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Old March 2nd, 2009, 01:13 PM   #621
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$1b fund earmarked to spruce up homes
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, February 27, 2009

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is urging owners of 1,000 dilapidated buildings to dip into the HK$1 billion "Operation Building Bright" fund to renovate their properties.

Apart from helping owners to repair buildings, including drainage, Lam estimates the project will create 10,000 jobs for construction and maintenance workers to ease the worsening unemployment situation.

Once a building is selected, all the owners will be subsidized without a means test and each will receive up to 80 percent of the cost of repair capped at HK$16,000, or HK$ 40,000 for owner-occupiers aged over 60.

Lam said the operation may be implemented very quickly as it is building-based and targets owners having difficulties in coordinating repair works, such as those without owners' corporations .

Buildings in old districts such as Kowloon City , Sham Shui Po and To Kwa Wan are expected to benefit.

The government believes applications will be invited in May if the Legislative Council approves the fund.

Operation Building Bright is part of the job preservation policy announced by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in his budget report on Wednesday.

Yeung Ka-sing, chairman of the Hong Kong Housing Authority, also urged owners to apply to renovate their buildings.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 04:31 AM   #622
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Kwong Wah signs up for face-lift op
3 March 2009
Hong Kong Standard

Kwong Wah Hospital has taken the first step towards redevelopment after signing a memorandum of understanding with the government pledging preliminary support for the project.

The more than 50-year-old hospital in Yau Ma Tei will now form a working group and submit a feasibility study and building plans for approval in a year or two.

Construction would begin in 2011, with completion in 2016 or 2017. The number of beds after redevelopment would be maintained at the current 1,200 capacity.

At the MOU signing ceremony were Tung Wah Group of Hospitals chairman Patrick Ma Ching-hang, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok, Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, and Director of Health Lam Ping-yan.

Ma said the redevelopment is necessary because most of the buildings are more than five decades old.

To minimize upsetting services to the public, work will be carried out in two phases. Phase one would see the south wing and hospital staff quarters demolished for a new building, including a traditional Chinese medicine hospital.

After completing phase one in 2014, phase two would begin in the north and east wings. Only the out-patient building and the TWG of Hospitals Museum will not be demolished. The 24-hour accident and emergency and out- patient services would not be affected.

``The hospital will ensure the re-development will not affect the service to the public. We will also consider the environmental effect to the surrounding area,'' deputy hospital chief executive Andrew Yip Wai-chun said.

Yip said the hospital needs to review its service to patients since Yau Tsim Mong has an ageing population, and is at the heart of Kowloon East, making it convenient for emergency services.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:20 AM   #623
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太古城酒店項目 by fatshe from skyscrapers.cn :



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Old March 6th, 2009, 07:37 PM   #624
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Church seeks court review after plans get scaled down
13 February 2009
South China Morning Post

The Union Church of Hong Kong is seeking a judicial review of a Town Planning Board decision blocking its plans for a 24-storey residential development at its Kennedy Road site.

The church filed its application in the High Court on Wednesday, asking the court to quash the decision the board made last October.

The church, at 22 Kennedy Road in the Mid-Levels, wants to convert its two-storey building into a 24-storey residential tower that would include a church and a kindergarten.

Its application revealed that the church had been planning the redevelopment of the site since 1994 and that its plan had been approved by the board in June 1997. In June 2007, the board extended the redevelopment rights to June 6 this year.

Last March, however, the board released a draft zoning plan for public inspection which imposed a height restriction of three storeys on the church site. The board decided not to amend the draft plan despite a request from the church that the height limit be removed.

The board said it considered a portion of the site a "government, institution and community (GIC)" zone that served as open space and for ventilation of the area in general.

The church is now seeking to challenge the board's decision, arguing that reasons cited for imposing the height restriction were irrelevant.

The judicial review application says the height restriction is too stringent when compared with much higher building-height limits for other non-GIC zones within the area.

It says the board failed to consider the development potential of the site and to give proper weight to the need for expanding the church's facilities to provide community services.

