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Old November 25th, 2005, 03:50 PM   #81
hkskyline
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Vitality of city being sacrificed for money

Hong Kong needs to involve district councillors in the urban planning process to save the territory's metropolitan landscape, a conference on urban regeneration was told.

Andrea Chiu
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hong Kong needs to involve district councillors in the urban planning process to save the territory's metropolitan landscape, a conference on urban regeneration was told.

In a presentation called "Destroy Hong Kong," controversial local theater director and architect Mathias Woo Wednesday accused the Urban Renewal Authority of prioritizing money over the city's vitality, and in the process sacrificing neighborhoods such as Wan Chai. "Why use HK$30 billion to build Disneyland and [at the same time] destroy Wan Chai?" he said. "They ignore heritage to build big buildings that are 60 stories. Why? The only reason is it makes more money."

Woo suggested giving district councillors more influence on urban planning to help curtail the sameness of city building. In his policy address last month, Chief Executive Donald Tsang pledged to expand district councils' power.

The forum brought together a wide spectrum of local and international experts including architect Steve McAdam, a member of the London Olympic Games' masterplanning team, and Hong Kong University department of architecture head David Lung.

"There is a lack of ownership in the Hong Kong fabric," architect and harbor activist Jonas Chan said at a post- forum roundtable. He called on people to take responsibility for their own neighborhoods, which, in turn, would empower their local councillors.

Wan Chai District councillor Mary Ann King said it is important for her and her counterparts to have a larger role in urban planning because they better understand local needs and sentiments.

She gave as an example Wan Chai, where deep-rooted communities are being bulldozed as part of a large urban renewal project. Residents, she said, do not want "mega-buildings" overwhelming the neighborhood's small streets that date back 90 years. "Giant buildings will upset the environment," King said. "We don't mind development but it should be sensible."

In addition to engaging the public, she said the government needs to properly educate citizens so they can make informed decisions about urban planning. She described the Urban Renewal Authority's methods of public consultation in Wan Chai as "anti-intellectual and inaccurate." The average person cannot give an informed opinion because they do not have a well-rounded grasp of the issues, even after "a 40-minute PowerPoint presentation," she said.

An Urban Renewal Authority spokeswoman said: "The authority respects the opinion of district councillors very much and keeps close contact with them for every project."
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Old November 30th, 2005, 02:27 AM   #82
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灣仔重建規劃﹕莊士敦道倡改單向行車
11月 30日 星期三 05:05 更新



【明報專訊】市建局在灣仔這充滿歷史建築的舊區,已陸續收購逾14幢樓宇重建或保育,市建局將擺脫昔日項目各自發展的模式,投入更多資源協調項目設計及綠化鄰近街道,建議莊士敦道行人路拓闊至電車路旁,務求將這些「點」串連成線,翻新整個灣仔面貌,又仿效澳門的「議事亭前地」建築,替歷史建築前方預留更多空地作陪襯。

拓闊行人路 建築物留「前地」

市建局正進行灣仔總綱構想諮詢工作,以整區的規劃角度協調各項目發展。市建局高級規劃及發展經理區志偉表示,灣仔會以「點線面」的形式規劃,透過開展項目重建或復修工程,藉以向路政署、康文署等政府部門溝通協調,爭取同時間翻新附近一帶街道,以及進行綠化工程。

他舉例,即將開展的利東街重建及船街項目,街道將劃為行人專區,方便市民穿梭,而運輸署正研究如何改善莊士敦道交通,建議將之改為單向東面行車,將行人路拓闊至電車路旁,市建局則配合提供設計,可望將各式景點連接起來。

區志偉又指會仿效澳門建築物的「前地」特色,如發展利東街,3幢受保護的唐樓前的一片空地將會保留,讓市民「影相會有位站立」,並令這些歷史建築在鬧市中更引人注目。
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 01:55 AM   #83
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Walls come down as plan to redevelop village is approved - Nga Tsin Wai will become part of a housing and shopping complex, but sections of it will be preserved
16 November 2005
South China Morning Post

A project to turn the 800-year-old walled Nga Tsin Wai village in Wong Tai Sin - hailed as the last cultural relic in downtown Kowloon - into part of a luxury residential and shopping complex has been approved following years of wrangling between conservationists and residents.

