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Old February 11th, 2009, 05:07 AM   #601
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aljuarez View Post
What part of Hong Kong is this?
Dynasty is near Tsuen Wan West station (NW part of Kowloon).
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Old February 11th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #602
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Old February 11th, 2009, 07:14 AM   #603
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亮賢居 by bextra from skyscrapers.cn :

Looks like a render! I wish HK developers could use some smooth curtain wall once in a while. But this one looks better than most.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:35 PM   #604
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Hotel scheme may be extended despite a lack of interest
3 February 2009
South China Morning Post

The government is considering extending a pilot scheme, which places hotel sites on the land-sales list, for one more year despite no interest being shown from developers in bidding for such sites over the past year.

"But if the market again says it doesn't need any such hotel sites, eventually we cannot restrict the land use of the sites," said Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in a TVB interview yesterday.

The scheme, launched in March as a government response to the tourism industry's call for more hotel supply, offered 10 sites from the land-sales list at lower "trigger prices" than general commercial sites. The sites would be for hotel development only and no changes of use would be allowed after purchase.

The government had said the land-sale system had not encouraged hotel development in the past because commercial sites were usually turned into office blocks, which generated bigger profits.

Mrs Lam said yesterday developers made no attempt to trigger an auction for any of these sites - in North Point, Wan Chai, Central, Hung Hom, Kowloon Bay, Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Sai Kung and Tin Shui Wai.

Some sites in the New Territories were too remote, said surveyor Pang Siu-kei. He said if developers wanted to build hotels, they would rather use their own land reserve and pay a premium for changing the use.

Fellow surveyor Charles Chan Chiu-kwok agreed, saying the current economic climate did not favour hotel development, which was a long-term investment.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #605
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亮賢半年成交期爭客
11/02/2009

多個住宅新盤都計劃短期內出籠。掹地的大角咀亮賢居安排本月下半月推售,首批單位呎價料會較同系荔枝角道百匯軒為低,另發展商已聯絡多家銀行提供按揭,一、二按承做按揭成數合共可高達樓價90%,並提供額外六至七個月的長成交期。

掹地營業部高級副總經理林達民表示,亮賢居的軟銷推廣已進入中期階段,下周將陸續與代理舉行誓師大會。有消息稱,該盤本周四起安排代理參觀現樓及尖沙咀美麗華商場的示範單位。林氏透露,亮賢居首批單位開價會較同系百匯軒整體平均呎價約7,200元「略平」。

另外,亮賢居單位均採用全套Miele廚櫃及家電,總值約6,000萬元,成本較一般品牌高約三倍。

林氏續稱,亮賢居目標買家以換樓客源為主,故已安排銀行提供低息按揭、長成交期及低首期等靈活置業計劃。他稱,亮賢居首日在廣州進行路演共吸引近1,000人次查詢,短期內將安排來港參觀。

濱南傳重推呎價四千
另代理透露,新地等的紅磡海濱南岸最快一至兩周內重售,市傳售價將較前調整,部分單位呎價有機會約4,000多元起。此外,高力國際顏慧萍稱,掹地的觀塘223商廈項目,早前租出一全層約3萬方呎,呎租約15元。

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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #606
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市建局:有待灣仔改道方案審理 利東街項目最快上半年推
5 February 2009
星島日報

市建局去年推出灣仔利東街項目邀請發展商提交意向書,惟至今仍未可以推出。據了解,市建局現正待行政會議,就灣仔改道的審理後才推出項目,暫時仍未有推出時間表,但估計有機會在上半年推出。

事實上,港島區地皮供應一向供不應求,加上近年灣仔區新盤均取得理想銷情,投資潛力大,令發展商致力爭奪港島區的大型地皮。去年九月,市建局就旗下灣仔利東街及麥加力歌街重建截收意向,當時發展商投標反應熱烈,長實、新地、恒基、新世界、信和、南豐、會德豐、嘉華、華置、九龍建業等共十五個發展商均投交意向。整個項目估計投資額逾六十億元。

