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Old June 11th, 2009, 04:39 PM   #741
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傲雲峰 by bextra from skyscrapers.cn :

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Old June 12th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #742
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Investment activity heightens up on the hill
12 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Supply at Beacon Hill's Dynasty Heights remains low with only a limited number of properties available.

One of the most significant sales last week was at Dynasty Villa, the most expensive of the three phases developed by Sino Group. A 2,613 sqft duplex with balcony, roof, private access and a rear garden was sold for HK$41 million.

The price was much higher than in 1997 when property prices peaked, said Kelvin Lo, manager of residential sales for Kowloon at Savills.

The 10-year-old Dynasty Heights, at 8 Ying Ping Road in Beacon Hill, has 592 units. It is a mix of low-rise and high-rise properties such as terrace houses with gardens and flats with three phases: Sky Lodge, Dynasty Villa and Tropicana.

The development, close to Kowloon Tong's Festival Walk, a 1 million sqft shopping mall, has its own tennis court, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a putting green, a gymnasium and toddler's playroom. It is particularly popular with tenants - 20 to 25 per cent of its units are rented properties.

Demand from buyers has been consistent, but flats of more than 2,000 sqft are in especially short supply. Only Dynasty Villa and Sky Lodge offer units of more than 2,000 sq ft.

There are only five units available for sale at Sky Lodge, each flat ranging from 833 sqft to 3,292 sqft, according to estate agent Centaline.

Last week, a 1,528 sqft three-bedroom flat with Victoria Harbour views sold for HK$14.8 million. The property was bought in 2004 for HK$10.33 million.

One 1,570 sqft flat with parking space for sale at Sky Lodge has been valued at HK$17 million. A 1,527 sqft rented flat in the same building sold for HK$13.65 million in March.

However, Mr Lo said that newer developments such as One Beacon Hill and Mount Beacon were more popular with buyers. Properties at Mount Beacon with a Kowloon Tong view will sell for between HK$13,500 and HK$14,500 per sqft. The average price per sqft at Sky Lodge is HK$11,000 to HK$12,000.

One Beacon Hill and Mount Beacon are mid-rise developments with their own clubhouse facilities such as sauna, squash court and swimming pool.

Last week a rented three-bedroom 1,487 sq ft flat was sold at One Beacon Hill for HK$16.12 million to a businessman as an investment. The property was bought in 2005 for HK$16.06 million.

Centaline said sales of luxury properties at Beacon Hill and in Kowloon had been strong.

There were 190 transactions last month and 11 of these were completed at One Beacon Hill.
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Old June 14th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #743
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Renewal policy 'needs new mindset'
13 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Town Planning Board members urged the government yesterday to "change its mindset" on urban renewal and stop treating such projects as a business.

The board said the requirement for the Urban Renewal Authority to fund itself inhibited efforts to preserve heritage and the character of the neighbourhoods it redeveloped.

Board vice-chairman Greg Wong Chak-yan cited New York's community-friendly renewal policy, which led to old factories being transformed into artists' lofts, as an example.

"Artists in New York are not asked to pay land premiums for changing the land use of factories," he said. "The conversion is good for the community in terms of social order, and economic and cultural development." Dr Wong said the government should relax its land premium policy for renewal projects and let redevelopment take place gradually.

"The government should change its mindset. Renewal projects should not be seen as a business."

Board member Walter Chan Kar-lok said the authority's financial model needed more public discussion. "It's impossible for the authority to be financially self-sustainable if it is to put more focus on heritage revitalisation and strengthening social networks. There is a price [for the improvements]. Is the public willing to pay for them?"

Members were consulted by the Development Bureau yesterday in the second stage of a two-year review of the urban renewal strategy.

Another board member, Ng Cho-nam, said previous renewal projects had violated principles of sustainable development. He hoped the future strategy would allow a "bottom-up" approach that took account of public opinion.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 04:23 PM   #744
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Landfill could be turned into eco-village HK$700m green holiday camp envisaged for Tseung Kwan O site
15 June 2009
South China Morning Post

A group of building professionals and former government officials have teamed up to work on plans to turn a former landfill site into the first eco-village in the Pearl River Delta.

The HK$700 million village in Tseung Kwan O will be the most environmentally friendly holiday camp in the city and a showcase for advanced "green" technologies.

Former chief secretary Sir David Akers-Jones, former director of buildings Cheung Hau-wai, former Observatory chief Lam Chiu-ying and the chairman of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, Nicholas Brooke, have been appointed advisers for the project.