It was the church's intention that some of the flats in the proposed building be used by staff members and others would be rented to fund the church.

The Union Church, set up in 1844, has been providing religious and community services at the site since about 1890. The two-storey building on the site has a floor area of about 3,500 square metres.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 05:49 PM   #625
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Le Billionaire by fatshe from skyscrapers.cn :

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Old March 7th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #626
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Property sector is deep in doldrums
Hong Kong Standard
Friday, March 06, 2009

The uncertain economic outlook has hit the property sector hard, with the net increase of occupied flats plunging 65.3 percent last year to the lowest in 30 years.

"People postponed plans to buy or rent a flat," said Buggle Lau Ka-fai, chief analyst at Midland Realty, who pointed to the rising jobless rate as a major cause for weakening demand.

The net increase of occupied flats fell to 6,890 units last year from 19,850 in 2007, according to figures from the Rating and Valuation Department.

The vacancy rate in 2008 remained unchanged at 4.9 percent as new home completions dropped for a sixth straight year to 8,780 units.

"About 7,400 vacant units - 14 percent of the total vacant units - have not been issued with a certificate of compliance or consent to assign and cannot be occupied," said Tang Ping- kwong, the acting deputy commissioner of rating and valuation.

A total of 52,940 homes were not occupied at the end of last year, up 1 percent from2007.

Home prices dropped 5 percent year- on-year in the fourth quarter last year while rentals slid 1.3 percent, according to data of the department.

Property prices slumped mainly due to the financial tsunami instead of home supply, said Centaline Property Agency associate director Wong Leung-sing. "Indeed, the supply level of new flats is still way lower than a few years ago."

Completion of new homes this year will jump 68 percent to 14,740 units, the Rating and Valuation Department forecasts.

The average yearly completion for five years starting in 2003 was 19,360 units.

On the office front, prices dropped 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter while rentals rose 13.6 percent.

Tang said rental growth has not reflected the impact of the financial crisis as tenants signed leasing contracts before the downturn.

Wong expects office rentals to decline further this year.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #627
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提升建築物能源效益 學會倡擴至商住樓
5 March 2009
文匯報

 【本報訊】(記者梁悅琴)整體經濟不景氣,物業和土地的價格持續下挫,影響投資信心,發展商對於土地發展的投資亦變得更加謹慎。香港測量師學會歡迎地政總署繼續探討可行方法,以精簡修訂地價的程序,以及根據市場不斷改變的情況,補新地價評估。學會認為做法可有助鼓勵發展商於經濟衰退的市場環境下投放資源,刺激發展土地。

香港測量師學會對於政府致力提升建築物能源效益表示支持,亦歡迎「環境及自然保育基金」撥款4.5億元,資助私人大廈業主進行「能源及二氧化碳排放綜合審計」計劃。學會認為,「基金」的撥款應多投放於建築物的改善工程,亦應優先考慮批核予分權物業,以鼓勵業主進行有關工程。如果工程具實質財政和環境效益,於單一業權的樓宇推行有關改善工程應該會遇到困難。

應惠及「樓宇翻新」資助樓

學會亦建議,有關計劃應包括商用及住宅樓宇。由於計劃詳細內容尚待政府公佈,學會預計內容將包括實質的甄選標準。此外,私人樓宇的業主應符合甄選資格。學會亦希望有關資助計劃可擴至已受「樓宇翻新大行動」資助的樓宇。

測量師學會建議成立的「發展機遇辦事處」將有助推動發展項目工程的進行,亦有助刺激本港房地產業的發展。然而,過去由於長時期的跨部門協商,以及需經過多個不同政府部門的審批,使工程延誤。「發展機遇辦事處」的設立實可改善有關協調的機制,但一個擁有審批權而獨立運作的部門對複雜的項目進行審批,才是成功的關鍵。

學會歡迎政府推行「長者維修自住物業津貼計劃」及「樓宇翻新大行動」,建議增加的資助金額亦有助鼓勵業主對日漸老化的樓宇進行維修及保養工程,間接開創建築業同工的工作新機會。
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Old March 7th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #628
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提升建築物能源效益 學會倡擴至商住樓
5 March 2009
文匯報