After repeated petitions by residents, the Wong Tai Sin district council last week approved the redevelopment project, reversing its decision five years ago to preserve the village as a cultural heritage site.

Parts of the village will remain, however, and the new ruling calls for the preservation of the clan hall, Tin Hau goddess temple and an ancient arch, which can be traced back to the Soong dynasty

The 50,000 sqft site, comprising a myriad of ageing one- to two-storey houses, is surrounded by mostly high-rise public units built by the Housing Authority.

Of the 50 families living in the village, only two tenants are opposed to the redevelopment.

Before the now-defunct Land Development Corporation - subsequently replaced by Urban Renewal Authority - announced plans to redevelop the walled village in 1993, Cheung Kong (Holdings) had already acquired more than a third of the properties in the village.

The private developer reportedly now owns almost 80 per cent of the properties.

Cheung Kong plans to build two 25-storey residential-cum-commercial blocks with about 650 units and a 10-storey office building on the site.

The renewal authority will likely have to carry out the redevelopment project in a joint venture with Cheung Kong.

The Nga Tsin Wai village site is close to another 137,000 sqft site acquired by Sun Hung Kai Properties last year. The developer plans to develop a luxury apartment block there with 250,000 sqft of retail space.

Work is expected to be completed in 2009.

The completion of the two projects would turn the run-down area into another residential and commercial hub serving southeast Kowloon, according to some market watchers.

Executive director of CB Richard Ellis Yu Kam-hung said the development potential of the area was excellent. "It is a very big site, and I expect it to become another self-contained luxury residential area in the district," Mr Yu said.

Village representative Ng Chin-hung said the district council's decision was long overdue. "The living environment in the village is very poor. Most people want the government to redevelop the place soon and get rehoused," he said.

Villagers claimed they had been offered compensation of $4,800 a sqft in 1999, but they hoped the authority would consider making a better offer.

However, Pang Shiu-kee, managing director and property surveyor of SK Pang Surveyors, estimated the land was only worth about $4,000 a sqft.

The cost of the redevelopment project would be about $2.5 billion, according to Mr Pang.

Village representative Mr Ng blamed the district council for the delay in the redevelopment. The project had slowed down in 2000 after the Wong Tai Sin district council passed a motion demanding the entire walled village be preserved.

This was despite the fact that the Antiquities Advisory Board determined that the village homes did not possess a heritage value worth saving when it visited the area in 1994, 1999 and 2000.

Veteran councillor Wu Chi-wai, of the Democratic Party, said councillors had no intention of holding up or halting the project.

"We only asked the government to preserve what should be preserved. If the government was satisfied that nothing needed to be preserved, there was little we could do," he said.

"We were aware of the slow progress of the project, but we had thought it was because of some compensation disputes. It was not until recent months after petitions by residents that we knew they had misunderstood [that] our 2000 decision was meant to block the project."

He said that, in any case, the progress of the project would have been slowed by the market downturn. "The authority did not have adequate funding to do the redevelopment anyway," he said.

A spokesman for the Urban Renewal Authority said: "The [authority] will now proceed to [make] preparations for redevelopment while putting together with the help of conservation experts [a] plan on how to preserve the relics in a serious and meaningful way."

The spokesman said residents and district councillors would be consulted when more details of the redevelopment plans had been made public.

Nga Tsin Wai village is among the oldest in Kowloon, and is the only traditional Chinese walled village in the urban area. The clan hall and the Tin Hau Temple in the village have remained intact.

The walled village was designed in a grid with homes connected by six narrow alleys. The village has been home to generations of three indigenous families - the Chans, the Ngs and the Lees.

Historians and urban conservationists had staged a fight to block the redevelopment, saying the village should be preserved and turned into a heritage park.

Previously, the village featured a watch tower, a moat, and a drawbridge. The moat was filled up during the Japanese occupation. Two cannons were buried near the entrance.

