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Old September 11th, 2008, 08:27 PM   #381
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Kowloon City - Le Billionnaire and adjacent car park development :



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Old September 12th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #382
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Raising building age threshold for developers eyed
5 September 2008
Hong Kong Standard

The government is considering tightening the criteria under which developers can buy old buildings for redevelopment by raising the age threshold from 40 to 50 years.

The plan will be tabled at the Legislative Council for discussion by the end of this year.

However, conservationists doubt whether the amendment can slow redevelopment or prevent wall-like buildings from rising in crowded areas.

The Development Bureau said raising the building age criteria in land-sale applications was in reaction to public opinion.

``There are views saying it may not be suitable to set the criteria for old buildings at 40 years old or older. The government is now carefully considering the different views,'' a bureau spokeswoman said.

The government consulted the public through forums, owners' representatives, academics and telephone surveys early this year, followed by a Legco panel discussion in March.

The new amendment to the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance follows another suggestion early this year to relax ownership criteria wherein developers could submit a land- sale application with only 80 percent of the building's owners agreeing instead of 90 percent.

``Whether both or either one of the suggestions will be put in the amendment of the ordinance remains open to consultation,'' the spokeswoman said.

Green Sense project manager Gabrielle Ho Kar-po doubted whether an increase in building age requirements can prevent overdevelopment of old districts.

``Most of the old buildings in the land-sale applications are or would be 50 years old in a couple of years,'' she said.

Ho said the ownership criteria should not be lowered, warning of the consequence of seeing wall-like buildings in crowded parts of the city.

``We believe the government is bowing to pressure from the developers,'' she said.

Developer Richfield Group's Au Wing-wah supported relaxing the ownership criteria.
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Old September 12th, 2008, 08:39 PM   #383
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Authority's mission is to build a better tomorrow
Statutory body implements strategic "Four Rs" plan which aims to revitalise and preserve sections of the district
27 August 2008
South China Morning Post

At the heart of much of the redevelopment being undertaken in the Wan Chai district is the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), whose mission is to "create quality and vibrant urban living in Hong Kong".

A substantial part of the URA's recent work has focused on Wan Chai, and has seen the authority working closely with developers, the local community and the government, over some controversial redevelopment plans, such as the development of the Wan Chai market and Lee Tung (Wedding Card) Street. It is also working on a host of other plans that aim to revitalise and preserve specific areas of the district.

"The main aim of the URA is, through different ways of renewal and redevelopment, to improve the living and working environment in the urban cores of Hong Kong," said Iris Tam Siu-ying, executive director, planning and development of the URA.

Ms Tam said that the authority had implemented a "Four Rs" plan in Wan Chai, covering rehabilitation, redevelopment, preservation and revitalisation.

"We started with the rehabilitation of buildings in the district that were over 20 years old. These buildings tend to be 15 to 20 storeys high and are in some state of disrepair," Ms Tam explained.

"The problems with these buildings began back when they were built in the '50s and '60s. There was a water shortage in the '60s and, as a result, the concrete used to build many of the buildings in Wan Chai was mixed with seawater."

Over time, the seawater caused the steel frames of these buildings to rust, and led to many of the buildings becoming structurally unsound.

"As well as this problem, many of these buildings lack the basic amenities that newer buildings have, such as lifts and essential fire protection measures," Ms Tam said.

The owners of apartments in these buildings often had their own owners' incorporations, she said, which gave them a mechanism of coming together and deciding to rehabilitate. Once a decision is made, they can approach the URA for assistance.

"Then we help with the rehabilitation by giving them technical advice, by helping them with materials, such as paint and pipes, and also providing them with loans. In this way, we come together with the owners to ensure that we arrest the speed of decay.

"Although Wan Chai is such a small area, we have already rehabilitated 102 of these buildings," Ms Tam said.

The second R, redevelopment, has brought in the actual restructuring of certain areas. These projects have seen new commercial and residential developers working closely with the URA to bring much needed office and residential space to the district.

These include The Zenith, a commercial and residential tower completed in 2006, and K.Wah Holdings' the JResidences, which was developed in such a way that it preserved a number of historic buildings around it. For preservation, Ms Tam said, "Wan Chai has been the focus of preservation for our authority".

The URA has worked to preserve sites in the district ranging from an historic 1930s shophouse on Ship Street, to three unique pre-war Chinese-style tenement houses at 186-190 Queen's Road East.

Ms Tam said that the final R, revitalisation, could be split into two parts - hardware and software. "The hardware part is where we try to improve streetscapes to make people in the neighbourhood feel that they are proud of their district, and to help businesses attract more business in a more comfortable pedestrian environment," she said.

"The software part is when we try to create public space and organise activities within the space, with the help of the district council and the local community. These activities are aimed at attracting people to the district."

Ms Tam said that in Wan Chai there were more than a dozen heritage sites, and the URA planned to introduce a Heritage Trail linking all of the sites, with explanations and histories of the district as a whole and of the individual buildings.

