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Old August 13th, 2005, 09:13 AM   #41
newyorkrunaway1
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this is real good news i think for hk! They needed to do some urban renewal and fix up what they messed up! the city!
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Old August 18th, 2005, 11:38 PM   #42
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SHK outbids rivals for Island project
Raymond Wang, Hong Kong Standard
August 18, 2005

Sun Hung Kai Properties won its second housing project on Hong Kong Island in two months, outbidding five rivals for a HK$400 million development site in North Point.

The company, Hong Kong's largest real estate developer by market value, confirmed on Wednesday that it bought Minster Court from China Resources Group through a private tender arranged by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Industry analysts said the existing 27-story residential building on a 12,000-square-foot site at 38 Ming Yuen West Street can be redeveloped into a 40-story residential tower, with better seaviews.

They estimated the project will require an investment cost of more than HK$500 million, including land costs of nearly HK$400 million and construction costs of more than HK$100 million.

The 12-year-old property attracted bids from a number of major developers, including Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Henderson Land.

In late June, Sun Hung Kai Properties beat Nan Fung Development, Cheung Kong and Sino Land to win Southside Villa in Island South via a private tender for HK$1.21 billion.

SHKP is considering redeveloping the nine-year-old luxury property at 9 Shouson Hill Road into a low-rise villa project for nearly HK$2 billion, including land and building costs. Separately, Henderson Land is a leading contender to acquire Lane Crawford House after making a HK$2.4 billion offer for the Central property ahead of the tender deadline next month, market sources said.

The current owner, Wheelock, had received a number of offers from local investors and developers, including Angela Leong, wife of casino tycoon Stanley Ho, and Chinese Estates Holdings, sources said.

Wheelock had no one available for comment.

In another development, Cheung Kong and its partner Nan Fung are poised to reap more than HK$100 million from the sale of two duplex apartments next month.

They are at the Metro Town development above the Tiu Keng Leng MTR station.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 04:56 AM   #43
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Old boomtown faces new woes
Hong Kong Standard
August 8, 2005

Over the past four decades the once-thriving community of Kwun Tong has become one of the poorest districts in Hong Kong. With no immediate plans for urban renewal, the area of 570,000 has now become the focal point of the Poverty Commission, a government body set up earlier this year and headed by Financial Secretary Henry Tang.

Kwun Tong is one of three districts targeted by the commission for a pilot study assessing the level of help needed to alleviate poverty.

Kwun Tong, which lies opposite the old Kai Tak airport runway, was one of the first satellite towns in Hong Kong and the first to have a District Council in 1982.

However, the district traces its roots to the Song Dynasty, in the twelfth and thirteenth century, when it was a boomtown. The area around Kwun Tong's foothills, including Kowloon Bay, was dotted with saltpans which became an important source of government revenue through the production of salt and the collection of taxes from salt producers.

Today, the area is facing rapid urban decay, dotted with old factory blocks and housing estates which were developed in 1960s, a time when large-scale reclamation was carried out along the coast of Kowloon East to provide land for industrial development. The aging population, the decline of manufacturing and decreasing jobs saw the area slip into poverty, according to Ho Hei-wah, director of the Society for Community Organization, a non-governmental organization.

The "old and poor" image is not only demonstrated by the town's appearance but also by the government's statistics.

The median monthly domestic household income of the district in 2004 was HK$13,100, the third lowest in Hong Kong, compared with the territory-wide monthly income of HK$15,500.

The unemployment rate in the district was 8 percent in 2004, ranked sixth highest among the territory's 18 districts.

The district also has the second highest number of old people. The elderly comprise 16.3 percent of the district's population, which is well above the territory-wide average of 11.7 percent. Only one other district, Sham Shui Po, has a larger percentage of elderly people.

Kwun Tong has the highest number of old-age Comprehensive Social Security Allowance cases in the whole of Hong Kong. One resident, Chan Yue-man, 68, is now receiving HK$4,000 from the CSSA monthly which he shares with his wife who emigrated to Hong Kong 18 months ago and who is not eligible for the dole.

He limits his daily spending to no more than HK$50 each day. "It's been many years since I bought any clothes or major article in Hong Kong for the home," Chan said. "Instead, I wait until I get the opportunity to go to the mainland where goods are much cheaper."

Alarmingly, Kwun Tong is now the district with the third highest number of domestic violence cases - both child and spouse abuse.

