden.

Now that all the redevelopment projects committed to by the land development corporation have been launched, the URA is seeking to revamp its mode of operation. As we report today, consideration is being given to letting residents decide the fate of the areas in which they live, rather than being dictated to. Instead of the authority foisting a scheme on people living in run-down areas, owners and residents would put forward proposals for consideration.

The means of revitalisation could be renovation or redevelopment. After all, urban renewal is not a guaranteed means of ensuring that old buildings or districts, and the lives of the people living in them, can be revitalised. Hong Kong's biggest success story is perhaps the Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo districts, previously rundown areas on the fringes of Central that are now thriving nightlife areas. In theory as well as in practice, the proposed bottom-up approach should be less controversial than the current top-down one. Letting the community take the lead in how streets and districts are redeveloped or renovated moves in a more sustainable direction. Hong Kong's character will, in such circumstances, be more preserved.

Putting in place a mechanism that allows stakeholders to truly have a voice will be challenging, as will be the task of balancing the conflict of interests among stakeholders, such as that of households living on the upper floors and shop owners and operators at the ground level.

Nonetheless, the URA has to move in this direction. Only through citizens having a say in the evolution of their city can it develop in an organic and harmonious manner.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #335
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Urban renewal plan review in offing
25 September 2007
Hong Kong Standard

An overhaul of the urban renewal strategy is in sight, including the hoped-for "compensation first" for projects with rundown conditions like the Nga Tsin Wai village.

Permanent Secretary for Development (planning and lands) Raymond Young Lap-moon of the Development Bureau told the Legislative Council yesterday that the review "is in sight."

"We have promised to do so. Right now we are consulting the authority's senior officials on when to begin a review, which will involve public consultation," Young said.

When the Urban Renewal Authority's profit of HK$2.3 billion for 2006-2007 was revealed, legislators suggested the ample reserve could allow a more lenient compensation for residents affected by redevelopment, and possibly acquiring the affected property before planning.

Billy Lam Chung-lun, URA managing director, attributed the authority's financial growth to improvement in the property market, and to property bought during the 2003 SARS period that since then rose sharply in value.

But Lam warned the rosy picture may change due to market fluctuation.

Out of the 225 redevelopment projects planned, only 32 have been announced.

The only two projects inherited from the authority's forerunner, the Lands Development Authority, pending announcement are the Nga Tsin Wai village and Mong Kok "Sneakers Street."

Young said they have an open attitude toward the "compensation first" idea, which may be realized in the 600-year-old Nga Tsin Wai village project to improve to the villagers' living condition as soon as possible.

Even though bureau chief Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has talked about the possibility of "compensation first," the authority's documents presented to the Legco stated it would not be financially prudent to do so and may add risk to the project.

Lawmakers also suggested looking into exchanges of flats or stores, citing a Tai Hang Road redevelopment by a listed private developer having successfully using that method.

During the three-year development, flat owners signed up to become stakeholders and were handed rental money to stay somewhere else.

When the project was finished, they were given flats of similar size in the new building.

Lam said they have been studying an exchange of flats method and so far found it not workable since it may affect availability of public space and could be risky for the owners to take part in commercial development.

Before the meeting, dozens of residents from the various districts affected by redevelopment protested outside the Legco building in the midst of a squally thunderstorm, protesting the "acrimonious" offers by the authority.

Legislators said the policy has no consideration for the affected residents, who may be stranded in ramshackle condition years after the project announcement and the compensation so meager that they could not afford to live in the same neighborhood.

On the future of Wan Chai Market, Young said they are exploring the use of its hillside, including keeping the Grade III historic building while continuing with the developer's plan of erecting a residential tower.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 09:41 AM   #336
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New linecasts its net near and far
West Island expansion will feed Mid-Levels

24 October 2007
South China Morning Post

The MTR Corporation aims to attract more passengers from Mid-Levels and waterfront areas to its West Island Line stations through a network of underground corridors and escalators totalling 2km.

There will be 14 exits, designed after extensive consultation, for the three stations - Kennedy Town, University and Sai Ying Pun. The Belcher Garden exit will be at least 200 metres from the University station concourse.