投資額估計逾60億

惟及後金融海嘯,政府表示不會賤賣土地,此後至今港鐵及市建局未有再推出發展項目,而市建局早前招收了發展意向書的灣仔利東街項目,據了解,市建局方面現正有待行政會議完成灣仔廈門街改道的有關事項後才會推出項目,暫時仍未有推出的時間表,但估計有機會在上半年推出。至於年內其他發展項目的推出時間表,有關方面指,暫未落實本年推出的項目。其實,市建局早前因應公眾諮詢的意見,決定調整灣仔利東街項目的道路安排建議,當中利東街項目的泊車位會由原來建議的三百個,大幅減至一百九十八個,以及在廈門街停車場出口處加設警告訊號。而原先建議在廈門街設立的士站將會遷往地庫停車場,新方案亦將讓廈門街接通皇后大道東。

按諮詢調整道路安排

有業界人士指,由於本港主要商業重心地帶,正由中環向周邊延伸,預料日後毗連灣仔區亦會較現時得到較大發展潛力,連帶利東街的地皮價值亦會相應提高。現時灣仔區舊樓林立,在區內只有寥寥可數的新盤供應,若灣仔改道有關事宜落實後,將為區內帶來新面貌,發展潛力無限。業界估計,待灣仔重建項目住宅落成後,高層可遠眺維港海景,增加項目升值潛力,料將成為發展商爭相競投的目標。
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Old February 15th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #607
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The Westminster Terrace by bextra from skyscrapers.cn :

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Old February 16th, 2009, 05:49 PM   #608
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Stalemate in Hong Kong: Few buyers, few sellers
Drops in price aren't extreme in market seasoned by past crises

13 February 2009
International Herald Tribune

HONG KONG -- Hong Kongers, who turned pessimistic about property early in 2008, now seem to be at something of a stalemate: Buyers are unwilling to commit unless they see a real steal, and sellers are unwilling to cut prices all that much.

There is reason for their reluctance. People here don't talk about the subprime crisis or the credit crunch. Across the territory, the current economic woes are dubbed the ''financial tsunami,'' sweeping into Asia from the United States and Western Europe.

The term is redolent of the real tsunami that swept Asia at the end of 2004. But it also carries a reminder that Hong Kong has seen its share of crashes: the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and 1998, and the near-meltdown during SARS in 2003.

''The market is very quiet since the Lehman Brothers collapse,'' said Anita Fan, senior associate director in the investment department at the brokerage DTZ. ''It is quiet, but I don't see the price has really dropped a lot.''

Residential prices fell 19 percent in the six months through November, according to the most recent data from the Hong Kong University Real Estate Index Series, a drop that is mostly the result of a 10 percent correction in November. Yet there were heady price gains at the start of 2008, so the net result was a one-year decline of just 6.9 percent.

And there still were stories of eye-popping deals. A 3,300-square-foot house at Severn 8, a development on Victoria Peak that has set and reset records for property in Hong Kong, sold in October for 76 million Hong Kong dollars, or $9.8 million - 23,000 dollars, or $2,965, per square foot. A similar house sold at 55,830 dollars per square foot in June.

Severn 8, like most new developments, has attracted speculators. But prices are generally holding up, as shown by a flagship transaction in January. An 11,345-square-foot villa at 85 Repulse Bay Road sold for 445 million dollars, or around 39,000 dollars per square foot.

''There has been the odd distressed sale, but not as many as we expected,'' said Victoria Allan, managing director of the brokerage Habitat Property. ''All the trades we're doing are 30 percent to 40 percent off the peak price. If we can't get down to that, the market will continue to stop.''

Many owners are trying to ride the tsunami out. Thanks to the Hong Kong dollar's peg to its U.S. counterpart, mortgage rates are very low.

''In Hong Kong the market is quite volatile, so you maybe need to wait for two or three years, or at most five or six years, and you can get your money back,'' Fan said.

Hong Kong's banks clamped down on mortgage lending and slashed valuations late in 2008. But they have new mortgage sales quotas for 2009, agents say, and are being realistic about valuations.

The number of residential transactions in December was down 65 percent compared with that month in 2007. So property agents are feeling the real pain, unable to muster much interest in real estate, normally a topic of daily fascination and much speculation in this city of seven million.

They won't find many optimists. In Asia, only 3 percent of respondents to a DTZ survey said they were positive on real estate for the year ahead, while 70 percent were negative and 27 percent expected no change.