"This is so locals and tourists can follow the trail to help them understand Wan Chai better." Alongside the four Rs are environmental considerations that the URA ensures are taken into account. In recent years, every development agreement the authority has with developers has included stringent stipulations that aim to reduce any negative effects on the environment.

"The agreements include a comprehensive environmental protection chapter, from demolition methods, waste separation and construction methods to materials used in the building. We also stipulate energy saving recommendations."

Ms Tam said that the work the URA had done in Wan Chai would ensure it had a great future and, in terms of preservation of historic sites, she still saw a lot of potential in Wan Chai district.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #384
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Repulse Bay rule: keep the developers happy
10 September 2008
South China Morning Post

The Planning Department and its rubber-stamp accomplice, the Town Planning Board, continue to be among the least transparent of government bodies, wielding huge influence not only over the physical aspects of Hong Kong but over the creation of wealth through zoning powers, too.

It is nearly two years since I wrote here about the appalling state of buildings along Repulse Bay's famous beach. The southern one-third is occupied by an Emperor Group development that was supposed to have been completed in 2003 but remains to be opened - thanks to the Planning Department's failure to impose rules on influential developers. Emperor did not have to pay any penalty for eight years of creating an ugly construction site, impeding direct access to the beach and depriving visitors of anywhere to eat and drink.

Finally, in place of the original collection of low-rise restaurants, stalls and bars is a soon-to-be-opened five-storey, 180-metre-long, glass-walled monolith. This 166,000 sq ft, energy- hungry monster is called a "multi-function leisure arcade".

The other end of the beach is occupied by a low-rise building that was, for 60 years, a landmark restaurant for beachgoers and tourists but has been closed for the past four years, after the government refused to issue a new lease. Now we know why. Having deprived tourists of this facility, the government via the Town Planning Board has hatched plans to redevelop the building and a neighbouring car park, rezoning it with increased height to allow a hotel or commercial development. A department that had tourists and the public interest at heart would long ago have re-tendered the existing building to a group able to renovate it and make it into a beach equivalent of the Peak Cafe (now the Peak Lookout). But no.

Even though the Emperor development has been long delayed - suggesting that the beach is not the best place for yet more indoor shopping and entertainment - the Planning Department is doing what it does best: finding excuses for raising height restrictions and creating work for contractors.

The proposal to allow a hotel is particularly bizarre given the Planning Department's never-explained decision to rezone a nearby residential building as a hotel. I refer to the block at 129 Repulse Bay Road, owned by the Chinachem Group. The site was acquired in 1997 for the then record price of HK$5.5 billion. Four and a half years and another HK$2.5 billion saw the construction of a 24-floor apartment block remarkable for its curved design.

This was originally attributed to Lord Foster, although Arthur C.S. Kwok Architects and Associates is officially given as the architect. Some admire it, some hate it, but you cannot miss it. Though given an occupation permit in March 2003, it remains unoccupied.

It is another of the mysteries of Chinachem, Hong Kong's biggest business black hole. When controlled by the late Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, Chinachem was given permission by the Planning Department to change the apartment building to hotel use though it lies within the Outline Zoning Plan's area - deemed exclusively residential. There was no public discussion of the change, which leaked out rather than being announced.

The commercial logic of a hotel there is dubious, and the conversion costs could run to another HK$1 billion. That may be why nothing has happened. So, although another Southside property boom has come and gone, a residential building sits there with lights twinkling but no one at home.

As the project has already cost probably HK$12 billion in direct, interest and opportunity costs, maybe Chinachem will be willing to throw another HK$1 billion or more at it to make it into a hotel. Who knows? And does the Planning Department care, as long as the developers - who are such stalwart supporters of the government and its top ex-employees - are happy?

Philip Bowring is a Hong Kong-based journalist and commentator
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 02:42 PM   #385
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Live smart in a hi-tech high-rise
Ipec package satisfies residents' needs for security, work, entertainment and lifestyle at hip Soho38 designer flats

12 September 2008
South China Morning Post

Web : http://www.soho38.com/

It's Friday lunchtime at the office, Clara is organising a house-warming party for her new place in Soho38 in the evening. Being a perfectionist, she is determined to make it a night to remember.

Clara is not worried. She realises she can rely on the built-in Smart Living solutions available in Soho38, the new residential project located on 38Shelley Street in Central. She will be her own "digital butler" ensuring all the details will be done exactly to her taste, hassle-free.

Through her personal computer (PC) at the office, the young professional books the sky garden for the barbecue by accessing the building's intranet via the internet.

At a gourmet grocery store, Clara dials into the building's intranet with her mobile phone to switch on the radio frequency-activated e-ion purifying air conditioner and raise the shades in the living room.

With a touch of her Soho38 Smart Card on the Samsung intelligent door lock, the door of her apartment springs open. The gorgeous evening view of the Central skyline and a cool, fresh breeze greet Clara as she kicks off her shoes and pampers herself with the luxury of digital living.