A Kwun Tong Social Welfare office spokeswoman said the violence was possibly triggered by financial hardship. "Most family violence victims are housewives who were not locally born, and more than 70 percent of the families receiving welfare services for domestic violence involve mainland-Hong Kong couples who rely on the CSSA or have low incomes," the spokesman said.

Currently the Social Welfare Department is carrying out an 18-month trial scheme by holding regular forums on family violence.

Although the government denies it is neglecting the area, authorities have been slow to act to upgrade poverty-stricken neighborhoods through urban redevelopment.

An Urban Renewal Authority spokesman said that although no plan has been started, a five-hectare project will commence in early 2007 involving "dozens of billions of dollars." This project was first announced by the predecessor to the URA, the former Lands Development Authority in 1998.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #44
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they really should preserved those terraces at shing wong street and lee tung street ...
Specially Lee tung street ... this is a crucial piece of history left in wanchai and most importantly even the residents
want to preserve the street ...
anyone who walked along the street would know
how this could easily be rehabitated and turned into a
pedestrian only zone with the same usage as it had been for this past century ...
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 07:29 PM   #45
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Chinese Estates wins Tai Kok Tsui project
Peggy Sito
2 September 2005
South China Morning Post

Chinese Estates Holdings outbid eight contenders to win the development rights to a small residential redevelopment in Tai Kok Tsui.

The project on Larch Street will involve about 152 flats, providing a gross floor area of 119,000 sq ft.

Estimated investment cost is about $500 million.

The Urban Renewal Authority invited tenders for the redevelopment on August 19.

There were bids from players such as Cheung Kong (Holdings), Sino Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Smaller developers included K Wah International and Chuang's Consortium.

The project, which is situated on a 13,000 sq ft site, will be residential with some commercial space and about 4,300 sq ft of landscaped area.

It is expected to be completed by 2009.

Meanwhile, property agents projected sale and purchase agreements signed last month would dip to between 8,830 and 8,930, from July's 8,933.

Centaline Property Agency, however, estimated the value of contracts registered during the month rose 2.9 per cent from July to $29.99 billion, suggesting residential prices remained firm despite the interest-rate increases.

Compared with a year ago, the transaction volume last month jumped more than 25 per cent, according to Centaline Property.

Midland Realty chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai said the purchase volume should top 9,500 this month as developers released more projects.
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Old September 11th, 2005, 07:56 AM   #46
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Three groups join in heritage push on Central site
Andrea Chiu
7 September 2005
Hong Kong Standard

Three groups representing a wide spectrum of Hong Kong's society have jointly called on Chief Executive Donald Tsang to preserve the historical value of the Central Police Station in any future redevelopment plan.

In an open letter to the chief executive, the Conservancy Association, the Central and Western District Council and the Hong Kong Institute of Architects said the public strongly endorses the preservation of "historical ambience'' and "cultural values'' at the Central site.

They also said that 68 percent of the 5,000 people surveyed over the past eight months would rather a charitable non-governmental organization handle the redevelopment of the buildings and compound instead of the government or private developers.

They also urged the government to make the redevelopment a heritage-led project rather than one based on tourism. The letter asks the government to take three key steps to maintain the police compound's historic value.

The first of these should be the setting up of a provisional authority for cultural heritage that should come up with a conservation plan. The authority should be responsible for defining what is ``culturally significant'' so as to ensure the participants follow the conservation plan.

The site was originally developed in 1864, but new blocks were added between 1910 and 1925. It covers 17 buildings that include the Central Police Station, Victoria Prison and the Central Magistracy.

Association vice-chairman Stephen Chan said the site is important to the city because it represents the last remaining evidence of the colonial era.

"This is one of Hong Kong's Victorian relics that still remains,'' he said.

He said it also showed that democracy was in place 140 years ago because the site was a one-stop establishment of the democratic process with a police station, a magistracy and a prison all on one site.

In August last year, the Hotung family made a bid to re-develop the area without tender.

The Hotungs proposed a HK$500 million investment to turn the site into a cultural complex that would include a visual arts academy, a performance center, housing facilities and space for shops and restaurants. The offer was rejected by the government one month later.

But Chan said a redevelopment along the lines of the Hotung proposal would be ideal for the site.

Following the rejection of the Hotung plan, the government faced a number of protests by groups that feared the redevelopment rights would go to the highest bidder without consideration for heritage protection.

"The Central Police Station is important because it is a symbol of British governance,'' Chan said.

"It reflects the past history of Hong Kong, which can be viewed by future generations.''

The chief executive's office said the government could not comment on the letter since it had yet to receive it.