''Hardly anybody is optimistic about the outlook for 2009,'' said Alva To, the company's head of consultancy for North Asia. ''Asia-Pacific people have got a good memory. We have been through three cycles.''

Recent lending and leverage in Asia were not as feverish as in Europe and the United States. But people there are much more optimistic. Over all, the same study reported, 20 percent of West Europeans were positive about real estate in 2009, while only 40 percent were negative and another 40 percent expected no change. In North America, only 9 percent were optimistic and 39 percent expected further losses, but 52 percent expected no change.

''The reality is, things are much worse in the U.K. and the U.S. than they are here,'' said Mark Price, DTZ's head of business space for North Asia. ''But this survey is based on sentiment and emotion. Perhaps people are more realistic here. In the U.K., anybody under 40 hasn't seen'' a real market downturn.

''They are probably not aware of how bad it can get,'' he added.

There are signs of stirring in Hong Kong's slumbering market. Kerry Properties has sold all 24 apartments it released in the Belgravia, a 29-story building that the Hong Kong-based developer opened in 1989 but refurbished last year.

The apartments are large by Hong Kong standards - 2,390 square feet for a three-bedroom flat and 2,790 square feet for a four-bedroom. The building overlooks Repulse Bay's beach, on the south side of Hong Kong Island, which now rivals Victoria Peak for the most expensive property in Hong Kong.

Kerry has added Sub-Zero refrigerators, Miele wine coolers and ovens, and Poggenpohl kitchen cabinets. According to Colliers, the apartments sold at an average price of 13,803 dollars per square foot. That was the highest price for a primary-market sale at the turn of the year, but at the low end of the range of 13,000 dollars to 15,000 dollars that they were expected to command when the project was announced.

Belgravia's closest price rival among primary sales is The Sail at Victoria. The developer, Hongkong Land, has a good reputation but mainly in offices - it is landlord to large parts of the Central downtown district.

The Sail, due for completion at the end of 2009, sits in Kennedy Town at the western edge of Hong Kong Island's crowded north shore, with unobstructed views of Victoria Harbor - although the 33-story building is just down the road from a public mortuary.

The developer declined to comment on its sales strategy, but of the 20 apartments offered before the Jan. 26 Chinese New Year, 15 sold and, according to Colliers, the price was an average of 9,703 dollars per square foot. That's a little less than the going rate for 10- or 20-year-old apartments in the nearby low-rise neighborhood of Pok Fu Lam.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 05:31 PM   #609
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聖 保 祿 醫 院 第 一 期 重 建 by 鄧麗欣之戀 from skyscrapers.cn :





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Old February 18th, 2009, 05:37 PM   #610
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Residents' renewal choice urged
16 February 2009
South China Morning Post

Residents affected by redevelopment should be given a choice to stay, government advisers reviewing the city's urban renewal strategy have said after visiting redevelopment projects in Japan.

A proposal allowing residents to stay in the new development, and to take part in redevelopment projects, would be among those released for public consultation this month, they said. Following a series of focus group surveys seeking views of professionals and concern groups last year, public views will be sought on more specific proposals this month, including the new role of the Urban Renewal Authority, and various models for redevelopment.

"We hope to reach for a solution that will make us all happy. It would be unhealthy if the authority and developers continued to maximise their profits without caring for the community," said Vincent Ng Wing-shun, a member of the Steering Committee on the Urban Renewal Strategy Review, implying that the rule that the authority must maintain its financial sustainability might need changing.

Mr Ng visited two redevelopment projects - Roppongi Hills and Omotesando Hills in Tokyo - with 25 government delegates, including Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, last week.

Residents affected by the two projects were allowed to give views to redevelopment companies. They could ask for a flat or a shop in the development that was about the same value as their demolished properties. At Omotesando Hills, 74 out of 88 owners who used to live in flats there opted to remain in the new development - an eight-storey retail and residential block with three storeys underground.

Mr Ng said the developer had not maximised its profits by building complexes of buildings that block air movement, but had kept the design "in harmony" with the community.

Another committee member, Ada Wong Ying-kay, who joined the Japanese tour, said owners of the Roppongi Hills project formed a company with the developer. The 400 households affected also had close communications with architect Tadao Ando in the planning process. Owners' rights were converted, under a formula approved by the government, to apartments on the same site. "This 'flat-for-flat' scheme is an option the Hong Kong authorities could consider," Ms Wong said.