Clara prepares for the after-dinner entertainment by accessing the Windows Vista Home Premium and Media Centre in her PC at home to record the concluding episode of her favourite television series. To create the mood for the evening, she also streams some modern jazz from the Media Centre's music library into her home entertainment system.

Through the webcam installed in the living room, Clara proudly shows off the summer pudding she has prepared to her mother in Canada. But a shout on her Home Touch Wireless Portable Video Door Phone cuts short their conversation. On the phone's display she sees her guests have arrived for the evening.

Developed by Kerry Properties, Soho38 offers its Ipec package (which stands for intelligent home, productivity, entertainment and connectivity) of smart solutions to satisfy residents' needs for security, work, entertainment and lifestyle. This convergence of PCs, consumer electronics and mobile technologies is the end result of the collaboration between the property developer and various leading information technology (IT) brands, including Cisco, HP, Home Touch and Microsoft.

The entire building, including all the units and common areas, such as the lobby and clubhouse, are wired with Cisco's Wi-fi system combined with its latest internet protocol (IP) and networking platform. "With the powerful Wi-fi as the foundation, we have built several major aspects of the Smart Living solution, such as home automation," said Semy Ng, assistant general manager for marketing at Kerry Real Estate Agency.

The home automation system enables residents to control all appliances that are activated by their built-in radio frequency devices. By synchronising these appliances with the Wi-fi, residents can also control them via the intranet of Soho38, through the PC or mobile phone, regardless of where they are. The intranet was protected by individual log-in accounts, she said.

The comprehensive Wi-fi system in the building was the backbone which enabled the residents of Soho38 to personalise the home automation of their units by adding the latest digital gadgets and radio frequency-activated appliances available on the market, said Kimmy Lau, senior marketing manager of Kerry Real Estate Agency.

Soho38 features one of the most advanced wireless video door phones available in local residential projects. Supported by the Wi-fi network, residents can take care of their security and other modern lifestyle needs with this handy gadget.

Each residential unit has its own server to receive Wi-fi signals from the door phone and the server sends out radio frequency signals controlling home appliances.

Not only does the Home Touch Video Door Phone enable residents to control home appliances and open the lobby doors for visitors, it is also the communication platform for residents and the concierge. "For example, you can use it to ask the front desk to help you call for a taxi," Ms Ng continued. "In addition, the wireless door phone is also the intercom system that connects all residents in Soho38."

To make Soho38 a versatile place as a home office and an entertainment centre, the developer provides residents of each unit with the latest HP Pavilion S-Series personal computer. The PC features Intel Core 2 Duo processor E4600, with memory of 3GB DDR2, a hard drive of 500GB, and Serial ATA hard drive at 7,200 RPM. The PC is also broadband-ready.

Powered by the Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium and Media Centre, the HP PC provides residents with total control over a vast selection of entertainment. The PC has a built-in single PAL TV tuner with a personal video recorder function. It also features 256MB dedicated graphics memory, and HDMI and DVI capabilities.

Through the powerful Media Centre, residents can record their favourite TV programmes, and listen to music or radio broadcasts by accessing the music library section. With Windows Vista's user-friendly interface, residents can choose to watch DVDs, or view their digital photos and videos on their connected home theatre setups.

The centre's Facilities interface also enables residents to make bookings for the various facilities available at the clubhouse of the building. As part of the digital home office solution, the PC is installed with the Microsoft Office Small Business 2007.

Technical specialists at Home Touch helped residents programme all the home automation when they moved in, Ms Ng said. Maintenance and trouble-shooting services are provided by Home Touch and technicians booked by the concierge.

Within a short walk from Central, Soho38 targeted IT-savvy professionals who worked in the district and enjoyed hanging out in Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo, Ms Ng said. "That's why we have built the facilities of the Smart Living concept and our hospitality service around the needs of these professionals."

The green technology incorporated in the planning and construction of Soho38 also appeals to environmentally conscious young urban professionals. The project had attained the Platinum Standard of the Building Environmental Assessment Method (Beam) for New Buildings (4/04) Version by the HK-Beam Society, Ms Lau said.

Kerry Properties is controlled by the Kuok Group, the controlling shareholder of the SCMP Group, which publishes the South China Morning Post.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:07 PM   #386
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Sino Land slates more projects for completion
Firm's profit falls 13.6pc to HK$3.4b

18 September 2008
South China Morning Post

Sino Land aims to complete six residential projects with a total gross floor area of 3.95 million square feet for this financial year to June, up 266 per cent from 1.08 million sqft in the past year.

The developer completed five retail and residential projects in the past financial year.

Four projects have been sold and made a contribution during the period. The remaining project, One Madison in Cheung Sha Wan, will be launched in the market shortly.

Sino Land said it planned to complete six residential projects and three commercial projects with a total floor area of 5.13 million sqft during this financial year.

It said it had sold more than 80 per cent of the 1,375-unit Palazzo development in Ma On Shan and the earnings would be booked this financial year.

Eric Yuen Chi-fung, an analyst at Dao Heng Securities, said core earnings from the project hinged on the bonus payment to the MTR Corp by the developer based on the tender terms.