The idea of building an eco-village on the 68-hectare former landfill site in Tseung Kwan O was first floated last year by the Professional Green Building Council, a non-profit research and education institute created by a group of building-related professional bodies. Tseung Kwan O has three landfill sites. The one under discussion has been idle for 14 years. The proposal sees a financially self-sustainable village that would have zero carbon emissions. It would be run by community organisations rather than the government or big business.

Financial and technical feasibility studies are expected to be completed this summer. This will be followed by lobbying for government funding. Universities, green groups and the Youth Hostels Association have expressed interest in the village.

"The idea of transforming a wasteland into a green village with unique designs will help Hong Kong take a leading role in both environment and creative industries in Asia," said council chairman Wong Kam-sing, who is taking the project forward. "Families and organisations in the village will have to obey the green rules. They could be given limited access to water and electricity, which would inspire them to think about green living."

The village will comprise five parks with village settlements, showrooms and education centres on different themes - water, energy, nature, waste and transport. Visitors to hostels in the "energy park" would be able to try out various renewable-energy installations, while those in the "earth park" would be invited to take part in organic farming. The site - larger than the proposed West Kowloon arts hub - is next to the Lohas Park residential project, which the MTR Corporation is touting as a green development. The village is expected to take up 45 hectares and will be connected to the MTR. A nearby canal will be revitalised for water activities.

The village would rely on two major income sources: rent and consultancy services. Families staying in hostels would be charged HK$500 a night, while non-profit organisations would be asked to pay to hold events. A chance to experience a hi-tech green lifestyle and a range of activities in the village is expected to be the main draw for families.

It is to be managed by a board including community representatives and professionals, and is expected to have 200 visitors per day and 400 housing units for a population of 1,200. The council proposes building the village - only one-storey buildings would be allowed - in three phases. The council hopes the government will fund the capital cost of HK$700 million.

"It means each person in the city will just need to pay HK$100," said Mr Wong, adding that the council could raise the start-up operating cost of about HK$22 million.

A source at the Environment Bureau said it was looking at options for the site. Other proposals include a soccer academy and a pet garden.

The chairwoman of the Legislative Council's Environment Committee, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, said a health assessment and a detailed cost-benefit analysis should be made if the project needed public funding.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 05:38 PM   #745
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URA records first deficit for five years with shortfall of HK$4.5b
17 June 2009
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority last year recorded its first operating deficit in five years and risks falling into the red as an emphasis on preservation cuts into potential revenue, the Development Bureau says.

The authority recorded a net operating deficit of HK$4.5 billion - the first since a shortfall of HK$80 million in 2003-04 - due to a provision for its big redevelopment project in Kwun Tong.

A source from the authority said it was likely to issue bonds this year to finance its projects.

In a paper submitted to the Legislative Council's planning panel yesterday, the bureau said the authority would continue to be heavily exposed to financial risks because it would focus more on preservation in the coming years. The authority's net assets were given at HK$9.9 billion as of March 31, but its commitment to projects under acquisition and resumption was HK$17 billion, leaving a financial gap of about HK$7 billion.

The government said last year's deficit was due to a HK$4 billion provision made for the HK$30 billion, 5.3-hectare Kwun Tong project.

The revitalisation of the rundown former industrial area will take 12 years to complete, turning Kwun Tong into a commercial and retail centre.

The authority source said Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah had agreed in principle that it should raise bank loans or issue bonds, but the plan had to be endorsed by the authority's board, and the Securities and Futures Commission.

More than 80 per cent of flats and shops involved in the Kwun Tong project have already been acquired, including 97 per cent from owner-occupiers.

A government spokesman said the authority would avoid undertaking controversial projects before the review on urban renewal strategy was completed in two years.

It is expected to start 15 projects in the next five years, with the focus on heritage preservation, refurbishment and beautification of old residential areas.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:37 PM   #746
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Workers in terrifying ride 12 floors up as 70km/h winds hit
13 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Two maintenance workers feared for their lives during a 20-minute swinging ride in their gondola 12 floors above the ground when 70km/h winds hit North Point yesterday.

One of the two men, aged 47 and 59, called police on his mobile phone at 10.44am saying that they had fallen inside the gondola, which was outside the Harbour Grand Hong Kong hotel in Oil Street when it was hit by strong wind. "He told police that the gondola nearly fell down and they were in danger," a police spokeswoman said.

Police said the men were doing external wall maintenance.

Cable TV footage showed the two workers on the floor and clinging to the rails of the gondola when it repeatedly swung left and right, sometimes hitting the wall of the hotel.