 【本報訊】(記者梁悅琴)整體經濟不景氣,物業和土地的價格持續下挫,影響投資信心,發展商對於土地發展的投資亦變得更加謹慎。香港測量師學會歡迎地政總署繼續探討可行方法,以精簡修訂地價的程序,以及根據市場不斷改變的情況,補新地價評估。學會認為做法可有助鼓勵發展商於經濟衰退的市場環境下投放資源,刺激發展土地。

香港測量師學會對於政府致力提升建築物能源效益表示支持,亦歡迎「環境及自然保育基金」撥款4.5億元,資助私人大廈業主進行「能源及二氧化碳排放綜合審計」計劃。學會認為,「基金」的撥款應多投放於建築物的改善工程,亦應優先考慮批核予分權物業,以鼓勵業主進行有關工程。如果工程具實質財政和環境效益,於單一業權的樓宇推行有關改善工程應該會遇到困難。

應惠及「樓宇翻新」資助樓

學會亦建議,有關計劃應包括商用及住宅樓宇。由於計劃詳細內容尚待政府公佈,學會預計內容將包括實質的甄選標準。此外,私人樓宇的業主應符合甄選資格。學會亦希望有關資助計劃可擴至已受「樓宇翻新大行動」資助的樓宇。

測量師學會建議成立的「發展機遇辦事處」將有助推動發展項目工程的進行,亦有助刺激本港房地產業的發展。然而,過去由於長時期的跨部門協商,以及需經過多個不同政府部門的審批,使工程延誤。「發展機遇辦事處」的設立實可改善有關協調的機制,但一個擁有審批權而獨立運作的部門對複雜的項目進行審批,才是成功的關鍵。

學會歡迎政府推行「長者維修自住物業津貼計劃」及「樓宇翻新大行動」,建議增加的資助金額亦有助鼓勵業主對日漸老化的樓宇進行維修及保養工程,間接開創建築業同工的工作新機會。
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Old March 14th, 2009, 05:35 PM   #629
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Harbour Grand by 鄧麗欣之戀 from skyscrapers.cn :


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Old March 16th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #630
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Slight upturn tipped for property
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, March 16, 2009

The continued decline in property prices is expected to narrow to not more than 10 percent, after improved property sales and lower interest rates, according to a leading real estate agency.

Since the financial crisis hit in September, property prices have fallen about 20 percent from the peak last year. Prices in October alone fell 10 percent month on month, Midland Realty said.

Midland chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai expects the market to improve after satisfactory sale results from both the primary and secondary markets.

"Sentiment ... is improving, and banks are offering different residential mortgage packages to boost their business," Lau said. Over the weekend, 36 deals were recorded in the 10 largest housing estates, up 20 percent from the previous weekend, according to Centaline Property Agency.

"The sales of primary units have boosted market confidence, leading to a rise in secondary transactions at the weekend," said Louis Chan Wing-kit, managing director of Centaline's residential department.

Centaline expects the market to see 4,500 deals this month in the secondary market - an eight-month high - worth HK$12.5 billion.

The agency also said there will be about 450 deals in the primary market in March, up 110 percent from February. The total value will be HK$6.5 billion.

Nearly 90 homes at Harbour Place in Hung Hom sold over the weekend, market sources said. More than 700 units at the project, jointly developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) and New World Development (0017), have been sold since the resale started about two weeks ago. The developers have lowered prices by up to about 40 percent, compared with asking prices last year. Nan Fung Development's new project, Florient Rise, in Tai Kok Tsui, is expected to launch later this week.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #631
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URA could be given wider role
17 March 2009
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority's role may be expanded to take in rejuvenation of waterfront areas and rundown industrial zones.

The authority is also being viewed as a possible alternative to setting up an independent body to manage the harbourfront.

These possibilities will form part of a public consultation on urban renewal. The consultation, part of the two-year review which started in July last year, will enter the second stage this month.