However, a government press release said that Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Stephen Ip had met with the conservationists Tuesday. It said Ip had agreed to examine their suggestions and to continue discussions with the group on the redevelopment of the site.
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Old September 11th, 2005, 07:58 AM   #47
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Yue Man Square redevelopment consultation starts next month
Hong Kong Economic Times
10 September 2005

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) is planning to speed up redevelopment of Yue Man Square in Kwun Tong following the successful operation of apm shopping mall and Millennium City by Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP). Since the opening of apm in March 2005, a new kind of retail mall and shopping concept has been introduced into this old district. Apart from night-time shopping, a group of young customers are also introduced to Kwun Tong.

The Yue Man Square redevelopment plan involves 5 hectares of land, 23 buildings with 1,700 building property rights. It is going to be one the biggest old town redevelopment projects that may last for ten years.

The URA will start district consultation work as early as November 2005 in preparation for the launch of the project. It has short-listed ten local architects to plan and design the new town and will release these designs and overall development plan for consultation in December. It hopes to submit a town planning proposal to the government by 2006 and starts acquiring properties for redevelopment by March 2007.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 06:04 AM   #48
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Ghosts of Central past mount spirited defence
Leong Ka-tai's photographs poignantly capture an ancient tradition that could soon be history

4 September 2005
South China Morning Post

It's noisy, colourful and stands in sharp contrast to slick SoHo. Every summer, the Yue Lan or Hungry Ghost Festival dominates Central for a day. Elderly women spend hours folding gold and silver paper into bullion. To ward off the restless spirits, roast suckling pig and fruit are offered, along with paper Lear jets and Rolls-Royces. The culmination of the event is the burning of the paper offerings in the evening, to keep the ghosts at bay for another year.

Yet this year may have been the last time the festival takes place in Central if the government's plans for its redevelopment are pushed through. The threatened disappearance of the Hungry Ghost Festival is the basis of Coming Near You: The Destruction of Central Hong Kong, the latest exhibition at John Batten Gallery.

Photographer Leong Ka-tai grew up in Central, studied engineering in Texas, then served an apprenticeship with a photographer in Paris. He now lives across the road from his childhood home. Although he concentrates on photo-graphy for publications, Leong had two successful exhibitions about Sars in 2003. City Heroes was launched at the HSBC Building's concourse, and illustrated how quiet, unassuming people can become heroes. Sars Heroes: In the Eye of the Storm was presented in malls such as Sha Tin's New Town Plaza, and examined the disease through those it affected.

"This was like a sort of journal for me," Leong says of his latest exhibition. "In 2001, I had time on my hands, and I decided to photograph what happened during the festival over the course of a day."

Leong sifts through his photos in the John Batten Gallery, explaining each one. "That evening, it was raining," he says. "They told me it rains every year until rice is distributed to the elderly. Then it stops just in time. An old man down the road makes the paper effigy of the Hungry Ghost king on Aberdeen Street from scratch. Many return to pay respects to their ancestors because their ancestral altar is still here."

During the next five years Central Market and former police quarters on Hollywood Road and Aberdeen Street are expected to be sold and redeveloped. Much of the area between Queen's Road Central and Gage Street, and between Bridges Street and Caine Road, may be demolished. Victoria Prison and the former Central Police Station are being considered for commercial use, and developers are building towers such as the 44-storey block near Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road.

All of these changes threaten to alter the area held dear by people such as Batten, Leong and Roger Ho, who worked with Batten on the exhibition. A long-time supporter of Central's preservation, he has published a book on the area titled Hong Kong Heritage Zone.

"Lots of areas in Central are demolished simply for the sake of profit," Ho says. "But Hong Kong began in Central. This area has more history and culture than anywhere else - what will there be left for the next generation?"

Batten says he's not opposed to development. "It's just the way everything is razed to the ground, and developers use every possible space. If you put a tall building up, the area will become highly polluted and congested. A lot of people don't understand that unless they object at the start of the process, there's no legal avenue afterwards."

"What I love about Central is that everything is here," Leong says. "Old, new, Chinese, western - do we want to tear down this neighbourhood so we can build something that's the same as anywhere else in the world? If we let it develop organically, the results will be better than if we were to let the government go ahead with what it has planned.

"We don't necessarily keep buildings because they have artistic merit. Many buildings were considered really ugly when first built. For example, when Dairy Farm opened its cold storage facility on Ice House Street, everyone thought it was a waste of a great location.