The Fire Services Department sent three fire engines and two ambulance men. A section of Oil Street and King Wah Road was closed to traffic, as officers were worried that the gondola could fall.

When the gondola had stopped swaying it could still be operated, a fireman said.

"When we arrived, the wind wasn't too strong, but the two workers were in a panic and they did not dare operate it," the officer said.

"We asked them to calm down, and {hellip} they operated it and abseiled down slowly."

He said it took about 20 minutes for the gondola to reach the ground.

The younger worker had a fractured leg and was in serious condition in Eastern Hospital. The other man was discharged from Ruttonjee Hospital after treatment for head and arm injuries.

The Observatory said gusts of up to 70km/h, yesterday's highest wind speed, swept through the city.

Scientific officer Tse Shuk-mei said its North Point station recorded wind speed of 70km/h at 10.39am, and it reached wind force level eight. Wind force levels are rated on a scale of one to 12; the higher the number, the stronger it is.

Yesterday, the Observatory issued the thunderstorm warning between 9.20am and 1.30pm asking the public to stay indoors and not stand on high ground.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:46 PM   #747
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Old is gold for buildings
22 June 2009
The Standard

There is a growing interest in the redevelopment of old buildings following a government proposal to make urban renewal easier.

A local fund has spent about HK$231 million on acquiring 90 percent ownership of an old building in Sai Wan, in the belief that the development potential of Western District will rise after the construction of the MTR West Island Line.

According to the Sing Tao Daily, sister publication of The Standard, the fund had to spend HK$2,800 to HK$3,000 per square foot on the eight-story Pit Fat Building at 58 Belcher's Street.

The total investment is expected to be HK$450 million for the area, which could be transformed into a gross floor area of more than 90,000 square feet. The fund will apply for compulsory sale of the whole project.

More developers are showing interest in acquiring old buildings after the Development Bureau proposed lowering the percentage of owners required to approve a compulsory sale for redevelopment from 90 percent to 80 percent. Sources said the local fund won 91.8 percent of undivided shares for the 49-year-old building before the bureau made its proposal.

Meanwhile, Richfield Group (8136) plans to acquire nine old buildings on Cha Kwo Ling Road in Yau Tong by offering HK$4,500 psf for flats and HK$4,800 psf for shops.

The nine buildings are 35 to 40 years old with five to 10 floors. They could be rebuilt into a GFA of more than 213,000 sq ft.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 03:58 PM   #748
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新地長沙灣永康街商廈 by fatshe :

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Old June 24th, 2009, 11:43 AM   #749
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Forced sale plans will face owners' protest
The Standard
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More than a dozen concern groups plan to stage a protest outside the Legislative Council today against proposed changes to the rules on the compulsory sale of old buildings, which they claim favor property developers.

The Development Bureau wants to lower from 90 to 80 the percentage of owners required to approve a compulsory sale of residential properties aged 50 years or older, and lots left with one unit not yet acquired.

The Legislative Council's development panel will discuss the proposed changes today.

Wong Ho-yin, of the People Planning in Action, said the government had neglected the interest of residents and commercial tenants when it drafted the "unfair" amendments to its urban renewal strategy.

"The government did not consult those who were most affected," he said. Under the proposals, owners opposed to the sale can only file a lawsuit at their own expense.

Among those opposed to the amendments is Sin Ho-yuen, who claimed he was shortchanged after he agreed to sell a 1,000 sqaure foot property on Haven Street for HK$15 million in June 2008. Four months later the financial tsunami hit and the developer applied to the Lands Tribunal which lowered the price to HK$8.5 million, he claimed.

Sin said he lost another HK$2 million in legal fees and spent a further HK$2.8 million on surveyors and engineers in a two-year court battle which he lost.

"By contrast, the property developers had a team of legal experts working for them," he said.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #750
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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 June 25th, 2009, 07:18 AM   #751
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Legco divided over help for developers
24 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Lawmakers are divided on a proposal to help developers acquire old buildings for redevelopment, with some critics saying owners should be helped to get a fair sale price instead of being left to fight alone against developers in court.

The Legislative Council will hold a hearing next month to gather views, and is due to discuss the legislation after the summer break.

At present, a developer must buy 90 per cent of the properties in old residential and industrial blocks in order to force an auction of the remainder. The plan is to lower the threshold to 80 per cent for three types of buildings, including those with all properties but one acquired, industrial buildings more than 30 years old and residential blocks over 50. The reserve price is set by the Lands Tribunal after considering both the unit owner's and the developer's assessments.