Sources close to the government steering committee reviewing the strategy said it had reached broad consensus last week that the authority's scope should be extended to a "district-based" approach.

Under the new approach, it would look at every aspect of a district that needed improvement, including the waterfront and rundown industrial areas. "For example, before deciding which buildings should be demolished in Sham Shui Po, assessments should be conducted to identify which areas in the district need regeneration," a source from the steering committee said. "These areas can be streets, waterfront and industrial zones."

A holistic approach would ensure a district's open space and historic buildings were properly preserved and that rundown areas were revitalised, the source said.

For example, the authority is involved in redeveloping Kwun Tong and Cheung Sha Wan but it only targets residential buildings, without addressing the industrial areas. The same has happened in Western district, where concerns about improving the waterfront have fallen outside the authority's scope.

In Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority leases waterfront sites and sets up agencies to manage them. Members of Hong Kong's Harbourfront Enhancement Committee point to Marina Bay in Singapore as a good model to follow.

A senior government source said the administration did not oppose expanding the authority's role to include the harbourfront.

"Instead of setting up a statutory harbour authority, giving the Urban Renewal Authority an additional role could be a way out," the source said.

Review consultant Law Chi-kwong said the public would be asked to comment on at least eight issues raised in the first stage of the public consultation, which ended early this year.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 05:11 AM   #632
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Building sector smells revival
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The construction industry will start looking up by the end of this year, it has been predicted.
Hong Kong Construction Association president Conrad Wong Tin-cheung says he is confident that demand for construction workers will pick up .

While a number of projects, estimated at HK$10 billion, have failed to get off the ground in the past six months, Wong expects work to resume towards the end of the year though some projects may contain modifications to original plans.

"Annual investment in projects averages around HK$50 billion so there has been a 20 percent drop in projects in the past half year," Wong said.

"However, I believe projects will break ground, even if not in the same format. What was to be a hotel could well turn out to be a block of service apartments instead," he added.

Wong said there could even be a shortage of construction workers to meet growing demands by next year and his association has been trying to attract young workers.

"Traditionally, in sound economic times, fewer people consider working in the construction industry," Wong said. "However, when times are bad and people start considering other job options, this period actually works to our industry's advantage since starting salaries can be as high as HK$10,000 a month," he said.

Meanwhile, a 2009 version of the Best Practices Guide for Environmental Protection has been published and will be freely available to contractors for the first time.

HKCA deputy honorary treasurer Russell Jones said the 2009 edition is a follow-up to the first edition published in 2002 and has ben updated and broadened in scope to keep in tune with current legislation and the Development Bureau and the Environmental Protection Department's practice notes.

By following best practices, contractors can actually save money in the long run by avoiding lawsuits and using resources more efficiently, Jones said.

He noted the number of prosecutions by the Environment Protection Department for breaches of regulations in 2008 were only a quarter of what they were in 2000, dropping from 770 to 178 cases.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #633
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Building rules 'make projects less profitable'
17 March 2009
South China Morning Post

Tighter planning restrictions have made redevelopment projects less profitable, say urban renewal experts who have urged the government to regenerate the city instead of demolishing all older buildings.

Government advisers say an attractive renewal project is not necessarily profitable on its own and "intangible" profits, such as bringing in tourists and making areas more attractive, should also be considered.

"Much discussion has been focused on the roles of the Urban Renewal Authority. But we haven't really explored real issues we could face in the near future," said Law Chi-kwong of the University of Hong Kong's social work department.

Dr Law, who is advising the government on the review of the city's urban renewal strategy, said about 500 buildings reached the end of their useful life each year but only about 100 were demolished.

"With even fewer redevelopment projects happening because of the economic downturn, the city will have to deal with a rapid increase in the number of aged buildings," he said.

The problem was expected to be aggravated by developers' lack of incentive to replace older buildings with new ones, he said.

"Developers from the private sector will have little incentive for redevelopment since new planning regulations have made renewal projects less profitable," Dr Law said. "How should the city deal with the situation? Should we spend more on maintenance?"

