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Old July 16th, 2011, 04:55 PM   #1221
hkskyline
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Planning changes draw developers' ire
The Standard
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Office rents in Causeway Bay have surged over the past year, while major landlords such as Hysan Development (0014) saw their property values soar.

But last September, the Town Planning Board imposed height restrictions on some redevelopment projects already under way - substantially lowering the gross floor area, and therefore the values of such construction by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Previously, there were no zoning or height limitations for properties in Causeway Bay, allowing owners to fully utilize the land plots to the maximum. Now, under the new proposals, the Town Planning Board wants to cap the height of buildings in the district at 200 meters.

It is also asking developers to keep a certain distance between buildings, in the hopes of improving air flow in the area. A series of rezonings have also been launched, cutting down the developers' flexibility in planning renewal projects.

"The new measures by the Town Planning Board will hurt Hysan Development the most," a property agent said. No doubt about it, since Hysan is Causeway Bay's biggest landlord, with seven of the most valuable assets, including Lee Gardens and Sunning Plaza.

The developer, along with hotel operator Mandarin Oriental - which plans to rebuild the 38-year-old Excelsior Hotel - mounted the strongest opposition against the board's changes.

Both companies are seeking judicial reviews of the board's decisions.

The moves were so controversial that they generated 167 appeals and five amendment requests - the most ever - during a consultation last year.

After Hysan voiced its opposition, especially on the height restrictions, the board held a marathon 15-hour meeting with developers in March. "In the exhausting meeting, Hysan's lawyer suggested rescheduling the meeting, but the Town Planning Board insisted on finishing it within the day," a board official said.

Hysan stressed that it would be severely affected by the changes, with the firm's redevelopment plan for the second phase of Lee Gardens hardest hit, a source from the meeting said. Currently, the standard ceiling heights for offices and retail shops are 4.5 meters and five meters, respectively.

With the building height restricted to 130 meters at Lee Gardens phase two, the plot ratio would drop sharply to 10.9 times from 14.5 times - meaning another 4,200 square feet of retail space will be taken out after relocating the sidewalks and other nonbuilding areas. The bottom line is, the value of the property would likely decline as much as HK$2 billion.

Rather than accommodating the developer, the board asked Hysan to alter its development plan to fulfill the new requirements.

Hysan complained that the board "exceeded its powers" by targeting individual projects, the source said.

However, Hysan did not see all its requests rejected, as the board agreed to raise height restrictions for buildings along Sunning Road to 130 meters from 100m. Therefore, redevelopments of Sunning Court and Sunning Plaza will not be affected.

Meanwhile, Mandarin Oriental also saw its redevelopment plan for the Excelsior Hotel hampered by the new height restrictions. The original plot ratio for the site was up to 15 times, while the hotel used a ratio of only 12.6 when it was built in 1973. Under the board's new proposal, the ratio would be further reduced. In addition, a rebuilt Excelsior would have to be at least 10m away from the neighboring World Trade Centre.

"It makes the redevelopment of the hotel meaningless," a representative of the hotel operator told the board.

Soundwill Holdings (0878), which is actively snapping up old properties in Causeway Bay for redevelopment, is also expected to see their values plunge by hundreds of millions of dollars.

But some developers have dodged the bullets. They include Henderson Land (0012) and Wing Tai Properties (0369), which had their project blueprints in Tai Hang approved before the board's new measures.

The projects at 2-12 Jones Street, and at Warren Street and Jones Street will exceed 140 meters high - making them the last new buildings taller than the 130-meter limit. ITC Properties (0199) was the only developer to change the board's mind. The firm's plans for a hotel on Moreton Terrace is still alive, after the board overturned its decision to rezone the site as residential- only. But the height remains capped at 100m.

In 2008, the board's proposal to set height limits for luxury homes on The Peak drew strong opposition from major developers, including Henderson, Swire Properties and Kerry Properties (0683).
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Old July 17th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #1222
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Housing shortage creates Catch-22
The Standard
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The government plans to increase housing supply, which may be done through the private sector, or by building more public housing.

But no matter which route it chooses, it must first solve one critical problem - find land. And as there are few readily available sites, the government must create them.

To identify potential sites, a high-level government team earlier took a helicopter ride to conduct an aerial survey.