A spokesman for the authority said the consultation would provide an opportunity for the community to discuss the renewal issues.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:09 AM   #611
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It's flat-out war
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, February 19, 2009

A price war has been declared by Hong Kong property developers as they chase sales during the economic downturn.

"All developers are competing - cutting prices and making noises," said Louis Chan Wing-kit, managing director of Centaline Property Agency's residential department.

The price war grew hotter after the news on Tuesday that unemployment jumped to 4.6 percent for the November to January period from 4.1 percent, with all sectors hit by lost jobs.

"Developers are being forced to face reality and must sell properties at prices the market can bear," said Richard Lee Chi-shing, chief executive of Hong Kong Property Services.

New World Development (0017), which has already slashed prices of flats by up to 20 percent at its Harbour Place project - a joint venture with Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) in Hung Hom - yesterday announced it would cut prices at Wylie Court in Ho Man Tin by an even greater percentage.

After pricing flats there between HK$15,000 and HK$20,000 per square foot last year, New World now wants between HK$11,000 and HK$12,000 psf - cuts of up to 40 percent - on most units. And it is poised to list flats on lower floors at HK$9,000 psf. So some would sell for HK$18 million.

New World Real Estate Agency executive director Barbara Ho Ng Yin- yue said the company intends to be more practical and realistic in setting prices.

"Prices of units in the primary market have gone down by about 20 percent because of the market situation. We believe they are stabilized now."

Indeed, experts say prices were set too high last year, and developers are having to respond as realities bite.

Sun Hung Kai Properties also got into the cutting act yesterday when announcing prices for 20 flats at its luxury project The Cullinan at Kowloon Station. They will sell from HK$15,360 to HK$35,000 psf. Unit prices range between HK$21.2 million and HK$90.6 million.

With demand for new homes falling, developers have also been slashing the tags on units in projects where other flats were sold at considerably higher prices a while ago.

Some are flats on which troubled buyers defaulted on payments.

Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001), for example, cut prices of five flats at CASA 880 in Quarry Bay by 20 percent after the first buyers defaulted.

Deals have been struck on three of those flats, including a 1,066 square foot unit going for HK$7,150 psf yesterday. That was about 20 percent lower than the selling price last year, according to a district real estate agent.

Other notable price-cutting efforts include Asia Standard International (0129) selling 12 flats at Jadewater in Aberdeen at the weekend after reducing prices by 40 percent to around HK$5,000 psf.

Executive director Phileas Kwan Po-lam said the company will today announce deals for other flats that remain unsold at the Aberdeen project.

Henderson Land Development (0012) sales general manager Thomas Lam Tat-man said he is not worried that a worsening unemployment situation will affect its sales - though he agreed that prices must be set at what prospective buyers can manage.

On that, its Shining Heights project in Tai Kok Tsui is set to be launched by the end of this week. Some may go for as little as HK$4 million.

But the price war is not going to be restricted to new homes.

Centaline's Chan said the action in the primary market will put pressure on the secondary market as potential buyers see opportunities for cheaper deals.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #612
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亮賢驚喜價低於400萬
衛理苑送車位 傳隨時開售

19/02/2009


恒地最快本周六優先認購的大角咀亮賢居,昨事先張揚首推至少20伙,入場費由之前400多萬元,突下調至少於400萬元「驚喜價」,多家銀行更為該盤提供首三至四年定息2厘至2.125厘等優惠樓按,買家最低只需月供8,000餘元便可上車。另新世界的何文田衛理苑A座獲買家以4,000餘萬元大手洽購全層兩伙。

恒地營業部總經理林達民稱,亮賢居最快明日派發價單及於周六發售,首推集中約20樓中層,項目因應市況調整售價,個別單位入場費低於400萬元。該盤已錄3,000至4,000個本地買家查詢,廣州路演下周初完結,暫錄逾1萬人次參觀,下月初安排內地客來港睇樓。