"But over time, we grew to love them as the FCC and Fringe Club. How many of these buildings are left in Central? It should be about what they mean to the cultural fabric of a neighbour-hood. I hope this exhibition helps to create more under-standing - that people will reconsider whether we need new shopping malls and new residential blocks at the expense of demolishing the old ones."

Coming Near You: The Destruction of Central Hong Kong, John Batten Gallery, G/F 64 Peel St, Central. Inquiries: 2854 1018. Ends Sept 10
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Old September 13th, 2005, 11:18 PM   #49
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Boost urban renewal, says lawmaker
Carrie Chan
30 August 2005
Hong Kong Standard

Chief Executive Donald Tsang should speed up urban renewal, a pro-government legislator said Monday.

Patrick Lau urged Tsang to fulfill a policy pledge made by his predecessor Tung Chee-hwa who in January said urban renewal would begin in earnest.

Lau said now is the best time to begin renewal as the local property market and government budget deficit are improving. "It is a pity that the Urban Renewal Authority missed a lot of good chances for stepping up its work during the property slump period. Now the property market has revived it makes it difficult to compensate and relocate those residents who are affected by urban redevelopment,'' Lau said.

Lau, an architecture professor turned legislator, said priority should be given to urban renewal instead of Tsang's plan to cut taxes in October's policy address. It is believed that Financial Secretary Henry Tang is studying ways to cut salaries and profits taxes.

Although the government's deficit is "much improved, the middle-class, a major group of taxpayers, does not expect to get a significant tax break and instead are looking forward to better medical, education services and more public works like urban renewal,'' Lau said.

The architectural, surveying and planning sector legislator strongly criticized the government's Urban Renewal Authority for its approach to redevelopment. "Most of my electors are furious over the conservative approach of the authority.

"It has generated huge revenue but reinvests the money to redevelop old and worn out buildings,'' he said.

Legislator Jasper Tsang, former chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, made a similar request last week.

Lau also said his electorate wants mandatory inspections and maintenance work on old private buildings and the removal of illegal structures.

He added that as the construction sector suffers the highest unemployment, Tsang should begin to get more major projects, such as the Tamar site, underway to create jobs.

"Reviving the plan to convert the the unused Tamar site near Central into a HK$6 billion government headquarters and Legislative Council complex can greatly ease the unemployment problem in the construction sector,'' Lau said.

"It is reassuring to hear the promise by the Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui on the 19th of this month that financing for Tamar is not a problem at all and its construction is likely to commence by 2007.''
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Old September 23rd, 2005, 03:05 PM   #50
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South China Morning Post
September 21, 2005
Renewal uproar 'a wake-up call'
Andy Cheng

Recent vehement opposition to redevelopment plans for ageing areas has been a wake-up call for the Urban Renewal Authority, according to a newly appointed official.

Eric Choi Yan-sang, the authority's head of community development, said it was "pro-actively" listening to residents' views about areas marked for redevelopment in the wake of opposition to renewal plans in Wan Chai's Wedding Card Street and First and Second streets in Sai Ying Pun.

Mr Choi said that to get feedback, the authority had increased staff from two to 10 officers who would visit every flat in areas designated for redevelopment.

His comments followed moves by some residents and shopkeepers in Lee Tung Street, known as Wedding Card Street, to seek the intervention of the Ombudsman and Town Planning Board on its redevelopment plan.

Mr Choi said the lesson learned from the residents' actions was that the authority must monitor the public's views.

"A lot of time and resources have been wasted in dealing with the opposing voices, actions and complaints," he said.

But he was puzzled by the level of opposition.

"A study by the University of Hong Kong found only 4 per cent of residents objected to renewal, while more than 70 per cent were in favour of it. But the recent voice of opposition has been so loud that it seems 80 per cent are opposed to the idea," he said, adding that there had been virtually no resistance when the Lee Tung Street renewal announcement was made six years ago.

While the authority would continue negotiating with the 12 flat owners and eight shop owners who were refusing to leave, Mr Choi said talks would only focus on the amount of cash compensation.

"We will not accept proposals such as property owners getting apartments in the new development in return for leaving. This would be unfair to those who have already left," he said.

More than 90 per cent of the 648 owners in Lee Tung Street had accepted the government's compensation package and had vacated their properties.

The Wan Chai District Council, the Conservancy Association and St James' Settlement will launch a public forum on Saturday at 2.30pm in Wan Chai on urban renewal strategies, using Wedding Card Street as a case study.