Mr Yuen expected core earnings to range from HK$3 billion to HK$6 billion.

While the Hong Kong and mainland property markets face a correction, he expected Sino Land's underlying profit to rise because earnings from the Palazzo, a major project, had been secured.

Sino Land suffered from a lack of completed projects this financial year, hitting its profits.

The developer yesterday said underlying profit dropped 13.6 per cent to HK$3.37 billion for the year to June.

Including a property revaluation gain of HK$4.35 billion, net profit jumped 23.2 per cent to HK$7.72 billion from a year earlier. Turnover dropped 17 per cent to HK$6.25 billion.

Revenue from property sales fell 32 per cent to HK$3.63 billion, with contributions mainly from the sales of the remaining units at Vision City in Tsuen Wan and One SilverSea in West Kowloon, and also two new small-scale residential projects in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Rental income rose 25 per cent to HK$1.44 billion from a year ago, lifted by rental increases and the completion of Citywalk shopping mall in Tsuen Wan.

The company proposed to declare a final dividend of 30 HK cents per share.

Meanwhile, Tsim Sha Tsui Properties said net attributable profit rose 39 per cent to HK$4.68 billion from HK$3.36 billion in the previous year, but turnover fell to HK$6.34 billion from HK$7.6 billion.

Sino Hotels (Holdings), Sino Group's hotel division, said net profit jumped 21.4 per cent to HK$104 million for the year to June, thanks to the improvement in business and tourist arrivals. Turnover rose 9.89 per cent to HK$227 million.

Its shares stayed at HK$3.53 yesterday.

Shares in Sino Land dropped 0.7 per cent to end at HK$9.99 yesterday, while Tsim Sha Tsui Properties' shares fell 0.57 per cent to close at HK$26.30.
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Old October 16th, 2008, 08:27 AM   #387
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Teeth added to rules on saleable area
Developers can be punished for mis-measuring flats for sale

11 October 2008
South China Morning Post

Private developers could be banned from selling an uncompleted project if they measure the flats' saleable areas incorrectly, under a new rule that took effect yesterday.

The new rule seeks to help homebuyers work out exactly what size flat they are getting; it defines saleable area as only the internal area of a unit plus any balconies and utility platforms. Saleable area is calculated by subtracting a share of the common area, bay windows and the plant room from the gross floor area.

The Lands Department incorporated this definition yesterday under its Consent Scheme - a set of conditions that developers must comply with when they put uncompleted flats on sale.

If developers fail to follow the rules, the Lands Department could hold up, or withdraw, its consent.

In a related move, the Real Estate Developers Association has issued new guidelines and a standardised format of price lists to members.

The principal assistant secretary for transport and housing, Eugene Fung Kin-yip, said yesterday the new move had the support of the industry, and he believed it could clear up information presented in sales descriptions for uncompleted new flats.

But the new rule would not apply to projects approved before yesterday: developers may use the old practice for such sales.

"There will unavoidably be a transitional period during which we have two practices running in parallel," said Mr Fung. "But we hope that, after some time, such a situation will not recur." It could have made the situation more complicated and confusing if the new rule were applied to sales of all properties, whether new or resales.

Association vice-chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin asked the Consumer Council to help promote the new rule. He said homebuyers might need time to get used to the new practice, as the sales descriptions of flats could look more complicated with the additional information.

Pang Shiu-kee, the managing director of surveying firm SK Pang, said developers should follow the new practice even in the sale of projects approved previously. "It gives prospective buyers a more useful reference, and can remove possible confusion caused by having two sets of definitions in use on the market," he said.

The Estate Agents Authority will organise briefings in the next few weeks for property consultants on the new standardised definition and the association's new price list format, a spokesman said.

Consumer Council chief executive Connie Lau Yin-hing, who had fought for a new formula to protect homebuyers, welcomed the move yesterday.

The issue of saleable area has been unresolved since the 1990s property boom, when buyers complained that their actual living space was shrinking as common areas were included in quoted floor areas.

The Institute of Surveyors issued a set of guidelines this year. However, some grey areas remained unsolved. One ambiguity related to the area of bay windows, which are sometimes counted as floor area.

It later issued a supplement on measuring practices, which says bay windows, parking spaces, flat roofs, terraces and other things should not be included in saleable area.
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Old October 18th, 2008, 06:43 PM   #388
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Rising construction costs force 35 projects to seek extra funding
17 October 2008
South China Morning Post

The surge in construction costs in the past year has forced the administration to seek an additional HK$2.8 billion from the Legislative Council to complete 35 big public works projects, the Development Bureau said.

In a paper submitted to Legco's development panel, it said the funding approved earlier was insufficient and a wide range of projects could be held up.

Of those affected, 25 have been started, eight have been put out to tender and the other two will be put out to tender next month.

The bureau said funding approval was "highly time-critical".

Among the projects under way are an extension for Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, construction of the Route 8 expressway between Tsing Yi and Cheung Sha Wan, a waterfront parade in Ma On Shan and a new Customs and Excise Department headquarters in North Point.