New planning restrictions, such as capping buildings' height, reducing development density and increasing air corridors, reduce the possible gross floor areas that can be sold in new developments.

"Capping buildings' heights means fewer new flats with harbour views," said Wong Kam-sing of Hong Kong Institute of Architects. "It will definitely reduce the value."

But tearing down older buildings should not be the only way to renew urban areas, Professor Wong said. A concrete building usually had a life span of about 50 years, but this did not mean it became unsafe when it reached that age.

"We should consider lengthening their life span by refurbishing and upgrading," he said. "This is a more sustainable way. This is like what has been done in Japan and Australia."

A government urban renewal steering committee source said renewal projects brought extra benefits to the city, enhancing buildings' values and attracting tourists.

"So a project's profit could involve much more than the revenue from selling new flats," the source said.

The committee had not agreed on the authority's financing model, the source said, and whether it should be self-financing would be discussed during consultations this month.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #634
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Those affected count most on urban renewal
17 March 2009
South China Morning Post

Prosperity and sophistication inevitably mean greater expectations. Such is the case with Hong Kong's development. Our evolution to a first-world city has meant that what was permitted in the past is no longer acceptable. This has to be the underlying philosophy behind the reshaping of the Urban Renewal Authority.

The authority's work has focused on redeveloping and rehabilitating urban residential buildings. This has largely meant partnering with property developers with the aim of rejuvenating sites considered rundown. Financial considerations have been central to decisions. Landlords and tenants have had little or no say in the process; it was only in recent years that the URA started to make greater efforts to consult residents' views.

With the second stage of the two-year consultation process on the authority's future about to begin, it is time to broach the core issues. They are how far its work should extend and how it is funded. The suggestion as we report today that a district-wide development strategy should be adopted is a welcome one. It is right that the authority's focus should extend beyond residential blocks to all buildings, no matter whether they are of an industrial nature or even on the harbourfront. There are fine examples of how this can work to a city's advantage, from Singapore's Marina Bay to waterside sections of London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

Whether expanding the ambit of the URA will obviate the need for a separate harbour authority to manage the harbour and waterfront areas is debatable, however. In revitalising a district with a rundown harbourfront, it certainly makes sense for the authority to develop a strategy to also manage the affected foreshore. But not every part of our long waterfront is so dilapidated as to justify the URA's involvement. Victoria Harbour is our most valuable environmental asset. The case for a separate body to plan and manage the harbourfront remains strong.

The URA's role as facilitator rather than developer should be reviewed. Those living in urban areas of decay should be front and centre of any project. They should have a say, even to the point of being the ones to suggest how their district should be developed. Rejuvenation does not have to mean replacing the old with the new; renovation or rehabilitation can sometimes be as effective.

Over the years, conflicts have arisen because residents felt that redevelopment was foisted upon them. Despite its good intentions, the URA has often been accused of using public power to resume private properties and turn them over to profit-making developers. Perhaps the authority is better suited to become an agent, offering advice and help, on the request of owners, to revitalise their properties instead of going in as an unwanted do-gooder.

Urban renewal has to put the people directly affected by a project at the helm. Of all the views and desires, it is theirs that count most.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 07:05 PM   #635
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海桃今開價 入場傳300萬有找
亮賢谷客呎價四千


19/03/2009

新盤氣氛熾熱,多個西九龍區新盤趁勢開售爭市場購買力。市場人士透露,地旗下大角咀亮賢居,為催谷銷情,今日將加推部分低層海景戶,個別海景戶呎價料約4,000餘元起。至於南豐正低調接受買家預留單位的奧運站海桃灣,首批開售單位價單將於今日公布,市傳料涉及約28伙,個別售價可能低於300萬元。

市場人士表示,地趁海桃灣快將正式開售之際,今起加強催谷亮賢居銷情,首先會公布以驚喜價加推部分低層海景戶發售,呎價料約4,000餘元起。資料顯示,該盤早前亦曾加推6、7樓低層單位發售,其中園景戶的最低呎價僅4,288元起,售價333.6萬元起。