Meanwhile, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has charged three people with bribery and fraud involving cash compensation of $ 1.8 million on three URA redevelopment projects from 2002 to 2004. Yip Wa-ming, 40, a director of Kind Year Limited; Chan Lai-ying, 33, a property agent; and Jennifer Ng Suk-ling, 39, a housekeeping assistant, will appear in the Kowloon City Court tomorrow.
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Old September 24th, 2005, 01:51 PM   #51
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can you show me some pictures of places what gonna be redevelop i mean wich part of the city and projects if there are
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Old September 25th, 2005, 03:45 AM   #52
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Urban Renewal Authority : http://www.ura.org.hk/html/c800000e1e.html
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Old October 2nd, 2005, 06:24 PM   #53
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Battle lines drawn on urban renewal
Chief Executive Donald Tsang's plan to build a HK$6 billion government headquarters on the long-vacant Tamar site in Central is crystalizing the debate over the direction Hong Kong's urban environment should take.

Doug Crets, Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, October 01, 2005

Chief Executive Donald Tsang's plan to build a HK$6 billion government headquarters on the long-vacant Tamar site in Central is crystalizing the debate over the direction Hong Kong's urban environment should take.

Against Tsang's wish for a government headquarters at the site, the pro- Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and its property developer allies say they want yet more commercial and retail space there in one of the world's most crowded city centers.

But this time the questions are coming from dozens of elite business professionals rather than the traditional green protest groups who have largely been ignored by the government.

They include businesses like the Kadoorie Group, the Airport Authority, and CLP Power, as well as such figures as Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp chairman Vincent Cheng and chief operating officer Andrew Long, and Swire Properties director and general manager Gordon Ongley.

They belong to a variety of civic groups formed in the past few months to attempt to persuade the government to take a closer look at policy decisions they feel are damaging the harbor and culturally rich neighborhoods such as Wan Chai's "Wedding Card Street," which is to be redeveloped.

Concerned that Hong Kong has fallen far behind other world cities in attempting to preserve its neighborhoods as vibrant communities, they met recently as part of an attempt to influence the dialogue on "urban regeneration."

Says Paul Zimmerman, convenor of Designing Hong Kong Harbour District, an urban design umbrella group: "The failure of Hong Kong is that its urban and transport planning mechanism is outdated, and there is no leadership apparent within government willing to take charge."

"Change will have to come either from the chief secretary or the chief executive's office, and they appear pre- occupied with China relations, constitutional affairs and `lazy' large-scale infrastructure and development projects" like the West Kowloon cultural district.

Zimmerman adds that he and his associates intend to submit a proposal directly to Tsang, advocating a secretariat for planning to centralize planning decisions that are now shuffled between as many as 30 different fragmented agencies and departments.

Activists say the government is planning to increase the total gross floor area by 9.24 million square feet on reclaimed land in Central - twice as much as the entire International Finance Center site, which includes a shopping mall, hotel and serviced apartments.

The projected government headquarters at the Tamar site itself will cover 3.69 million sqft, with 322,000 sqft of parking.

Analysts outside Hong Kong say planning for a sustainable future is increasingly demanding a mentality that puts design and community attitudes first.

One of those participating in this effort is Richard Brown, who was invited to Hong Kong to speak to professionals about urban regeneration and London's success in urban planning.

He played a major role in turning parts of London's Thames Valley into the largest urban green space in England's history to prepare for the 2012 Olympic games.

His message to Hong Kong - do not just build, but build better and smarter and the city will prosper.

Richard Marshall, regional director of urban design for the Asian wing of EDAW, said: "To be competitive in the global economy, you have to create spaces people want to be in."

Peter Cookson Smith, director of design firm Urbis, works very closely with Hong Kong's Planning Department.

"There is a paralysis in government about what to do next," he said.

He says that Hong Kong lacks the clear mechanisms that other countries have to put "good projects, done with feasibility studies," in place.
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 05:38 PM   #54
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DAB confronts chief on Tamar relocation plan
Hong Kong Standard
Oct. 3, 2005

Despite the chief executive's recent pleas for support, a staunch pro-Beijing party is pulling out all the stops to force Donald Tsang to abandon his plans to build a new HK$6 billion government headquarters on the vacant Tamar site.

Despite the chief executive's recent pleas for support, a staunch pro-Beijing party is pulling out all the stops to force Donald Tsang to abandon his plans to build a new HK$6 billion government headquarters on the vacant Tamar site.
The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has compiled a report against the redevelopment plans.

After conducting a poll on the issue and launching a public forum attended by Hang Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan and Centaline Holdings chairman Shih Wing-ching, the DAB renewed calls Sunday for the plan to be ditched in its report which will be submitted before Tsang delivers his maiden policy address on October 12.