Once every 10 years the village celebrates the Tai Ping Ching Chiu festival to thank the goddess of Tin Hau for pacifying the sea and driving away evil spirits. The last festival was held in 1996.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 06:18 AM   #84
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Residents wary of plan for Sai Ying Pun

The Urban Renewal Authority plans to spend HK$357 million to turn a decrepit area of Sai Ying Pun into a public park with just one residential skyscraper and a few small shops.

Winnie Chong
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, December 03, 2005







The Urban Renewal Authority plans to spend HK$357 million to turn a decrepit area of Sai Ying Pun into a public park with just one residential skyscraper and a few small shops.

However, a Central and Western District councillor fears that many of the 180 tenants living in the area may not agree with the redevelopment plan unless they are adequately compensated.

The 19,000-square-foot area is bounded by Yu Lok Lane and Centre Street. It is currently cluttered with 21 old buildings, eight of which date before World War II while the others are at least 40 years old.

The authority proposes to keep one 60-year-old, two-story building, complete with its balcony and wooden ladder as part of the "old Hong Kong theme" for the park which will encompass two-thirds of the total area.

It will build a 30-story block comprising 220 flats in the residential section, with about 1,350 sq ft of floor space reserved for shops.

The authority's senior planning and development manager, David Au, said that as Sai Ying Pun has a high population density, there should be more open space for residents.

To do so, the authority will have to acquire 47 property interests.

"In fact, many lanes in the area had in the past been designated as leisure space. However, because of individual property interests, the government found it difficult to develop [the area]. So we feel the best way forward is via urban redevelopment," Au said.

The authority will first have to obtain the consent of the Town Planning Board and the approval of the Chief Executive in Council, the government's top decision-making body, before it can offer compensation or rehousing to tenants in exchange for the properties.

It is expected that the acquisition process will start in 2007 and the redevelopment completed by 2012.

However, Central and Western District councillor Kam Nai-wai said the project may not be welcomed by all tenants.

He said a similar plan in 2002 around First and Second streets was met with strong opposition by many tenants who said the compensation they were offered was not enough to find comparable accommodation in the same area.

"Even though their buildings are old, some residents may not welcome the redevelopment plan, especially as they do not know the compensation they can expect from the authority," he said.

A flat owner, surnamed Ho, did not agree with the development plan saying she will not be able to buy a similar- sized flat with the same quiet environment. A tenant, Lam Sau-kwong, said the provision of more leisure space is a good idea but he is not sure if he will be able to get another flat in the same area.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 08:06 AM   #85
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重建大計保留百年舊樓
塘西故城變身小綠洲

03/12/2005
太陽報



市區重建局準備耗資三億五千七百萬元,推行西營盤餘樂里及正街發展計畫,改變西區舊貌,把一片殘破不堪的塘西故城,轉化成一個歷史主題公園及住宅用地,並構思將之打造一個市區小綠洲,預計約有八十戶家庭,共約一百八十人受影響。有關計畫待城規會及行政會議通過後展開收購行動,並於二○一二年完工。

市建局發展總監李敬志表示,重建計畫的初步構思,是盡量在地面騰出空間,建造有獨特園藝設計的休憩公園,營造懷舊情懷,反映西營盤傳統的地區特色。市建局會再與居民商議新構思,及尋求歷史學家和建築設計專家提供協助。

保留兩老樹增綠化空間
該建議項目新落成的樓面,集中在一座離地二十多呎的住宅大廈,預計三十層高、可提供約二百二十個單位,及約一千三百五十平方呎的商業樓面。李敬志續稱,整個地盤會發展成市區小綠洲,為公眾提供面積近一萬二千平方呎的休憩公園,在重建範圍內,將最少會保留其中兩棵樹齡較大的樹木,又會種植新樹木,增加綠化空間。

重建地盤面積共一萬九千六百平方呎,休憩公園將佔地六成,是市建局規劃中地面面積比例最大的公園。該重建區現時有二十一幢樓宇,大多建於四、五十年代,樓高兩至三層,樓宇情況十分殘舊,無法進行具效益的復修,部分戰前樓宇甚至沒有基本生設施。但市建局會保留其中一幢逾百年樓齡的樓宇,納入休憩公園範圍內,以保留古舊特色。