亮賢成交期一年
他指出,亮賢居獲多家銀行提供一、二按共樓價90%按揭,其中渣打提供首三年一按定息2厘計劃,東亞及永隆提供首四年定息2.125厘按揭,永隆提供全期最優惠利率(P相等5.25厘)減2.25厘樓按,而恒生提供一、二按首三個月免息免供計劃,發展商為部分優惠作補貼,買家按不同計劃加付樓價1.5至 2%。該盤引入最長一年成交期,買家需多付3%樓價。另荔枝角道百匯軒最快下周取消裝修套餐及十八個月管理費優惠,佔樓價1.3%,之後或加價約4%。

另新世界地產代理執行董事何伍燕榆稱,每方呎翻新費逾2,000元的衛理苑A座,昨起開放耗資約600萬至700萬元裝修的示範單位,隨時開售,整體意向呎價1.1萬至1.2萬元,入場費約1,800萬元,銀行對該盤應可估足價,市傳該盤隨時落實成交。

衛理苑料可套9億
她稱,該盤已有3至4伙獲洽購,有2至3名買家有意斥4,000餘萬元連購全層兩伙。該盤每戶送1個價值至少100萬元車位,項目售罄可套8億至9億元。該盤即供折扣料約2%。她指金融海嘯後豪宅樓價跌20%,目前新盤開價須實際。
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Old February 20th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #613
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:26 PM   #614
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ESF wants public funds for $600m school remakes
19 February 2009
Hong Kong Standard

The English Schools Foundation is to ask the government to support a HK$600 million plan it has to redevelop Kowloon Junior School and give King George V School a facelift.

Foundation chairwoman Felice Lieh Mak said yesterday the ESF has plans to demolish and rebuild two Kowloon Junior School buildings at a a cost of between HK$420 million and HK$440 million.

The two buildings, which are three kilometers apart in Yau Yat Chuen, can house 900 primary school students.

Mak explained that the condition of the buildings lags behind many local schools such as St Paul's Co-ed Primary School.

Foundation chief executive Heather Du Quesnay said the campus currently uses containers as the library for students. School places can be slightly increased after the redevelopment.

Due to the historical value of the King George V School building, Mak said a further HK$220 million is earmarked for its renovation and not demolition. The school in Ho Man Tin can provide 1,500 secondary places.

Foundation chief financial officer Robert Bennett said the estimate was done before the financial crisis, and that costs have come down. The foundation plans to submit the proposal to the government in the middle of the year, and hopes to get funding _ the level of which is not known yet _ by the end of the year. Work would start in the summer of 2010, with completion in 2012.

The foundation will consult parents and teaching staff .

During the work, Du Quesnay said Kowloon Junior School students will be relocated to other temporary sites, three of which have been identified.

``The subsidy for the ESF only represents a small percentage of the government budget,'' Mak said, adding the administration has subsidized the construction of local schools and should do the same for them, and that the ESF is not demanding full funding as it will pay as well.

But Democratic Party legislator Cheung Man- kwong did not support the funding.

Both Cheung and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's Starry Lee Wai-king described the projects as costly.

``If the administration is to pay, then the schools' design should meet government standards. The government should have a say,'' Cheung said.

Meanwhile, Alex Chiu Chi-suen, father of three boys who all attend ESF primary schools, said the cost of the project should be on par with that of local schools.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 05:13 AM   #615
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Henderson set to release new units as confidence returns
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Henderson Land Development (0012) is expected tonight to sell the first 20 units at its residential project Shining Heights at an average of HK$5,103 per square foot.

The property developer released the price list of the first batch, comprising 20 flats, at the Tai Kok Tsui project at 6.30pm last night, at prices close to property prices of units in the secondary market in the district. The 20 units, sized between 710 sq ft and 1,178 sq ft a unit, are priced from HK$4,448 psf to HK$5,740 psf.

"Prices are reasonable under the current market situation and I believe it's easier to close deals," said Richard Lee Chi-shing, chief executive of real estate agent Hong Kong Property Services.

"Many units have been sold at luxury project The Cullinan in a few days, showing buyers' confidence has recovered."

Units at Metro Harbour View, a Tai Kok Tsui project by Henderson, are selling at more than HK$4,000 psf, according to Lee. There were 175 deals in the 35 largest housing estates last week, up 8.7 percent from the 161 sales the previous week, according to Midland Realty.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #616
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Wealth to rise from home ruins
24 February 2009
Hong Kong Standard

Displaced residents flush with compensation money from five Urban Renewal Authority redevelopment projects will trigger HK$13 billion worth of business activity by spending in the secondary property market and on renovation works.