Party spokesman Cheung Hok-man urged Tsang to consider moving to the former Kai Tak airport instead of Tamar, which is a prime waterfront site, saying the change would generate an estimated income of HK$6.65 billion for the government following a land auction of the Tamar site for commercial use.

Cheung argued the government could complete the construction of a new government headquarters in the old airport by 2012, only three years later than the Tamar site project.

He also called on Tsang to consult with the public before rushing ahead with the plan on the site of the former British military headquarters.The party, which is usually considered a close ally of the government, posed the unexpected challenge to Tsang's Tamar vision as the chief executive was determined to proceed with the plan without consulting political parties.

He is keen to make the move, which he believes will generate a handsome profit and create job opportunities because it will free up the prime sites occupied by the government headquarters in Lower Albert Road and the Murray Building.

The party put forward its counter proposal at an earlier meeting with Tsang, but a source said the chief executive defended his plan and pleaded with the party's lawmakers for support.

Cheung said if the government headquarters and the Legislative Council complex are relocated to the former airport, it will spur development of nearby rundown districts, including Kowloon City, To Kwa Wan and Kowloon Bay.

He added the government should consider that land supply in Central can no longer contain growing demand.

"The government should not occupy the waterfront prime site in Admiralty because there is not enough space for further commercial development. It should consider how to uphold Hong Kong's status as an international financial center," he said.

Cheung said he believed the prices of commercial buildings in Central would not suffer if the government headquarters moved out of the central business district.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #55
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Building on experience to preserve city's heritage
Andy Cheng
4 October 2005
South China Morning Post

Marina Lo Kai-man's work used to involve knocking down old buildings - now she works to preserve them.

For more than a decade, Ms Lo, a former commercial director with the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), played a part in pulling down the city's old buildings and maximising returns from redevelopments.

But now the 51-year-old is doing the opposite - fighting to preserve buildings that are of significant cultural value.

As project director for the Conservancy Association's centre for heritage, she is coming up with ways to enhance the community's understanding of their heritage and culture, such as through exhibitions and a website.

"The aim for community education is to equip people with the knowledge they need to voice their thoughts on the city's redevelopment to the government," she says.

To Ms Lo - a lover of arts, heritage and contemporary painting - her change in jobs was not something awkward, but exactly what she wanted.

From 1988 to 2001, she worked for the Lands Development Council, which was renamed the Urban Renewal Authority in 2000. She then worked at Kadoorie Farm before landing a job with the Conservancy Association this year.

She says a lot of the city's buildings carry the public's collective memories, but many of them are disappearing.

With 13 years' experience in urban renewal, Ms Lo is quick to point out a key problem with the current redevelopment approach - the fact the authority only offers cash as compensation for affected property owners.

She says vocal objections from residents over recent renewals - including Wan Chai's Wedding Card Street - indicate the authority's traditional assumptions that people only want cash compensation and are not concerned about their districts are wrong.

"These assumptions are outdated. We can see that residents, in fact, value their district's social network a lot.

"For example, some residents feel it is important to play mahjong with neighbours."

While the URA is responsible for implementing the government's renewal policy, Ms Lo says it can also act as a mediator between developers and residents.

She says it is not difficult to formulate different options to tackle the concerns of residents leaving their districts.

"One option can involve residents in the redevelopment process. Instead of cash compensation, they can be given a stake in the renewal project according to the price of their property," she says.

"Their returns will peg with their stakes in the project and they will have the priority to buy flats in the redeveloped area.

"All these are just calculations - it is not a very difficult task," she says.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 03:47 PM   #56
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Kowloon shows eastern promise
Recent land sales have raised hopes for the urban renewal of the district, but analysts remain doubtful

Ernest Kong and Peggy Sito
5 October 2005
South China Morning Post

East Kowloon is emerging as a potential cash cow after a leading developer stunned the market by paying a premium price for two relatively run-down residential lots in the district.

The site is the second prominent East Kowloon site that SHKP has bought at a government auction since last year.

In October, the developer paid $4.7 billion for a 136,714 sqft site in San Po Kong, again 30 per cent higher than expected.

Analysts said investors might decide to follow SHKP's lead in investing in the long-term potential of the district.

They said the district could see a dramatic revival with impetus from the proposed redevelopment of the old Kai Tak airport.

Recent focus had been on West Kowloon, the growth potential of which has been stimulated by the government's proposed West Kowloon Cultural District.