The HK$8.9 billion project is expected to boost property prices in the area and ease traffic congestion.

The MTR Corp says the air-conditioned corridors, escalators and lifts are an important feature of the 3km line, which will be completed in 2013 at the earliest.

Apart from the trains, the rail operator will also be responsible for relocating the Kennedy Town swimming pool at the waterfront. The site will become Kennedy Town station.

The David Trench Rehabilitation Centre in Eastern Street will be relocated to the old High Street police station - a grade three historical building - to make way for the station at Sai Ying Pun.

Jim Chi-yung, a Transport Advisory Council member who teaches at the University of Hong Kong, said the network would expand the catchment area of the rail and possibly encourage richer residents to abandon their cars.

"It clearly is MTR's intention to capture the market of Mid-Levels residents," Professor Jim said, welcoming the promotion of mass transport.

He said expanding the rail system would bring huge benefits to more than 10,000 university students and staff, and help cut road congestion.

The rail is expected to serve an area with a population of 140,000 by 2016.

Kam Nai-wai, a Central and Western District councillor, said while the rail line would boost property prices and ease traffic congestion, the runaway redevelopment projects in the district were cause for concern.

"It will be hard to conceive what the already densely populated district will be like if there is a further relaxation of the plot ratio at those redevelopment sites."

He said developers had been buying out properties in the district, forcing some low-income groups to move out.


"Gone are the days when an old flat could be rented for HK$3,000 to HK$4,000 a month in Sai Ying Pun," he said.

Shum Hing-wo, head of the Kennedy Town branch of Centaline Properties, said property prices had already gone up by 30 to 40 per cent since the government gave approval for the project. He said the price increases were fuelled by a tide of acquisition of old properties by developers and investors.

At least six redevelopment projects were being planned or constructed, with the largest being the Urban Renewal Authority's scheme in the First and Second Street, which would provide up to 500 flats.

Mr Shum said he was not worried about higher density in the district.

"If there were no big development projects or no more people in the district, putting in the underground rail would be a waste."
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Old October 31st, 2007, 12:18 PM   #337
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1,000 fight Tai O redevelopment
28 October 2007
South China Morning Post



More than 1,000 people, including from overseas, have signed a petition to protest against a HK$629 million Tai O redevelopment project, saying the plan will destroy the natural scenery of the fishing village.

One petitioner, Avis Ngan, said: "Money for preservation should be used to reinforce what is already there in terms of structures and traditional industries, rather than spent on the construction of an additional facade, parks and ponds."

The government unveiled the detailed redevelopment project in a public forum last month.

It proposed building a Tai O Road entrance square, a theme fountain with sculptures, stone carving, a shorefront wooden walkway, a shorefront plaza, a Chinese-style park, a water lily pond, a shopping walk and a helicopter landing pad. The project is expected to start in 2011 and be completed by mid-2016.

Tai O, the fishing village at the western tip of Lantau with about 3,400 residents, is known as the "Venice of Hong Kong".

Resident Wong Wai-king, who has lived in the village for 40 years, launched an online signature campaign on September 29 with 1,118 signatures collected by yesterday. "We expect to collect more than 3,000 signatures after two months."

The project would turn Tai O into a "synthetic tourist spot", she said. Its unique natural environment would become "a commercialised and ordinary community integrated with a theme park".

Ho Pui Han of the Association for Tai O Environment and Development said the renovation project would kill off the local characteristics and beautiful natural scenery. "Tai O will never be Tai O any more."

A Development Bureau spokesman said the consultation was continuing and a second round of consultation would start in January.

The project is part of the Concept Plan for Lantau published by the government in late 2004, with the aim "to conserve cultural heritage and natural attributes, and revitalise the local community of Tai O".
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 10:55 AM   #338
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
8/26


massive skyline...
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 04:31 PM   #339
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarenz View Post
massive skyline...
That's just the buildings around Olympic Station, a small part of the reclamation in West Kowloon.
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 10:34 PM   #340
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soon Cebu will look like this..

Last edited by Jarenz; November 3rd, 2007 at 11:35 PM.
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