Reclamation has also been proposed, but such plans can't be implemented overnight.

Planning professionals observed that land in the countryside isn't all designated as country parks - large tracts are earmarked for agricultural use.

Releasing such land for construction of residential buildings would go a long way towards solving the land- shortage problem.

But this option has its own problems. First, such sites must fit into overall land-use planning.

Second, since many agricultural plots are in the hands of developers, they must be persuaded to top up the required land premium for conversion to residential use.

If the premium is steep, developers might as well buy land at auctions.

If the premium is low, there will be accusations of collusion between the government and the business sector.

Clearly, converting farmland to residential land is no easy process.

Some experts have suggested a third alternative, which is more straightforward: relaxing the building density of two of the largest empty urban plots - the old Kai Tak airport site in East Kowloon, and the West Kowloon site.

The building density at both sites has been drastically reduced in response to calls from the community.

But lifting the density ceiling will invite criticism that the government is turning a cultural project into a property development.

Such conflicting public sentiment has indeed led to the government being caught in a Catch-22 situation - how can it increase home supply if the public opposes land development?

Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily
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Old July 17th, 2011, 08:23 PM   #1223
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The Central-Wanchai Bypass construction works in front of IFC. Although most of the bypass is in the new reclamation, this section is not, hence belongs to the general construction thread (taken 7/15) :























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Old July 18th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #1224
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Elderly see yellow in hospital row
The Standard
Monday, July 18, 2011

Senior citizens in Kwun Tong are angry over the long wait at United Christian Hospital for consultations and major surgery, and want its expansion plans speeded up.

Chanting slogans, 600 seniors gathered in the nearby Sau Nga Road playground at 11am yesterday.

They then walked up to the barbed wire perimeter fence to tie yellow ribbons and continue their 30-minute protest.

"Patients have to wait for three hours for a three-minute consultation, and then wait for two more hours to get their medicines," said Kwun Tong district councillor Or Chong-sing, adding medical services in the community have increased due to an aging population.

According to the Planning Department, the population of the district is set to be 666,900 by 2019, with one-sixth over 65 years old.

Moreover, besides Kowloon East, the hospital also has to serve those in Tseung Kwan O, as the medical services there cannot meet the demand, Or said.

There are also insufficient operating theaters at United Christian Hospital, he added.

Or cited the case of a 68-year-old man who had a scheduled liver operation on Saturday morning. After he changed his clothes, the doctor told him that a pregnant woman needed to have an emergency operation so his surgery was delayed.

In April, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said the Hospital Authority was currently conducting preliminary planning work for the hospital expansion.
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Old July 19th, 2011, 04:40 AM   #1225
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Greenbelt conversion on cards in drive to boost flats
The Standard
Monday, July 11, 2011

Government departments have been ordered to submit a list of sites with residential development potential to the chief executive's office by September, according to a source.

And the territory's greenbelts may be on that list.

In addition to converting industrial zones to residential areas, greenbelts are an option, a source told The Standard.

"Greenbelts are an alternative for long-term development. They involve even more work for the conversion and construction of traffic and other facilities.

"For example, you can't turn a country park into a residential site overnight. We need to carry out public consultation as well ," the source said.

There are around 9,000 hectares of greenbelt in Hong Kong, while industrial zones cover an area of 300 hectares - with 60 percent of it in the New Territories.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen last Wednesday visited an industrial site in Fo Tan, Sha Tin, which can accommodate 4,200 residential units.

According to a government study, 20,000 units can be built on 30 hectares of identified industrial plots in Tai Kok Tsui, Tsuen Wan, Fo Tan, Yuen Long and Fan Ling.

The source said industrial zones are comparatively easier to convert, as they already have some public facilities constructed nearby.

"We mainly have three considerations: overall arrangement of the area; whether there are still leases; whether the land needs resumption."

In addition, the administration is seeking to increase land supply by looking into land reclamation and rock cavern development.

However, the source noted that, "even if we do find some sites, how to build on them is an issue."

In his policy address last year, Tsang announced the My Home Purchase Plan, also known as the rent-to-own scheme, with the first 5,000 units to be completed by the Housing Society in 2013.

Since the society is also responsible for the Home Ownership Scheme, the source wondered if there will be enough resources to build all the projects. "If the [private] developers are asked to build, some may accuse [the government of] collusion again."