李敬志指出,預計受計畫影響有四十七個業權,八十多戶家庭共約一百八十人,該局在取得城規會及行政會議批准後,於○七年初展開物業收購工作及處理租客的安置補償,並按該區樓齡達七年以上的樓宇為準則,估計開支為一億一千九百萬元,而整個發展計畫成本,包括建築費等,合共約為三億五千七百萬元,預計可於二○一二年完工。

發展計畫昨日刊憲,待城規會及行政會議批准後,正式按同區七年樓齡收購物業,及向租客提供現金補償或公屋安置。據美聯物業數字,附近七年樓齡的「雅賢軒」最近成交呎價為約四千元。

港島西被視「油田寶庫」
美聯物業中西半山營業董事馮劍釗稱,發展商求地若渴,港島西區更屬「油田寶庫」,相信即使餘樂里項目的商住面積比例較低,但主題公園加上日後的地鐵西港島線,對買家有一定吸引力,應可如西營盤第一、二街重建項目般受多個發展商爭奪,每平方呎成本價可達五千元。

市建局為受重建影響的居民,成立聖雅各福群會市區重建區服務隊,提供幫助。連同今次項目,市建局自○二年起,共開展二十三個重建項目,總成本估計約為一百八十億元。
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 01:22 PM   #86
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I pitty on you, do you think anyone reads your article apart from you obviously.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 05:23 PM   #87
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Actually a lot do, and there are plenty of discussions in the Hong Kong subsection, and obviously you came in here. Scroll back a page and check out the comments left by other forumers. Cheers.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 08:36 PM   #88
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im reading!!! support!!!
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Old December 7th, 2005, 04:38 PM   #89
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TST East faces urban decay
Even a new rail link has failed to draw shoppers to the area

7 December 2005
South China Morning Post

Investors and retailers in Tsim Sha Tsui East hoping for a boost to their businesses after the opening of a new rail link between Hunghom and Tsim Sha Tsui a year ago appear to have lost out. The line has failed to draw shoppers to the area, as some analysts had expected.

And with Hong Kong's biggest nightclub, China City, due to move out on Friday, the area is likely to become even less attractive as a commercial hub, according to some market watchers.

CB Richard Ellis executive director Yu Kam-hung said the business outlook in the area was gloomy.

"There can hardly be further development," he said. "It is a natural process of urban development, or decay, if you like. Hong Kong has developed into a financial centre. Most prime offices have moved to Central or Wan Chai. Tsim Sha Tsui East, where the offices were built to accommodate traditional trading firms, has inevitably become quieter."

Last year, the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp opened East Tsim Sha Tsui, an interchange station with Tsim Sha Tsui station on the MTR. The government also has plans to relocate the bus terminal outside the Star Ferry pier on the Kowloon side to Tsim Sha Tsui East, making way for an amphitheatre at the Star Ferry site in a project to beautify the waterfront.

Ricacorp Properties sales manager Adam Lai warned that retail business in the area could be further hit when more construction work began.

"People will not go shopping in a big construction site. At present, the main park in the area - the Centenary Garden - is undergoing redevelopment. More hoardings would scare away shoppers," said Mr Lai, who cited the example of Wing On Plaza near an exit of the East Tsim Sha Tsui station, where more than a third of the shops have been idle over the past year.

Rents at the New Mandarin Plaza, on the periphery of Tsim Sha Tsui East, are between $70 and $115 per square foot, while rents at prime malls such as Peninsula Centre, where the China City nightclub is located, are about $130 a square foot.

These figures are 5 per cent to 10 per cent up from last year, but lag far behind the almost 200 per cent returns for some shops in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, according to Ricacorp Properties.

Sino Land is reportedly planning to renovate its two shopping arcades in Tsim Sha Tsui East - Tsim Sha Tsui Centre and Empire Centre - in an attempt to boost business.

A senior executive at a leading private developer said: "The multi-ownership of shopping malls in the district has made large-scale improvements difficult. One mall does some renovation, but others do not. It can hardly jazz up the whole district."

Albert Tong, deputy regional sales director (retail) in Kowloon for Centaline Property Agency, was more optimistic.