嘉亨特色戶呎價萬六
代理指出,地近期一直主力促銷西灣河嘉亨灣約50餘個貨尾,至今已速售該盤逾40個貨尾,銷情理想,其中3座高層C室Top of The Town特色戶,剛以約2,680萬元售出,該單位面積1,614方呎,連逾700方呎天台,呎價約1.66萬元,屬項目近期高價成交。

至於近日正低調接受買家預留1、3座部分單位的海桃灣,消息透露,南豐昨午與代理透露樓盤銷售安排時稱,本周六發售的首批單位價單將於今日公布,料涉及約28伙,其中至少2伙售價會有「驚喜」,估計有機會低於300萬元。據悉,該盤昨續接受買家預留單位。

同時,代理又稱,市建局等的大角咀i-home正積極部署加入戰團開售,該盤今將開放示範單位予傳媒參觀,並低調安排部分代理高層參觀現樓,料最快日內展開預留,市傳低層單位售價有機會約200萬元起,個別售價可能更加「驚喜」。

海自製相連戶賣1090萬
消息透露,信置的深水海剛引入首年全城最低按息樓按計劃後,昨即錄得自製相連戶成交。據悉,該盤40樓A、B室,面積分別為928方呎與978方呎,昨獲用家以1,090萬元購作自製相連戶之用。

另外,利嘉閣馮樹勳表示,個別買家趁西九龍區新盤開售前,偷步選購同區二手物業,其中奧運站帝柏海灣3座低層F室,面積645方呎,獲用家以363萬元購入。中原程尚傑稱,柏景灣8座低層H室,面積618方呎,連租約以306萬元售出,買家為投資者。
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Old March 21st, 2009, 06:59 AM   #636
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翹翠峰 - 元朗
By bextra from skyscrapers.cn :





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Old March 21st, 2009, 05:48 PM   #637
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New sites for application list decline to 6-year low
Global turmoil blamed as property development activity slows

21 March 2009
South China Morning Post

New land sites added to the government's application list have slumped to a six-year low, underscoring the bleak outlook for the property market.

Only four plots of land were added to the list - from which developers can trigger an auction - compared with 26 sites added a year earlier.

If all four sites were snapped up, land sales would earn the government up to HK$2.69 billion, a surveyor estimated.

The drop in new sites reflects the growing slowdown in development activity across Hong Kong as the global financial crisis deepens. The government invited developers to bid for 62 sites last year but only one small site in Sai Kung was sold compared with eight sites in the previous financial year.

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday said that developers had adopted a wait-and-see attitude on the property market as the economic outlook remained uncertain.

The government had received only five applications for land sales in the current financial year, a situation Mrs Lam blamed on poor market sentiment rather than government development restrictions.

Developers will be invited to bid for 61 sites in the financial year from April 1. The list of sites will include nine hotel sites and 48 others rolled over from the current financial year to March 31.

Only one of the four new sites can be developed for residential purposes. It is located in Kau To, near the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is worth between HK$1.41 billion and HK$2.26 billion, the most expensive of the newly added plots.

Alvin Lam, a director at Midland Surveyors, said the 61 sites were worth an estimated HK$51.37 billion, a decline of 19 per cent compared with the list released last year.

Under the application list system, a developer can trigger an auction by making a bid that is at least 80 per cent of a site's reserve price. Mrs Lam said the government had no plan to lower the requirement.

To encourage developers, Director of Lands Annie Tam Kam-lan said the government had increased the estimated profit margin of the developers and extended the time for development when they valued the sites.

Valuers said both changes could lower land values in the government's assessment.

However, Alnwick Chan Chi-hing, an executive director at Knight Frank, said the policies were ineffective.

"The land valuation by the government is higher than the market value. Developers will not be interested in triggering land sales," he said.

Mr Chan said three new commercial sites located in the New Territories were unlikely to attract bids.

Eric Yuen, an analyst at Dao Heng Securities, said developers were not willing to trigger land sales as prospects for the property market remained uncertain for the next two to three years.