Construction costs for the hospital extension had risen 15 per cent, or HK$288.6 million. The cost of Route 8 had risen 8 per cent, or HK$600 million, the bureau said.

The government anticipated materials prices would fall at the time Route 8 was approved, it said.

The biggest cost underestimation occurred on a project to extend the network of footbridges in Tsuen Wan. It will cost 54 per cent more than expected. The next-biggest cost blowout involves restoration work on landfills in the northwestern New Territories and at Gin Drinkers Bay in Kwai Chung. Costs have risen 51 per cent.

Increases in material prices and labour costs have given rise to two problems. Projects under construction have a price-fluctuation provision in the contract, and the funding approved will not be enough to meet the price adjustments. Tenders for projects not yet started far exceed the funding allocated for them.

Government figures show the cost of steel has risen 48 per cent since January, 90 per cent since July last year and 150 per cent since January 2007.

Civil engineer Greg Wong Chak-yan said the extra funding was needed despite the looming impact of the global financial crisis. "Some contractors have already bought construction materials and some contracts have already been awarded.

"A sharp increase in construction costs is unavoidable unless the government postpones the tendering for some projects," he said.

Peter Wong Yiu-sun, president of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, said the sudden rise in construction costs could not have been foreseen. The contingencies in project contracts to cover unforeseeable risks were far from sufficient to cover the surge in construction costs, he said.

Patrick Lau Sau-shing, vice-chairman of the Legislative Council's Finance Committee, said lawmakers would request that the administration explain clearly the cost increases before approving extra funds.
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Old October 20th, 2008, 06:36 PM   #389
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Prices cut as Seasons Monarch opens sales
2 October 2008
Hong Kong Standard



Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) lowered the selling price of the 20 units comprising the first batch of its Yuen Long residential project, Seasons Monarch, which goes on sale today amid weak sentiment in the property market.

Flat prices start from HK$6.61 million each, 17.4 percent lower than the HK$8 million previously indicated. The most expensive unit is HK$9.2 million.

The 20 units are sized between 1,632 square feet and 1,708 sq ft each. The average selling price is HK$4,343 per square foot.

``Prices are not low given the project's quality,'' said Midland Realty assistant associate director Dick Lam.

``About 2,000 people visited the showroom'' yesterday, he said.

Lam said units at the Palm Springs development in Yuen Long are selling at an average of HK$4,500 psf, while Fairview Park goes for HK$4,200 psf.

The developer expects to generate HK$140 million in revenue from the first batch of Seasons Monarch units.

However, its sale is not expected to boost the lackluster property market.

``It's because only a few units are going to be launched and its sale will not reflect the situation of the mass market,'' said Midland Realty chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai.

``Prices have already dropped 10 percent in the residential market overall amid stocks volatility and the fall of Lehman Brothers,'' said Richard Lee Chi-shing, executive director of Hong Kong Property.

He said prices at Harbour Place, developed by New World Development (0017) and Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) in Hung Hom, have dropped 10 to 15 percent recently.

``But it's early to say how many buyers would forfeit the downpayment to cancel the deal as the units were only presold and the development is not yet built,'' Lee said.

Transactions of secondary residential units last month are expected to decline to less than 5,000 deals, a drop of 10 percent from the previous month, said Lau.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 04:19 AM   #390
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Sino boosts leasing portfolio
Redeveloped Vista Cove, two other projects in the pipeline

15 October 2008
South China Morning Post

Developer Sino Group plans to launch Vista Cove, a redevelopment project for lease in Tsing Lung Tau, Tsuen Wan, later this month.

Located at 132 Castle Peak Road, the property formerly known as Bayside Villas provides 16 two-storey waterfront houses ranging from 1,788 to 2,128 square feet and will be the only new release in the area this year.

Victor Tin Sio-un, an assistant general manager of Sino Group's leasing department, said the developer was targeting monthly rents of at least HK$65,000 for the houses.

Mr Tin said the group had so far received 80 inquiries about the project, even though the marketing campaign had not yet been launched.

The redeveloped property represents the first step by Sino Land to strengthen its leasing portfolio this year. It plans to launch two more new projects targeting the high-end residential leasing market next year.

Under redevelopment and scheduled for completion next year is the former Grand Bay Villas at 115 Castle Peak Road in Tsing Lung Tau. The project comprises nine houses for lease.

The second leasing project is the 38 Repulse Bay Road redevelopment near Manhattan Tower. The development scale has not been finalised, but Mr Tin said the project would be completed next year.

Since most of the demand for high-end residential leasing units came from executives of multinational companies, particularly financial institutions, and because the outlook for the market had been clouded by the global financial turmoil, the group had set about changing its target market, said Mr Tin.

Since early this year, it had reduced its dependence on tenants from the finance sector to about 30 per cent, from 50 per cent before adopting the strategy. More tenants were now coming from professional services sectors such as accounting and legal firms, representing 40 per cent of all tenants.