The district council elections set to take place at the end of the year will further complicate matters, the source added.
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Old July 19th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #1226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The Central-Wanchai Bypass construction works in front of IFC. Although most of the bypass is in the new reclamation, this section is not, hence belongs to the general construction thread (taken 7/15) :
The beautiful good looking green grass field is gone~ So sad.
(I guess it doesn't matter, since you could only look at it, not step on it.)

But arguably, this piece of land belongs to Phase I of the Reclamation project, maybe you should stick it in there.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 04:34 PM   #1227
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this is seems have nothing to do with skyscrapercity?
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Old July 20th, 2011, 06:21 PM   #1228
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Island property launches set despite price falls
The Standard
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two developers are pushing ahead with sales launches for new projects on Hong Kong Island in the coming weeks despite prices showing a definite downwards trend in the face of tighter curbs on the market.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) plans to put 79 flats at i.UniQ Grand in Shau Kei Wan up for sale next week.

The units are sized between 420 and 850 square feet, with the market expecting them to fetch from HK$15,000 to HK$16,000 per square foot - 20 percent higher than the 117 flats at its sister project i.UniQ Residence.

"The estimated prices are lower than flats at private estates nearby," said Midland Realty agent Jason Ng.

Flats at neighboring project Grand Promenade in Sai Wan Ho are priced from HK$15,000 to HK$18,000 psf.

Meanwhile, Kerry Properties (0683) plans to launch its SOHO189 project in Queen's Road West in August.

The 149 units include 142 standard flats and seven specialty ones. About 80 percent of these are two or three-room flats, sized between 730 and 1,180 psf. Their average prices of HK$15,000-16,000 psf are higher than comparable flats in the district.

Executive director Chu Ip-pui expects more than half of the buyers to be investors.

"The purchase limits in second and third- tier cities in China will bring more customers to the local property market," said Chu, expecting strong demand.

"Only nine projects offering less than 1,200 units will be launched in the Central and Western District by 2013," he said.

Kerry Properties also plans to launch 126 flats in Happy Valley in the fourth quarter.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 10:11 PM   #1229
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Notice some scaffolding works at City Hall - likely renovations (taken 7/17) :

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Old July 26th, 2011, 06:12 PM   #1230
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URA 'demand-led' scheme set to kick off
The Standard
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Urban Renewal Authority will begin accepting applications from today for "demand-led" redevelopment projects that are larger than 400 square meters.

The project must also have the agreement of not less than 67 percent of homeowners. The demand-led scheme is intended to let owners decide if they want the authority to redevelop their properties.

Authority managing director Quinn Law Yee-kwan announced yesterday that an independent panel will be responsible for the selection process.

The scheme will be monitored by the Independent Commission Against Corruption to increase public confidence, he added.

Law said that since the scheme and facilitation services are new initiatives, an agreement has been signed with the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association to provide an inquiry service for owners who are interested in applying.

Authority executive director of planning and project control Iris Tam Siu-ying said that funds will not be used to help groups that have bought old and rundown buildings for redevelopment.

Ng Yin-kwong, chairman of the Redevelopment Concern Group, fears that some tenants will be forced to move out as the authority will pay more for private ownership rather than tenancies.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 04:51 AM   #1231
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Developers take planners to court
The Standard
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Redevelopment plans in four districts may be held up as the Real Estate Developers Association has applied for a judicial review of the Town Planning Board's decisions on building height restrictions in the areas.

The association, which represents major developers, said the board has unlawfully refused requests to amend zoning plans in Wan Chai, Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and Ngau Tau Kok/Kowloon Bay.

In a writ filed with the High Court, the association slammed the board for being unfair in the planning process, claiming that stakeholders - such as developers, nongovernmental organizations and individual owners - have not been given a fair hearing. Comments and proposals were not fully considered by the TPB.

The board also failed to give a rational explanation for the restrictions imposed on individual buildings, the association said.

The board was said to hold marathon meetings - in which members were constantly leaving and joining the meetings - with developers, which the association described as "unlawful."

The association emphasized that its move is in the interest of the public.

The board has drawn criticism for imposing restrictions on building heights, floor-to-floor heights, setback areas and distances between buildings in many redevelopment projects in districts such as Causeway Bay.