"With the poor market sentiment, developers will not be interested in land sales unless the government lowers prices sharply," he said.

The Lands Department introduced the land application list system in 1999 after the regular land sales programme was suspended for nine months. Since 2004, sales of government land have been carried out solely through the application system, with regular land auctions suspended since 2003.

Mrs Lam said the land supply could be determined by market demand under the land application list system.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 05:55 PM   #638
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HK$1.7 billion Sports Institute a giant step in the right direction
22 March 2009
South China Morning Post

Work will get under way at last on redevelopment of the Hong Kong Sports Institute. A ground-breaking ceremony will take place this morning on the athletics track at the Fo Tan venue with Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing conducting the first rites.

His first dig with the shovel will usher in a new start for Hong Kong sport. Or let's hope so. The government has put its money and reputation on the line with this project, having already stated the newly refurbished and rebuilt Sports Institute will be the centrepiece behind the idea of turning Hong Kong into a "sports capital".

The total construction cost will amount to HK$1.7 billion. This excludes the HK$52.9 million already spent on preparatory work since 2007 - for site and slope investigation, surveys on structural and building services, as well as detailed designs which will transform the institute into a state-of-the-art facility.

The idea was born three years ago, soon after Hong Kong had been asked to provide the facilities to stage the equestrian events of the Beijing Olympics. The Hong Kong Jockey Club-funded deal included prime land from the SI being taken over to build stables at Sha Tin.

The athletes had to move out for this to happen. And in a quid pro quo from the government, sports will get an upgraded facility. In exchange for disrupting their lives and building the equestrian facility, athletes were told they would get a world-class venue where they could train.

In his 2006 policy address, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said: "It is the government's strategy in sports development to promote sports in the community, to develop elite sports, and to make Hong Kong a major location for international sports events."

The idea is to one day make Hong Kong a sports capital in the region. It won't happen overnight. The new Sports Institute will be completed only in 2012 or 2013, although some of the athletes, and some of the 11 elite sports (three more could join the roster soon: athletics, karate and snooker) will move in as early as next year.

As far as making the city a hub for major international sports events, the government has fallen flat on its face. There is not one new initiative created by the government since 2006, although it has piggy-backed on existing showpieces like next weekend's Rugby Sevens, or the Squash Open and the Cricket Sixes.

But thankfully, it has backed up its boast of "developing elite sports", to the delight of sports officials.

Trisha Leahy, chief executive of the Hong Kong Sports Institute, views this as a key step for elite sports development and an indication of the government's long-term commitment to investment in sport.

"Internationally, government-funded high-performance sport systems have become increasingly prevalent as countries compete to develop athletes and perform successfully on the world stage of elite sport," Leahy said.

"This is not an elitist agenda, but rather reflects a comprehensive strategy to improve the quality of sport development initiatives at every level across the community spectrum," she added.

So what will HK$1.7 billion bring for the athletes? For starters, they will get a new nine-storey multi-purpose building which will host an athletes' hostel with a capacity for at least 370 athletes, and residences for visiting teams and officials.

This facility, built on the existing outdoor velodrome in Fo Tan - a temporary velodrome will be situated at Whitehead - will also contain a sports information centre; a conference centre, lecture and coaching rooms and function rooms; athletes' canteen and restaurant; and administrative offices.

Then there will be a new multi-purpose sports hall which will include a 12-lane bowling centre, a wushu venue and four squash courts. There will be a new 52-metre indoor swimming pool connected to the existing 25-metre pool to form an integrated indoor swimming complex.

Rowing will get a new two-storey boathouse. The existing indoor sports complex will be upgraded to provide better facilities for table tennis, fencing, badminton, sports science laboratories, a sports medicine clinic and fitness training centre with an expanded recovery centre and coaches' offices.

Outside, the running/cycling trail will be improved, while a new covered 120-metre, four-lane warm-up track can get the track and field squad in the mood. Tennis will get four courts, two clay and two covered. Rain or shine, they can play on two of the commonest surfaces around. The rest of the area around the old courts will be converted into a new multi-purpose outdoor venue.