Mr Tin said because of a tight supply of luxury residential accommodation, rents for the houses had risen more than 15 per cent in the past three quarters while rents for luxury flats had gone up 10 per cent. The vacancy rate of the group's residential portfolio was just 1 per cent.

The negative impact of the market turmoil on luxury residential leasing was likely to remain limited, said Mr Tin.

"Business won't just stop, but prospective tenants may take a longer time to decide as choices in the leasing market have increased," he said.

The budgets of tenants might be somewhat reduced in the present economic climate, but as flats in the group's portfolio ranged from 600 to 8,000 sq ft, they met the requirements of a range of tenants and budgets.

"The portfolio can therefore maintain a stable rental income."

As demand and requirements for leasing properties had changed, Mr Tin said the company would provide a flexible leasing term of as short as two to three months, compared with two years for past lease.

It would also offer fully furnished units and enhanced services to lure tenants. "We may not see strong growth in rents in the near future, but they are unlikely to drop significantly as new supply is limited," Mr Tin said.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 08:51 AM   #391
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半山壹號 Celestial Heights
Expected Completion : Mid-2009

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Old October 21st, 2008, 11:54 AM   #392
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I thought there was a Disneyland construction thread around here but couldn't find it, so I'll post it in here.

Hong Kong Disneyland firms up finances to boost expansion
1 October 2008
Agence France Presse

Hong Kong Disneyland has switched its hefty commercial loans to its US parent company, a spokesman said Wednesday, bringing the theme park a step closer to much-needed expansion.

The park, which recently celebrated its third anniversary in the southern Chinese city, has switched 3.3 billion Hong Kong dollars (423 million US) of loans and credit with banks to the Walt Disney Company, the spokesman said.

"Both the government and the Walt Disney Company are very happy we have come to this agreement," the spokesman told AFP.

"We can now focus on the further development of the park and more expansion."

The spokesman would not give the terms of the new deal but said the conditions were more favourable than its previous arrangements. The South China Morning Post said the new lending was just 1.5 percent above interbank rates.

The proposal was first put to the Hong Kong government, which owns 57 percent of the park, in June before being given the green light on Tuesday, the spokesman added.

Reports have said the government and the company have been at odds over the deal, after the park has performed below expectations in terms of visitor numbers.

New Hong Kong Disneyland chief executive Andrew Kam said last month that expanding the park was a priority, as it aims to lure more visitors.

The management has repeatedly refused to confirm visitor figures despite the huge public investment, but a recent newspaper report said numbers would hit 5.6 million in the third year, still well below prior expectations.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 12:33 PM   #393
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Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (賽馬會創意藝術中心) Redevelopment
Source : http://www.fotop.net/jacklau/jacklau118



























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Old October 21st, 2008, 01:39 PM   #394
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INTERVIEW:HK Industrial Property Seen A Safe Bet Amid Crisis
17 October 2008

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Hong Kong's warehouses and logistics centers could prove a safe investment choice during the current financial turmoil because of continuing growth in port activity, an executive at a Hong Kong-focused industrial property fund says.

While recently booming residential and commercial property prices tumble as the economic crisis unfolds, leases on warehouses and industrial property are unlikely to be renewed at a lower level during the next 12 months, Daniel McDonald, managing director of Macquarie Goodman Asia Ltd., told Dow Jones Newswires in a recent interview.

"I think we won't see any negative rental growth. Hong Kong is one of the world's busiest ports and it is still growing, although the growth of Hong Kong (ports) isn't as strong as it has been," McDonald said.

"There is just no stock for our customers to go to. Plus our leases are between three to five years, whereas traditionally in Hong Kong, they are two-year leases. For us, it is more about locking in tenants for a long period of time with a lower growth, but sustained growth," he said.

Real-estate adviser Colliers International Ltd. said in a recent research report that Hong Kong's warehouses and logistics real estate will be "the most resilient sub-sector" of the city's property market.

"Despite the near-term challenge arising from the consolidation of the financial sector and the prospective economic slowdown, the uniqueness of Hong Kong, as southern China's major port, should enable the logistics industry to capture the prospective growth in China over the medium to long term," Colliers said.

McDonald said the average monthly rent of Macquarie Goodman Asia's industrial property in Hong Kong ranges from HK$4.50 (US$0.58) a square foot to HK$10.00 a square foot, depending on how far away it is from the ports and the facilities it provides. The rents are much lower than Hong Kong prime office rents, which are above HK$120.00 a square foot.

Macquarie Goodman Asia, a 50:50 joint venture between Goodman Group (GMG.AU) and Macquarie Group (MQG.AU), both of Australia, manages 18 industrial properties in Hong Kong, with a total gross floor area of 8.7 million square feet and a book value of more than HK$9 billion.

Macquarie Goodman Asia is also redeveloping two sites near Kwai Chung Container Terminals, Hong Kong's main port, into warehouses and a distribution facility. It expects the work to be completed by late 2010 or early 2011.