URA chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen said those affected will buy new homes elsewhere, purchase furniture and fittings to go with them, and carry out refurbishment after receiving compensation from the authority.

The redevelopment projects will also lure new investors to buy nearby shops and flats.

Cheung estimates the Kwun Tong town center project alone will generate more than HK$2 billion in property and related business transactions.

He said redevelopment has helped boost the market.

The total amount earmarked for the main redevelopment projects _ Kwun Tong town center, Sai Yee Street in Mong Kok, Pak Tai Street in To Kwa Wan, Hai Tan Street in Sham Shui Po and Chi Kiang Street in To Kwa Wan, is estimated to be HK$18 billion.

``After residents receive the compensation, they will spend it and that will help stimulate the market,'' he said.

Cheung said he believes the financial tsunami will help speed up land resumption as property owners will be more willing to sell to the authority.

For Kwun Tong town center, the URA estimates it will cost HK$13 billion to acquire some 1,600 properties.

Cheung said he is happy with the progress of acquisition because around 30 percent of property owners in the Kwun Tong project have agreed to sell their flats and shops since the authority made its offer in December.

But the authority, according to a member of an urban renewal think- tank, has no plans for the time being to change its redevelopment model to one used in Japan, which gives residents the option of returning to their neighborhoods.

``Japan took around 20 years to put the model into practice. However, some of our urban districts have been so dilapidated that I don't think residents would like to wait so long for redevelopment,'' he said.

In an interview with The Standard, Urban Renewal Strategy Review steering committee member Ada Wong Ying-kay said the current practice of offering compensation to residents and then squeezing them out of their neighborhood hampers progress.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #617
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Late push to fine-tune design of new Legco
16 February 2009
South China Morning Post

Lawmakers are to make a last push to change design principles of the new Legislative Council building this week, amid strong opposition to plans for the Tamar site provided by the contractor.

While being aware of the difficulty because of time constraints in asking for a major overhaul, some politicians say they will fight for as many changes as possible.

Ahead of a Legco Commission meeting on Thursday, the Legco Secretariat has launched a consultation exercise to gauge lawmakers' views on the building as the designer applies the finishing touches.

But after several meetings with the contractor, Gammon-Hip Hing Joint Venture, which is also building the neighbouring new government headquarters, lawmakers are not convinced about the design.

Democrat Cheung Man-kwong, a member of the Legco Commission, said his colleagues believed that many features, including the concrete columns supporting the main chamber, undermined the solemnity of the legislature.

"How can a few chicken-legs prop up the entire legislature? The building really lacks style," Mr Cheung said. "I know that it might be too late for any major changes, but if we don't protest then people will criticise us for decades because the building is there to last."

Another commission member, Ip Kwok-him, a vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, also said the exterior was not suitable.

Other objections expressed by lawmakers so far include the view that the main debating chamber, with seats facing the Legco president's podium in a semi-circle looks too similar to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Commission member Patrick Lau Sau-shing, who represents architects in Legco, said his colleagues believed the materials to be used to furnish the interior should be more durable, with greater use of wood and marble.

On suggestions the public should give their views, another commission member, Philip Wong Yu-hong, said: "It will be a waste of time. I rather trust the experts who design it."
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Old February 26th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #618
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More building owners qualify for subsidies
26 February 2009
South China Morning Post

More owners of old residential buildings will be eligible to apply for maintenance funds from a HK$1 billion project that is to be launched on top of existing subsidy schemes.

A two-year Operation Building Bright campaign will be implemented to assist in the rehabilitation of 1,000 buildings in poor condition. Elderly owner-occupiers of flats can get a full subsidy for maintenance costs capped at HK$40,000, while other successful applicants can get 80 per cent of the cost, with a ceiling of HK$16,000.

The government will earmark HK$700 million for the plan, and the Housing Society and the Urban Renewal Authority will each provide HK$150 million.

Under the two bodies' existing loan and subsidy schemes, only buildings with owners' corporations can apply for building-maintenance funds. The new plan will relax this requirement.

The initiative would bring about 10,000 new jobs in the coming two years, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said.

He added that a similar grant scheme targeting elderly homeowners had benefited about 2,000 people since it was introduced in last year's budget.