He said several new, upmarket restaurants would be moving into the area.

"At present, it is more or less a tourist precinct. But changes are expected around March or April next year," he said.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 03:42 AM   #90
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I'm reading on it too, thank you HKskyline
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Old December 8th, 2005, 08:23 PM   #91
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Vision builds up a winning complex
Great Eagle deputy chairman K.S. Lo wins honour for his foresight

8 December 2005
South China Morning Post

The vision of an old residential Mongkok transformed into a trendy shopping and hotel complex has earned Lo Ka-shui, deputy chairman and managing director of Great Eagle Holdings, the DHL/SCMP Business Person of the Year award for 2005.

With Hong Kong's business environment the best in six years, the judging panel said it was a difficult process choosing a winner.

"The winner every year deserves the award as there is quite serious competition," said Eden Woon, chief executive of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, who has sat on the judging panel for nine straight years.

As the winner this year, Mr Lo paid tribute to his family and especially to his parents.

"The Chinese characters in the name Great Eagle are made up of the characters for the names of my parents who are the founders of the company. I hope we will continue to bring pride to their hearts," said Mr Lo.

The owner of the Mongkok complex Langham Place, Mr Lo dismissed claims that retailers were being squeezed out by steep rental costs.

"We have spent a lot of money in upgrading the whole mall and the environment in order to encourage more traffic flow. The tenants should benefit in turn," Mr Lo said, adding that most tenants in the newly opened mall were already tied into two to three-year leases that could not be changed until they expired.

This year the panel awarded a new prize - the lifetime achievement award - to Chiang Chen, chairman and founder of Chen Hsong Holdings and Chiang Chen Industrial Charity Foundation.

"There are many people in mainland China who had suffered from the harsh economic environment by the time I set up the foundation. My desire has been to change China from an agricultural to an industrial country and further into a politically well-developed country," Mr Chiang said.

Phil Yang, senior vice-president of DHL, said 2005 had been a particular good year for Hong Kong and strong trade growth and buoyant customer confidence meant DHL could fast forward its Asian expansion plans.

David Armstrong, director, editorial at the South China Morning Post, also said 2005 had been a remarkable year, with China Construction Bank's US$8 billion initial public offering, the largest in the world, taking place in Hong Kong and the Housing Authority successfully relaunching its Link Reit which had attracted the likes of The Children's Investment Fund Management to be its largest shareholder.

The judging committee also named Alfred W.K. Chan, managing director of the Hong Kong and China Gas Company, as the winner of the executive award; Chow Yei-ching, chairman and managing director of Chevalier International Holdings, as the winner of the owner-operator award; Albert Wong, president of Eastern Worldwide Company, as the winner of the young entrepreneur award, while A.S. Watson Group won the international award, and Value Partners took the enterprise award.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 08:54 PM   #92
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I read them too so keep them coming. Thanks
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Old December 9th, 2005, 08:56 AM   #93
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I'm reading most of the articles as well!
THX to hkskyline

btw, i remember reading abt below project yrs ago...
was it on hold?


Residents wary of plan for Sai Ying Pun







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Old December 9th, 2005, 08:13 PM   #94
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^ Will done on 2012...long way to go
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Old December 10th, 2005, 12:21 AM   #95
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I'm not too sure whether the Si Ying Pun project was proposed years ago and recently revived. There are a lot of old buildings in this area and redevelopment has been quite spotty. It doesn't seem high on the government's priority list, especially with much older district such as Sham Shui Po and Kwun Tong that are in more urgent need of attention.
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Old December 10th, 2005, 04:31 AM   #96
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灣仔舊街變身潮流區
10/12/2005


免費奇幻表演
巡迴全球多個城市表演的索拉奇藝坊,十六日將在本港為結束亞太區巡迴表演作最後告別,昨更於海港城免費公演「奇幻之旅」的「空竹」表演。四名中國年輕表演者利用傳統中國玩意—搖搖,在人形金字塔上表演。