The two projects, called Seaview and Interlink, will provide Macquarie Goodman Asia with a leasable area of 3.7 million square feet.

McDonald said about 60% of the space has been "pre-committed" by tenants through heads of agreement, which are not legally binding.

He said about half of those potential tenants are headquartered in the U.S. and Europe. Some may back out of the agreements as the economic crisis unfolds, but the major tenants are likely to go ahead, he said.

"We have one big deal. The customer is based in the States and today their sign is still going ahead. Some of our customers are based in Germany, a lot are based in Hong Kong as well. Hong Kong customers are going along and they are still asking us about the space on a daily basis," he added.

Separately, Macquarie Goodman Asia said in a statement Friday that Macquarie Goodman Hong Kong Logistics Fund, one of the company's funds, raised HK$2.7 billion in new equity and debt.

The statement said the company was "pleased" with the result given market conditions.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 01:45 PM   #395
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HK Developers Slow New Home Construction - Govt Data
20 October 2008

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Hong Kong property developers have slowed down the pace of building new homes, government data show.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, developers started construction of 5,900 new homes, or 26% less than 8,000 units in the same period in 2007, according to data by Transport and Housing Bureau.

Construction of 3,000 units were completed in the first nine months this year, or 32% less than 4,400 units a year earlier, the data showed.

There are 53,000 units that are completed but unsold as of end-September, compared with 56,000 units at the same time last year, according to the data.

The government didn't elaborate on the data.

Hong Kong property transactions and prices are falling, as slowing global economy and weaker stock markets are deterring some people from buying apartments.

In September, Hong Kong had 7,369 property transactions, down 30% from a year earlier, while total value of transactions fell 29% to HK$23.6 billion.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 03:20 PM   #396
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半山壹號 Celestial Heights
Expected Completion : Mid-2009









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Old October 21st, 2008, 07:49 PM   #397
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深井The Westminster Terrace明年推
2008-07-17
(綜合報道)(星島日報報道)


First posted by SillYIN at skyscrapers.cn

由高富諾(Grosvenor)及泛海合作發展的青山公路深井豪宅項目,已命名為The Westminster Terrace,共提供五十九個複式單位,面積由三千至五千方呎,預料於明年首季以現樓形式推售。另外,泛海旗下香港仔南灣御園,外籍買家比例有上升趨勢。

高富諾亞洲區董事韓家輝表示,The Westminster Terrace為單幢式豪宅物業,樓高三十九層,總樓面達二十萬方呎,共提供五十九伙,每戶均為複式單位,預計可於明年首季落成,現時已申請預售樓花同意書,興建工程已完成三分之二,發展商傾向於明年以現樓方式推售,以便打造現樓示範單位,呎價將參考市場同類物業。

韓家輝又指,美國經濟不穩有利資金流入香港,對後市感樂觀,並尤為看好豪宅表現;另外,該集團早前於上海購入三幢物業作收租用途,而在東京亦有發展項目,而集團稍後將計畫成立專門投資商場的零售投資基金。

此外,泛海國際主席馮兆滔表示,旗下香港仔南灣御園早前調價只為測試市場反應,強調此舉並非減價,由於看俏後市,故不急於推售;該集團執行董事關堡林補充,現時南灣御園已售出逾四十伙,用家約佔七成,近日外籍買家的比例亦有上升趨勢。
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 04:31 AM   #398
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Kowloon and island luxury site sales net Cheung Kong HK$2.5b
27 September 2008
South China Morning Post

Cheung Kong (Holdings) has sold the former headquarters site of Asia Television in Kowloon Tong and a luxury residential site in Mid-Levels for about HK$2.5 billion to a United States fund.

Justin Chiu Kwok-hung, an executive director at Cheung Kong, yesterday said the company had signed an agreement of sale and purchase with an unnamed US state pension fund. The developer has also received the deposit.

"We can't disclose the price but it is close to HK$2.5 billion," Mr Chiu said.

The developer sold the sites at 81 Broadcast Drive in Kowloon Tong and 16-18 Conduit Road in Mid-Levels to the fund.

According to the sales agreement, Cheung Kong is responsible for building a 103-unit project in Kowloon and a 35-unit project on Hong Kong Island for the buyer. The projects are scheduled for completion in 2010.

Mr Chiu said the buyer bought the properties for long-term investment.

Cheung Kong is expected to generate an attractive profit as the sites were bought for HK$790 million.

Home prices in the areas around the sites are about HK$12,000 and HK$15,000 per square foot respectively, in line with neighbouring properties.

A property agent said the average price of Kowloon Development's 31 Robinson Road luxury project, close to the Conduit Road site, was about HK$16,000 per square foot.

The sales are a sign that the developer may not be expecting prices to rise further, an analyst said.

"The outlook for the property market is uncertain," the analyst said. "It's a good deal for Cheung Kong {hellip} as the fund's offer is attractive."

Meanwhile, 15 developers yesterday showed an interest in the Urban Renewal Authority's "Wedding Card Street" redevelopment project in Wan Chai which could be turned into a commercial and residential project with a total gross floor area of 835,000 square feet.