The disabled athletes have not been forgotten. There will be integrated facilities for sports like fencing, boccia, table tennis, rowing, tenpin bowling, swimming and track and field.

Built by the Jockey Club in 1982, and known then as the Jubilee Sports Centre, the HKSI hasn't had a major facelift or repair work in the past 27 years. At the time, it was one of the best facilities in Asia, but now it's tired and old. The redevelopment, forced on the athletes, is timely.

In these environmentally conscious days, the new building will be as green as they come. High on the priority list will be recycling with almost half of the 90,000 tonnes of construction waste being reused. The facility will also adopt various forms of energy efficient and greening features. But one of the most immediate impacts will be that on the labour market. It is estimated it will create about 1,080 jobs.

So when Tsang Tak-sing wields his shovel today, he will start a chain of events that will have huge repercussions.

"Having a vibrant and successful elite sports system is important for setting an example to the community," Leahy said. "It will provide role models to encourage young people to develop healthy and sporting lifestyles and therefore meet public health goals."

That would be the biggest legacy the Sports Institute could have. Spending HK$1.7 billion on a facility might be huge, but if it can cut down what the government spends on public health annually, it will be worth a thousand Olympic gold medals.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 07:02 PM   #639
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新盤首季成交料破百億
23/03/2009


儘管去年爆發金融海嘯,但豪宅在供不應求下,本年首季仍熱銷。有研究指出,受九龍站豪宅新盤天璽開售銷情報捷帶動,本季截至三月十九日,一手私樓註冊量879宗,涉及總值達93.34億元,整季數字料突破100億元,創近三個季度新高。

美聯劉嘉輝表示,首季暫錄一手私樓註冊量共879宗,成交總值在天璽推售的帶動下,已達93.34億元,較去年第三、四季的82.35億元與81.46億元為高,最終料突破100億元,創近三個季度新高,而暫時平均每宗一手登記總值為1,060萬元。

貴價樓註冊激增 天璽最多
該行指出,本季暫錄註冊個案中,以天璽錄得註冊量最多,其次為深水絈海聨、大角咀柏豐28、九龍城豪門1期及佐敦德成軒等。另首季至今逾2,000萬元的新盤註冊量顯著急升,期內錄得166宗同類登記,較上季僅17宗急升876.5%,亦創三季新高。

另利嘉閣周滿傑指出,本月首十九天共錄4,640宗樓宇買賣登記,總值161.7億元,按月急升29%及37%。中原黃良昇預測本月整體物業登記錄7,200宗及總值245億元,將創六個月及八個月新高,首季數字料1.8萬宗及590億元,按季同升18%。
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Old March 25th, 2009, 06:26 PM   #640
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New batch of happy flats joins seniors' Jolly Garden
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Hong Kong Housing Society is planning a third Senior Elderly Apartments Scheme project, offering 500 housing units with club-like facilities for middle-class senior citizens at Tanner Hill in North Point.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen officiated at the foundation-stone laying ceremony yesterday.

The project, estimated to cost HK$1.3 billion, is scheduled for completion by 2013.

The apartments will have sprinklers, emergency nurse alarms and specially-adapted doorbells. Other facilities include a medical center, gymnasium and an indoor swimming pool.

Vice-chairman Kenneth Chan Chi-yuk of the Elderly Service Association welcomed the project, saying it will help meet the increasing demand for accommodation for middle-class seniors.

He said the elderly residential apartments follow the concept of holiday resorts where they can enjoy room service just like in a hotel.

Chan pointed out that the association had underestimated the length of residency; it could increase from 10 to 15 years to around 20 years, extending waiting times for people seeking residence.

He noted that compared to other places in Asia, such as Taiwan, the development of residential homes for the elderly is still limited in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the society said the 576 units in Jolly Place, Tseung Kwan O and Cheerful Court, Ngau Chi Wan - also accommodating middle-class seniors - are now fully occupied and that there are about 200 people on the waiting list.
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