At the development affairs panel yesterday, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor defended the proposed measure against criticism from the League of Social Democrats' Albert Chan Wai-yip, who said it would help developers rob people of their flats.

"On average, flat owners in forced sales receive offers that are 1.8 to 2.2 times the value of their properties, with the value of redevelopment potential taken into account," she said.

But since the law was put in place in 1999, only two out of the 20 compulsory sale cases saw the developer bidding against others for the remaining flats. In other cases, the developer took over the property without competition, causing doubts that this process secures the highest price.

While he found lowering the threshold acceptable, Democratic lawmaker James To Kun-sun, said: "I am not sure whether the court has done justice when it decides a building should be redeveloped."

After the meeting, he explained that only one case for compulsory sale - a block in Mong Kok's Tung Choi Street - had been rejected so far, with the developer not appealing. "This means the upper courts have not discussed this type of case and there is no precedent to guide judges," he said.

He suggested the government could assess the property value as a third party when the price was disputed, rather than leave the flat owner to hire lawyers and surveyors for court proceedings.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #752
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Ocean Park to raise entry price, citing swine flu and cost of new attractions
24 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Ocean Park plans to raise its ticket price "shortly" in light of the drop in tourism due to swine flu and an increase in expenses arising from new attractions, the park's chairman said yesterday.

But Allan Zeman did not say by how much ticket prices would increase, only that admission had suffered a "serious hit" over the past two months despite robust growth up to April. He said the opening of new attractions, such as Amazing Asian Animals, was also behind the need for the increase.

"At some point this year, quite shortly, we will have to raise the price to meet our budget," Mr Zeman said.

"It would be after June, for sure. We're just waiting to see how the month finishes. When the price rise comes, it'll be value for money. It'll still be a lot cheaper than Disney."

The park yesterday gave the media a preview of its Summer Splash event, which debuts next Wednesday.

The park last raised ticket prices in October 2007, when the adult price was increased by 12 per cent to HK$208.

An adult ticket at Disney is HK$350. It raised its fares by 20 per cent in February.

Mr Zeman said Ocean Park attendance in May and June had fallen by up to one-third, and the number of local visitors had fallen by about 10 per cent. He anticipated that overall attendance this year would shrink by 5 per cent, though it would still possibly be the park's third-best year.

Figures released by the Tourism Board showed a 13.4 per cent drop in visitor arrivals last month. The decrease for the first five months was about 1.4 per cent.

Simon Hau Suk-kei, chairman of the Inbound Tour Operators Association, questioned whether this was the right time for the park to increase prices. He urged it to announce the details of the increase, including the time and extent, as soon as possible.

"If there are fewer visitors now, is this a good time to increase the ticket fares?" he said. "I fear this is a move only welcomed by the rival Disneyland."

He said that unlike Disney, which aims to make a profit, Ocean Park, as a non-profit-making statutory body, should have less pressure and urgency to increase its prices.

But an Ocean Park spokeswoman said it had to pay its operating expenses and be managed prudently because it did not rely on taxpayers' support. She said the park also had to repay the HK$5.5 billon syndicated loan for its redevelopment plans.
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Old June 26th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #753
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College's Tuen Mun expansion is part of tertiary vision, Tsang says
26 June 2009
South China Morning Post

Chu Hai College of Higher Education has been granted land in east Tuen Mun for a new campus, a move the chief executive said yesterday was part of government support for development of private tertiary institutions.

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen discussed the grant during a visit to the college's Tsuen Wan campus.

He said the new campus would accommodate up to 4,000 students - almost four times the capacity of the present one.

Chu Hai College, which has more than 1,100 students, was recently granted HK$350 million for the campus, which is expected to be in use by 2012.

Students and staff expressed delight at the news of the land grant.

"This area is too small but the number of students is increasing," one student told Mr Tsang. "So we are all happy to learn about the grant."

College president Chang Chung-nan said the institution would employ more teachers and increase the number of courses from 10 to between 15 and 20. He said the school would not develop too quickly because it wanted to maintain the quality of its teaching, and gaining university status was not the most important objective.

Established in Guangzhou in 1947, the college moved to Hong Kong in 1949.