Cheung Kong, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land, Hopewell Holdings, New World Development, K Wah Real Estates and Chinese Estates Holdings submitted expressions of interest yesterday after invitations went out last month.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 04:57 AM   #399
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Crisis slows property transactions in secondary market
20 October 2008
Hong Kong Standard

Sentiment in the residential property sector remains weak and transactions in the secondary market are expected to fall by as much as 10 percent in the wake of the financial crisis.

Hong Kong Property Services said that as of October 16, monthly transactions in the secondary market had fallen 16 percent from the previous month to 2,339 deals. ``The market adjustment is expected to continue in the short term and transactions in the secondary market this month will fall below 5,000, a drop of 8 percent from last month,'' said executive director Richard Lee Chi-shing.

Centaline Property Agency associate director for research Wong Leung-sing expects transactions in the secondary market to fall 10.4 percent in October to around 4,000, from 4,466 last month, marking a 34-month low.

There were 23 deals in 10 of the largest housing estates over the weekend, up from 19 over the previous weekend, according to Midland Realty. ``The government's policy not to sell land way below market price and limited supply of new flats can stabilize the market,'' said sales director Gary Yeung Wing-kin.

Centaline said a 1,137-square-foot apartment at Taikoo Shing in Hong Kong Island East sold for HK$6 million, or HK$5,277 per square foot, the lowest there since the SARS period of 2003.

Hong Kong Property Services said about 40 percent of flat owners at Laguna Verde, in Hung Hom, were willing to cut prices by between 5 and 15 percent.

The real estate agent sold a 1,148 sqft unit at the development for HK$6.95 million, or HK$6,054 psf. This, it said, was more than 10 percent lower than the prevailing market value.

Meanwhile, Sino Land (0083) recorded nearly 90 transactions averaging HK$6,200 psf at The Dynasty development in Tsuen Wan during its October 7 launch. The developer said the project's show flats attracted more than 10,000 people over the weekend, bringing total visitors to more than 70,000.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 06:53 AM   #400
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HK developers prepare to launch 12 projects amid signs of recovery
10 September 2008
South China Morning Post

Buoyed by signs of a recovery in demand for quality flats, developers plan to launch 12 new residential projects offering a total of 9,163 units in Hong Kong in the next few months, say agents.

The move follows encouraging sales recorded recently by Le Bleu Deux in Tung Chung, and Soho 38 in Central, according to Fredy Wu Yat-fat, the chief executive of Hong Kong Property Agency.

Three projects - Seasons Monarch, a low-density residential project by Cheung Kong (Holdings) in Yuen Long; Hongkong Land Holdings' Sail at Victoria in Kennedy Town; and Wheelock Properties' Babington in Western - are expected to pre-sell shortly.

Seasons Monarch in Kam Tin, to the north of the Shek Kong Barracks, provides 244 villas and semi-detached houses ranging from 2,700 to 5,000 square feet. It is the third phase of the Seasons Villa development and asking prices are expected to range between HK$8 million and HK$12 million per unit.

But the project looks likely to face strong competition from developments planned for release at the same time, with Sun Hung Kai Properties due to launch two low-density projects in Yuen Long by the end of the year. The SHKP developments are La Maison Vineyard in Ngau Tam Mei - the second phase of the Vineyard project - and One Hyde Park in Tai Tong.


La Maison Vineyard provides 26 houses ranging in size from 2,000 to 2,500 sq ft. The minimum entry prices for the units are expected to be about HK$20 million each, according to SHKP.

Ricacorp Properties managing director Willy Liu Wai-keung said other large projects due for release later this year included SHKP's Cullinan at Kowloon Station; Nan Fung Development's Tai Kok Tsui project; Cheung Kong's Tai Wai project; and Henderson Land's Wu Kai Sha project - all of which were planned for pre-sale at year-end.

Mr Liu said he expected buyers to respond positively to the new supply and help lift prices in the primary market by some 5 per cent by the year-end.

Mr Wu said the sales performance of Soho 38 and Le Bleu Deux had proved that demand remained strong.

"Prices at Soho 38 reached HK$25,000 per square foot, while Le Bleu Deux sold 400 units within two weeks at prices that were 20 to 30 per cent higher than the secondary market in the district," he said.

"This proved that projects could still command record strong sales if they were of a good quality."

But while sentiment in the primary market was showing signs of picking up, data on secondary market deals continue to track a decline in demand.

David Chan, a director at Ricacorp Properties, said sales in the leading 50 housing estates monitored by the firm amounted to 219 last week - down 11 per cent from a week earlier. Its research also showed that the average price of deals done in the housing estates was down 0.6 per cent - the 11th consecutive weekly decline.

He believed the poor performance in the secondary market was due to the stock market slump and the launch of Le Bleu Deux, which had attracted the attention of potential buyers, and that deal volumes could rebound this week as no new projects would be launched.

Although transaction volumes might rise, prices in the secondary market could continue to fall, he said.
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