SHKP's aggressive bids have raised eyebrows among investors and property consultants, who say that, in the short term at least, the area is unlikely to receive any positive stimulus such as infrastructure or property developments that might boost prices.

However, SHKP disagrees. "Some people said the Ngau Chi Wan site was far too expensive, but we merely think the price does not fit in to the district's current market price," said Eric Chow-kwok yin, an executive director at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate.

He said the company had established a successful track record by adding value to old districts, referring to some of the firm's recent projects such as Chelsea Court, near the Tsuen Wan industrial area, which was sold at a significant premium over the district's market price, and APM, a shopping mall that has spurred the gentrification of Kwun Tong.

Mr Chow expected the redevelopment of the Kai Tak site to give San Po Kong a completely new atmosphere.

The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's proposed Sha Tin to Central link would further rejuvenate the district, he said.

"The redevelopment of the Kai Tak site will play a pivotal role in the future development of East Kowloon," said a government planner.

The government plans to develop southeast Kowloon into a tourism, sports and recreation hub, with a variety of housing projects, a cruise terminal, a multipurpose stadium and the Metropolitan Park.

According to a planning department feasibility study, the zoning plan for the redevelopment of southeast Kowloon is expected to be approved in early 2008.

Gazetted in 2001, the redevelopment will have a total reclaimed area of about 133 hectares, on which it was planned to house 260,000 people in 78,000 flats.

But this capacity is subject to change after public consultation and a government review.

Lack of new housing supply could help enhance the area's attractiveness, Jones Lang LaSalle regional director Lau Chun-kong said.

The old Kai Tak airport redevelopment was unlikely to take place soon, and the proposed residential redevelopment in Yau Tong Bay was still not scheduled to start, he said.

A group of developers, including Henderson Land Development, had planned to transform Yau Tong Bay into a 22-hectare residential-cum-commercial development, with 38 residential blocks over a gross floor area of 9.7 million sq ft, but the project has been put on hold due to protests against harbour reclamation plans.

Ricacorp Properties managing director Ivan Ho said East Kowloon had definite growth potential but it would not be realised in the short term.

"Sun Hung Kai is a big corporation and is strong financially, and it has the ability to take a few years to reshape the entire old district," Mr Ho said, adding that for an individual investor, "it's easier to make quick profits in West Kowloon".
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Old October 6th, 2005, 04:41 PM   #57
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October 3, 2005 Monday 4:24 AM GMT
HK's New World Devt takes 70 pct stake in property project for 614.6 mln hkd

HONG KONG (AFX) - Property developer New World Development Co Ltd said it has entered into an agreement to buy a 70 pct stake in a residential property redevelopment project in Hong Kong for 614.6 mln hkd.

Company secretary Stewart Leung Chi-kin said in a statement that New World Development subsidiary Melowell Investment Ltd will take a 70 pct stake in China Step Ltd, which owns a 1,193 sq meter plot of land at 9-12 Chun Fai Terrace.

The site is to be used for the development of a new residential development.

Leung said the transaction will enable the group 'to replenish its landbank for future development on normal commercial terms and is in the interest of the group.'
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Old October 16th, 2005, 11:27 AM   #58
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New World buys industrial buildings for redevelopment
7 October 2005

According to New World Development, they have purchased two industrial buildings in Western District for redevelopment from the private market.

The two industrial buildings, namely Tin Lung Factory Building and Kam Mow Industrial Building, are located at No.42-44 Belcher's Street in Western District. With an investment over HK$200 million, the two properties will be redeveloped into a mixed-residential-commercial property with 46-storeys.

Hong Kong Economic Journal
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Old October 16th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #59
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Public consultation for Mallory Street project begins
28 September 2005
Government Press Release

Renderings

http://www.ura.org.hk/usrurl/1002000...t_-_Aerial.jpg

http://www.ura.org.hk/usrurl/1002000...Open_Space.jpg

http://www.ura.org.hk/usrurl/1002000...ory_Facade.jpg

http://www.ura.org.hk/usrurl/1002000...t_-_Garden.jpg

A two-month public consultation exercise for the Urban Renewal Authority (URA)'s Mallory Street revitalization project in Wan Chai, a pilot project to help foster Hong Kong's development of cultural and creative industries, begins today (Wednesday).

Announcing the territory-wide consultation initiative for the project, Miss Maria Tam, URA Board member and Chairperson of a Special Committee for the project, said: "This project is such a new and unprecedented attempt that we consider it very important to widely consult the general public as well as the prospective operators."