Separately, the government has announced it will reserve two urban sites for private universities. Mr Tsang said he hoped details of the land grants - one on Hong Kong Island and one in Kowloon - would be announced by the end of this year.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #754
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壹號雲頂 by Starlight from skyscrapers.cn :

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Old June 28th, 2009, 07:53 AM   #755
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沙田水泉澳擬建17幢公屋
2009年06月28日(日)




【本報訊】受停建居屋計劃影響而被迫腰斬的全港首個環保居屋計劃沙田水泉澳建屋計劃,有望「翻生」。由於近年公屋用地不足,政府最近重新將該幅地皮交回房屋委員會興建公屋,房署計劃興建十七幢樓高約四十層的公屋大廈,提供約一萬個公屋單位,容納三萬多人,屬房委會近年罕見的大型建屋計劃,估計公屋單位可於二○一四至二○一六年分批落成。
設大型商場停車場

沙田第五十二區水泉澳地皮佔地九公頃,目前是政府空置地皮。水泉澳建屋計劃曾是房屋委員會重頭發展項目,房委會原本打算發展為全港首個環保居屋,並進行公開設計比賽,不過,由於政府在○二年宣布停建及停售居屋,水泉澳建屋計劃被迫腰斬,當年房委會曾考慮將地皮改建公屋,但當時該區基礎設施,如渠道及交通網絡等未能支持公屋人口,最後房委會決定將地皮交回政府。由於當時水泉澳發展項目設計工作已接近完成,房委會因為中止該計劃而損失七千萬元。

不過,隨着過去五年水泉澳附近交通網絡不斷發展,渠道亦於去年完成敷設,加上近年公屋用地供應不足,政府決定重新將水泉澳的地皮交回房委會興建公屋。該公屋計劃除有一萬個公屋單位外,更設有達九千平方米的大型商場、停車場及交通交匯處等。

房署在屋邨設計上會顧及地盤特色、樓宇高度會參照鄰近環境,依山而建,高低有致,房署除會進行空氣流通影響評估外,更會設置通風廊,確保通風環境理想,確保不會出現屏風效應。建造工程預計二○一一年五月動工,分期於二○一四年初至二○一六年中竣工。

身兼房委會委員的沙田區議會發展及房屋委員會副主席楊倩紅稱,由於近年多個區議會均反對於區內增建公屋,房署官員最近曾向區議會「摸底」,游說支持此計劃,區議會初步反應正面,她相信計劃有望獲通過。
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Old June 29th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #756
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薄扶林心光重建住宅 露曙光; 城規:助改善環境 惟須降發展密度
622 words
20 June 2009
香港經濟日報

恆隆地產(00101)爭取多年就港島西薄扶林心光盲人院重建住宅,終露曙光。雖然規劃署表明該地因交通及噪音問題,不宜作住宅發展,惟昨天城規會卻認為該地可建住宅,指有助改善環境,但條件是要進一步降低發展密度。

心光盲人院位於薄扶林道131號,過去兩度遭城規會否決後,發展商今年4月第三度申請,較前方案之發展密度減3成,擬建3幢14層高住宅,較前方案減建6至10層,地積比由3倍降至2.1倍,總樓面14.6萬平方呎,少建6.26萬平方呎樓面。

延審議 要求相關部門研究

政府多個部門就該申請進行評估,規劃署總結認為,該地基於交通及噪音影響,並不適合作住宅發展。正當市場預料項目難於本周五城規會過關之際,城規會昨天審議時,認為對心光盲人院要物色地方提升設施予以同情,並相信心光盲人院位於薄扶林現址可作住宅發展,但需就項目發展規模及設施作出修訂,故昨決定延遲審議該申請,並要求相關部門再進行研究。

城規會發言人指,委員認為項目現申請以地積比2.1倍重建的發展規模過高,要求進一步降低,並認約1.95倍的地積比會較為合理;同時要求加闊樓宇之間的距離,以騰出更多空間改善空氣流通;至於交通問題方面,委員認為若密度降低,亦可減輕交通負苛,而項目重建後可改善環境,故希望發展商就申請作出修訂,之後再作審議。

新地元朗錦田項目獲批

另外,大鴻輝位於灣仔太原街43至63號項目,申建一幢31層高酒店,因有關物業現定為3級歷史建築物,故需進行諮詢後作決定,故延期審議。又新地(00016)元朗錦田下高埔村住宅發展項目,城規會批准修訂計劃,准建73幢住宅。
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Old June 30th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #757
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Old Wan Chai eatery goes for $420m
30 June 2009
The Standard

A private developer has bought the traditional Chinese Lung Moon Restaurant in Wan Chai for HK$420 million.

Henry Cheung Wai-keung is considering two plans to redevelop the site of the four-story restaurant on Johnston Road, The Standard's sister publication Sing Tao Daily has learned.