Housing Society chairman Yeung Ka-sing said it planned to employ both professional and technical staff to carry out the campaign, which he said would enhance safety in Hong Kong.

The Development Bureau will announce the application criteria and other plan details today.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #619
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Primary deals increase on offers
18 February 2009
South China Morning Post

Buyers returned to the market last week after developers lowered their selling prices and offered a range of attractive mortgage schemes.

This resulted in 18 deals in the primary market during the weekend compared with eight units sold in the previous weekend.

The jump in transactions excludes the incomplete offers made on units in the Cullinan at the weekend and was mainly attributed to the sale of 12 flats at Jadewater in Aberdeen. Developer Asia Standard International Group cut the asking price in Jadewater by about 30 per cent to around HK$6,000 per square foot from more than HK$9,400 per square foot when the project was launched last June.

Other developers including New World Development and Chinachem Group offered 20 to 30 per cent discounts for some of their projects.

Separately, activity in the secondary market improved as buyers feel that the overall market is showing some signs of warming up amid new promotional and sales campaigns.

Over the week, 253 units changed hands in the secondary market, up 11 per cent from 228 flats a week earlier, data from Ricacorp Properties shows. The average transaction price slid 0.2 per cent from a week earlier.

Willy Liu Wai-keung, a managing director at Ricacorp, said lower asking prices helped lure cash-rich end-users into the market and also boosted sentiment, which helped pave the way for the launch of new projects.

At the end of last month, there were 5,291 remaining units in the primary market, up 2.1 per cent from 5,184 units in December, data from Midland Realty shows.

Mr Liu estimated there were about 14,000 new flats in the sales pipeline of which large-sized projects offering more than 1,000 units each included Central Park Towers 2 in Tin Shui Wai, phase two of YoHo Town in Yuen Long, the Latitude in San Po Kong, Lake Silver in Wu Kai Sha, and the redevelopment projects above the Tai Wai railway maintenance centre.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 03:03 AM   #620
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New office to spur revamp of old blocks
27 February 2009
South China Morning Post

The government says the Development Opportunities Office foreshadowed in this year's budget will cut red tape and make it easier for private projects to revitalise vacant industrial blocks and waterfront areas.

The new office, under the Development Bureau, would be set up to provide pre-planning support for private projects that would benefit the public, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday.

Instead of requiring a developer to approach all departments involved in a project, the office would offer a platform where bureaus and departments could jointly assess the benefits brought by proposed projects and co-ordinate inquiries.

Projects would have to bring benefits to the public in terms of tourism, the environment or heritage conservation and developers should own the sites involved.

"Proposals purely asking for sites from the government will not be considered, even if they are good ideas," Mrs Lam said. But projects requiring only a swap of a small government site or requiring a change of land use would be acceptable.

She said developers would still have to go through usual government procedures like applying to the Town Planning Board and conducting an environmental impact assessment to get approval from the government.

Examples cited by Mrs Lam included the revitalisation of vacant industrial buildings and privately owned waterfront areas, and the redevelopment of non-profit organisations' headquarters.

Some 6.2 per cent of industrial blocks are vacant, according to a Rating and Valuation Department report. Empty industrial blocks are mostly found in Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan, making up an area of over a million square metres.

The chairwoman of the Hong Kong Architecture Centre, Agnes Ng Ka-yin, welcomed the initiative, saying projects involving the refurbishment and reuse of industrial units normally needed to go through at least three departments. "Turning the dilapidated industrial units into lofts, artist studios and ballet practice areas actually prevents industrial areas from running down, saves social resources and brings social improvements," she said.

But high land premiums and inflexible building rules had discouraged revitalisation.

Ms Ng urged the government to introduce more incentives, apart from speeding up the application process.

A bureau spokesman said the office would be formed later this year.

Under another budget initiative to create jobs, the Development Bureau will be given HK$1 billion to subsidise estate renovation for residents living in old buildings.

Buildings qualifying for the subsidy must be more than 30 years old and comprise no more than 400 residential units. The scheme, to open in May, targets 1,000 old buildings, half of which lack owners' corporations, mostly located in To Kwa Wan, Sham Shui Po and Kowloon City.

"It is a one-off operation and will create 10,000 jobs," Mrs Lam said.
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