The Special Committee is formed by the URA's Wan Chai District Advisory Committee (DAC) with representatives of the Wan Chai District Council and District Office.

The consultation exercise aims to collect views and suggestions from both the general public and operators in the cultural and creative industries. While the general public will be asked for their aspirations and the trade mix they would like to see in the project, the views of operators will be sought specifically on the architecture design, rent level, mode of self-supporting operational management, etc.

A detailed consultative document and questionnaire will be sent to operators in the creative and cultural industries by mail. Copies for the general public are available at all District Offices and the URA Neighbourhood Centres. Besides, members of the public can download the document and questionnaire from the URA Website at www.ura.org.hk or send in their views by email.

"We want to stress that we do not have any preconceived idea of precisely what the trade mix should be and how the project should be run. We are completely open to any sensible and practicable theme, variety of cultural and creative industries and mode of management that may be proposed, as long as they are deemed sustainable and compatible with the goal of fostering the cultural and creative industries," Miss Tam said.

The consultation will last until 30 November 2005.

Occupying an area of about 8,400 square feet, the project stands at a site which currently has two rows of "Tong Lau" comprising 10 Grade II listed buildings.

Subject to the approval of the Executive Council and the Town Planning Board, the URA proposes to invest $100 million to redesign, restore and refurbish six buildings of four-storey at Mallory Street to provide about 20 partitioned units of about 650 square feet each for individual users.

The remaining four buildings at Burrows Street, which are in a very poor condition, will be demolished to make way for a 3,000-square foot theme garden for public enjoyment. Nevertheless, an effort will be made to retain the fašade of the Burrows Street buildings, if technically feasible.

As there is a limit to the number of operators this pilot project can accommodate, we have to be very careful on the selection of future users, Miss Tam said.

Depending on the time required for completing the necessary statutory planning procedures, it might be possible for construction work to commence in 2006 and be completed in 2008.

Miss Tam said the project would greatly improve the living standard of the existing residents at the site, provide a custom-built environment for cultural and creative business operators to try out innovations and new ideas as well as create a positive rippling effect by catalyzing more economic activities and interests in the neighbourhood.

Of the $100 million development cost, about $62 million is estimated for acquisition and rehousing. It is targeted that the project will be self-supporting in day-to-day operation.
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Old October 21st, 2005, 06:01 PM   #60
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Sing Tao HQ makes way for twin tech towers
Redevelopment forms part of efforts to turn Kowloon Bay into commercial area

Foster Wong
21 October 2005
South China Morning Post

Sing Tao Building will be turned into two 33-storey high-technology commercial towers by the end of 2009 at a cost of $869.12 million, according to its new owner.

The redevelopment of the eight-storey industrial building in Kowloon Bay, acquired by private investment consortium Wealthy Star Development in July, is the latest project in the transformation of the old industrial neighbourhood into a bustling shopping and office area.

"It is likely to be one of the important projects in the whole commercial makeover for the industrial area of Kowloon Bay," Midland Surveyors associate director Alvin Lam Tsz-pun said.

"It will unlock the site's full commercial value by boosting its rental income potential, given its waterfront location. The only disadvantage is that it is a bit distant from the MTR station."

Located at No1 Wang Kwong Road, the headquarters of Sing Tao News Corp occupies a site spanning 44,714 square feet with a gross floor area of 277,000 sqft at present.

With a plot ratio of 12 times, the site could provide a gross floor area of 500,000 sqft, according to property consultant DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

Wealthy Star expects the twin towers to cater for technology-related office users. Other details have yet to be unveiled.

The redevelopment costs include the $370 million purchase price and about $112.26 million estimated land premium payable to the government for relaxing the height restrictions, according to the consortium.

Construction costs are estimated at $386.87 million.

The gradual transformation of Kowloon Bay into a metropolitan district follows aggressive expansion by property developers from their footholds in Kowloon East. Most of them have started work on commercial premises that are in sharp contrast to the old industrial buildings for which the district is known.

Kerry Properties was among the first landlord to develop a grade A office building in the area. The developer is due to complete its 1.1 million sqft shopping centre, MegaBox, in early 2007.

Earlier this year, Sino Land paid $1.82 billion for a Kowloon Bay commercial site in an auction. It plans to develop the area into an office tower with a shopping podium.

Meanwhile, locally listed construction company CIG-WH International (Holdings) is to acquire an 8 per cent stake in Wealthy Star for $800 in a move to participate in the Sing Tao Building redevelopment project.

The company said it would contribute $69.53 million of the project's redevelopment costs.
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