The site area covers 4,300 square feet and has a gross floor area of more than 16,000 sq ft.

The first proposal is to build a commercial shopping complex. Another option is to join other developers to construct a building with a gross floor area of 64,500 sq ft _ 15 times the current site area.

Lung Moon is one of the oldest traditional restaurants in Wan Chai, and is close to Lee Tung Street _ also known as Wedding Card Street _ which will also be redeveloped. The Urban Renewal Authority announced last week that a consortium consisting of Sino Land (0083) and Hopewell Holdings (0054) won the joint development contract for the Lee Tung Street-McGregor Street project.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #758
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URA to consider releasing more details
24 June 2009
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority has agreed to consider disclosing financial details of each redevelopment project after pressure by lawmakers.

This follows complaints about a lack of transparency by members of the Legislative Council development panel yesterday at a meeting where the authority was asked to explain its financial and business plans.

"We have just been informed that seven completed projects generated a surplus of about HK $1.5 billion. But do all projects generate profits? Or did some suffer a loss?" asked Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood.

Abraham Razack, representing the property sector, said the authority gave the public the impression that its operations lacked transparency. He wondered whether it was worried that the disclosure of such information would indirectly increase the acquisition cost of future projects, but said: "It shouldn't be a worry. The authority is always required to follow the established mechanism to offer compensation."

Alan Leong Kah-kit, of the Civic Party, asked whether contractual arrangements with developers prevented the authority from disclosing financial details.

Authority chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen said it could only disclose limited information because each redevelopment project involved joint venture partners, who could be affected by commercially sensitive information.

Mr Razack rejected the explanation. "There shouldn't be any secrets given that the government has injected HK$10 billion into the authority."

The authority's managing director, Quinn Law Yee-kwan, said the contractual agreement only required developers not to disclose tendering details. It did not control disclosure of financial details of redevelopments.

Mr Cheung said the authority would consider disclosing more financial information in the future.

A source close to the authority said board members would be consulted on the possibility of disclosing the financial outcome of each completed project.

Mr Cheung added that the authority would increase its cash flow by issuing bonds valued at HK$1 billion to HK$2 billion this year. The bonds would be aimed at institutional investors.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 07:28 PM   #759
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By bextra from skyscrapers.cn :

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Old July 3rd, 2009, 06:36 PM   #760
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New battle over Wan Chai `mega' block
26 June 2009
The Standard

Residents of Wan Chai's ``mid-levels'' are gearing up for another fight .

More than a decade after resisting Hopewell's proposed Mega Tower project in the area, residents are fighting plans to redevelop a tiny church and primary school in the quiet neighborhood into a multi-story mega building.

St James' church and primary school, which sits on a 3,700 square-meter site on Kennedy Road, is set to be redeveloped into a ``three-in-one'' 15-story building to hold a church, a primary school and a community service center, according to residents who obtained the information from a public document.

The residents had opposed the Hopewell project for fear it would have a wall effect and restrict airflow in the area, as well as cause traffic chaos _ the same concerns they have on the mega building plans.

Residents' spokesman Mak Kwai- sing said they were unaware of the redevelopment project until informed by a contractor in April that the old building was being torn down.

The Education Bureau said the Wan Chai District Council had been ``duly consulted'' in July 2008 before it sought funding approval from the Legislative Council in February 2009.

However, several Wan Chai district councilors said they had neither approved nor disapproved the plan.

``When the Education Bureau and St James' Settlement presented the project to us, they focused on school redevelopment without telling much about the service center and the church,'' councillor Wong Wang-tai said.

According to the council vice chairman Stephen Ng Kam-chun, it did not have enough information about the project during the meeting to give any support.

``The bureau should not have interpreted in a way that, if we had no objection, we therefore agreed to the project. As a matter of fact, we were unable to come up with any decision to support or oppose the project since we did not have enough information,'' Ng said.

There is no legal requirement for St James' Settlement to obtain approval for the redevelopment from Town Planning Board or the district council.

But Wong said: ``As a matter of courtesy and for harmony in the neighborhood, shouldn't St James' Settlement also present to us the full picture of the project and listen to its neighbors when thinking of such a big project?''

The councillors will write to the Development Bureau to ``clarify'' the council's position.

Wong has also arranged a meeting for residents and St James' Settlement tomorrow morning in the hope the issue can be resolved.

However, St James' Settlement said the redevelopment is designed to meet social needs and educational requirements in the district.

A spokesman said it also consulted the District Council last summer and notified residents in April.
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