【本報訊】位處金鐘與灣仔新舊區交界的太古廣場是港島時尚消費點,發展商太古地產去年起擴大「地盤」,在廣場三座附近街道進行美化工程,吸引不少食肆和其他店舖進駐該區,令較舊的建築物增添一份時代感和潮流感。該處今年已有七間食肆開業,勢必將帶動附近舊街成為港島區另一至潮食肆及商舖集中地。

美化工程曾掀小風波
太古地產去年大事粉飾位於皇后大道東一號的太古廣場三座附近街道,在皇后大道東、萬茂里、星街、永豐街和永豐西街等街道鋪上新地磚、街燈及欄杆、又美化巴士站、更換新款路牌、廣植樹木綠化等。太古地產會承擔日後的維修保養,政府毋須付出額外費用。

太古地產發言人表示,集團早於五年前規劃太古廣場三座的美化工程,包括重鋪路面、更換新路牌、改善巴士站、興建連接地鐵金鐘站的行人隧道等,但主要工程去年才動工。在永豐街開業才兩個月的三文治店Pantry負責人亦對美化工程讚不絕口。美化工程曾引起小風波,香港貨車從業員職工會主席葉滿林便對美化後的路牌有疑惑,認為是有財團私下更換路牌,企圖限制車輛進入,將公共街道據為私產。但運輸署發言人強調,太古地產獲該署「港島區交通工程部」批准更換三十五個路牌,署方檢查過後,全部符合法定標準。
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Old December 11th, 2005, 01:11 AM   #97
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變身銀座商場 鄰舖租金升兩成
東英重建店戶被迫結業

11/12/2005
太陽報



【專案組記者陳佩雯報道】屹立於尖沙咀四十年的東英大廈將於明年初拆卸重建,變身成銀座式人氣商場,工程尚未展開,區內的商舖業主,便趁大量受影響租戶流出租務市場而大幅加租。東英大廈附近街道地舖加租平均達百分之二十,其中加連威老道、彌敦道、北京道等地舖加租情況最明顯。有在金巴利道經營結婚禮服租售店負責人表示,業主在重建計畫公布後即加租超過百分之三十,同街有不少商戶不堪加租而紛紛結業。

美聯物業九龍區舖位部助理營業董事呂炳坤表示,受東英大廈重建計畫影響,坐落於該大廈一至三樓的百多個商場商戶,需要全數遷出,搬往區內地舖繼續經營,加上受區內凱悅酒店重建影響的百多個零售商戶,尖沙咀區的商舖租售市場需求大量增加,地舖業主遂趁機加租。

呂炳坤透露,由今年中至上月的舖租加幅平均達百分之二十,其中位於漢口道、北京道、加連威老道及彌敦道等「一線街」的地舖加租情況最為明顯。

地舖依然搶手
以位於彌敦道一百三十二號至一百三十四號的一個相連地舖為例,面積共一千四百多平方呎舖位,租金由原來的十一萬七千元,大幅增加一倍至二十二萬元,又如加連威老道六十三號一個面積七百呎舖位,租金亦由原來的七萬二千元,增加至十一萬元。

業主自六月起雖陸續加租,但區內地舖依然「搶手」。在東英大廈附近、有「婚紗街」之稱的金巴利道,地舖租金自重建計畫公布後即時上調。經營結婚禮服租售店 Own Image的負責人Greenie Chau不諱言,業主在六月時要求加租百分之四十,協商後最終加租逾百分之三十,加幅是她開業六年以來最高的一次,她坦言惟有盡量節儉,又期望營業額回升可以彌補租金開支。

Greenie透露,現時「婚紗街」約有逾三十間婚紗店,其中小部分因不堪大幅加租結業,舖位隨即被具財力的商戶租用。
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Old December 11th, 2005, 10:04 PM   #98
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Push is coming to shove for urban renewal planners

Space, or the lack of it, is prompting pressure groups to try and force government planners into rethinking major urban redevelopment projects.

Andrea Chiu
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, December 12, 2005

Space, or the lack of it, is prompting pressure groups to try and force government planners into rethinking major urban redevelopment projects.

The government, constantly under fire for poor urban planning, is not doing enough to protect valuable public space according to organizations like the Conservancy Association, a group that promotes the conservation of natural and cultural heritage in Hong Kong.

The Housing Authority reported that in 2004, average living space per person in public rental housing was 123.8 square feet. That is less than one sixth the space the average American enjoys, based on US Census Bureau and National Association of Home Builders statistics.

Street-level space for the public diminishes as development increases, said the association's communication officer Martin Wan.

In every project, developers build out to the street and compensate with rooftop gardens, he said, adding that "we don't think you can compensate for the loss of public space because the owner still owns it."

Wan Chai District Council chairwoman Ada Wong said she doesn't think development is having a direct impact on public space, but the authority is not helping it either.

"The Urban Renewal Authority is developing many sites in Wan Chai, but they're not saying `we are developing the space to create a public piazza,"' she said.

The authority argues it has more than compensated with open space for the public in its 24 redevelopment projects.

A spokesman argued that the authority has provided about 38,000 sq ft of open space but acknowledged that while the space is supposed to be accessible to the public, only part of it is to be managed by the government while the rest is be privately owned.

Private owners have the right to restrict access and monitor the spaces with their own security.

"While the URA does its fair share to contribute to the creation of open space within the boundaries of its projects, it must address other equally important demands such as provision of [government/institution/community] facilities, conservation building of historical values and promotion of building rehabilitation," the spokesman said in a written statement.

British designer Thomas Heatherwick, who heads the redesign team for Wan Chai's Southorn Playground, said the issue is not about the quantity of public space but the quality of ways space is used.

"At the moment, [Southorn Playground] is very much dominated by sport. There's such a need in Wan Chai for public space that can just be public without being reserved for a football match or a basketball match," he said.

"The more we spoke to people, the more they told us they want a space for them to take their birds for a walk or they want a place to sit and eat their lunch, more trees, more green."

Polytechnic University associate design professor Michael Siu echoed Heatherwick's stance, saying "we need more space to allow people to think and intersect with other people."

He said that while sports facilities and children's play areas are great for the people who use them, they exclude other people from using the space.

A designer with special interest in public space and public furniture, Siu said kids' play structures, for example, should be designed so as to be more welcoming for the elderly to sit and watch their grandchildren.

Ng Mee-kam, associate professor of urban planning and environmental management at Hong Kong University, said that the effective use of public space benefits the entire city and is an integral part of sustainable development.

"Social aspects in public space, if well designed, can integrate with people's life pattern," she said.

"Land in Hong Kong is so important to so many people and so valued.

"Everyone is very greedy. Everyone wants to build to the last inch but they forget that the public realm and sustainability are very important, especially for the long-term quality of life and even the image of the city."
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Old December 13th, 2005, 11:03 AM   #99
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Yeah!! Land in HK is so important and expensive so use it well!!!.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 02:28 AM   #100
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蘇屋居民促落實重建
12/12/2005

【本報訊】五十多名蘇屋居民昨日到房屋委員會門外示威及高叫「房署報告,一拖再拖!」口號,不滿前房屋署署長梁展文曾承諾本年十月公布蘇屋的勘察結果,但房署現時反口說要改於明年一月始能公布,卻未有交代原因。民協主席馮檢基認為,事件令人擔心蘇屋樓宇結構是否惡化,以致房署才遲遲未能公布有關報告。

要求公布勘察結果
民協昨率領近五十名蘇屋居民到何文田房委會總部請願,要求房署盡早落實重建蘇屋,原區安置居民,並盡快公布屋勘察結果;示威者將請願信交給一名房署職員後和平散去。團體又表示,若房署兩星期內再不交代,將發起其他抗議行動。

蘇屋居民服務中心主席劉惠德稱,蘇屋於一九五九年建成,該綠柳樓地下至十五樓均有逾二百支鐵柱支撐各層天花及地板,走廊亦有一厘米闊裂痕,令人擔心該樓是否已變成危樓,但他引述房署指有關措施只是檢查設施。

於蘇屋居住了四十多年的陳紹強指出,內有三條長斜路,街坊多為長者,對他們造成很多不便,他認為政府應盡快重建該。居住蘇屋十多年的謝先生則表示,其單位天花及牆身均有石屎剝落,晚上地板亦不時滲出鹹水。
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