"When the height of the buildings to be redeveloped is limited, their values could slump 20-30 percent," said Raymond Chan Yuk-ming, chairman of planning and development division of Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors. Chan also added that some developers may even defer redevelopment plans due to the restrictions.

The total number of projects affected is unknown.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 09:01 PM   #1232
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Tai Hang project aims big at expats
The Standard
Thursday, July 28, 2011

A soon-to-be-launched residential project in Tai Hang will likely look to price units at double that of neighboring developments.

Wing Tai Properties (0369) plans to introduce all 103 flats at its latest project - on 9, Warren Street, Tai Hang - by September.

The flats will likely have a minimum price tag of HK$10 million, or HK$20,000 per square foot.

That is nearly double the asking price of secondary flats nearby, with those on Tai Hang Road seeking an average of HK$11,996 psf.

The nearby Warrenwoods, a new project from Soundwill Holdings, is asking HK$14,096 psf.

Wing Tai's hefty price tag is likely because it is mainly targeting expat executives.

The 103 flats at "9 Warren St" will include 50 one-bedroom units sized around 520 square feet and 52 two-bedroom flats sized at 830 sq ft, with one special unit of between 1,300 and 1,500 sq ft.

"The project will mainly target expatriates from international corporations," Wing Tai corporate development director Karen Li Kan Fung- ling said.

Pre-sale starts around September, with project completion expected by the second half of 2013.

Li expects luxury property prices to rise by 10 percent and leasing rates by 15 percent over the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, Kerry Properties (0683) plans to generate HK$3 billion from selling all 149 flats at its SOHO189 project on Queen's Road West.

Flat sales are expected to start next month, with show flats to open next week at the earliest.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 09:53 PM   #1233
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Government to sell two sites by public auction
Monday, July 25, 2011
Government Press Release

The Lands Department announced today (July 25) that two residential sites in the 2011-12 Land Sale Programme will be disposed of by public auction.

The two sites, Tseung Kwan O Town Lot No. 113 at Area 66A, Tseung Kwan O, and Lot No. 4309 in Demarcation District No. 124 in Tan Kwai Tsuen, Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long, will be disposed of by public auction, which will be held at Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Wan Chai, on September 6.

Tseung Kwan O Town Lot No. 113 has a site area of about 13,393 square metres and is designated for non-industrial (excluding godown, hotel and petrol filling station) purposes. The minimum gross floor area and the maximum gross floor area are 44,197 square metres and 73,662 square metres respectively. The total number of residential units to be built shall not be less than 960 and shall not exceed 1,010.

Lot No. 4309 in Demarcation District No. 124 has a site area of about 11,192 square metres and is designated for private residential purposes. The minimum gross floor area and the maximum gross floor area are 6,716 square metres and 11,192 square metres respectively. The total number of residential units to be built shall not be less than 170.

The final Conditions of Sale for Tseung Kwan O Town Lot No. 113 and Lot No. 4309 in Demarcation District No. 124 will be available for distribution and uploaded onto the Lands Department's website (www.landsd.gov.hk) by August 12, when the particulars of the land auction will also be gazetted.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 05:19 AM   #1234
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$7.2b twin sale hits forecasts
The Standard
Friday, July 29, 2011


Tung Chung site

Two plots tendered for sale have met market forecasts to fetch a total of HK$7.2 billion.

Analysts had predicted a total price range of HK$6.2 billion to HK$7.7 billion.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) made the winning bid of HK$3.77 billion for a 273,403 square foot residential site in Tung Chung, which translates to at least HK$2,703 per buildable square foot.

"The plot has great development potential, with an ideal location and wide seaview," an SHKP spokesman said.

The size-restricted site is the largest of its kind with a gross floor area of 820,210 sq ft to 1.37 million sq ft.

It will provide at least 2,020 units, of which 1,650 must be sized between 377 and 484 sq ft, while the rest will likely measure 484 to 646 sq ft.

"The bid price is reasonable, with an expected sale price of over HK$5,000 per sq ft," AG Wilkinson & Associates surveyor Ringo Lam Chun-chiu said.

The going price for secondary flats nearby is at least HK$4,600 psf.

The other plot was a 71,042 sq ft commercial site at the junction of Kai Cheung and Wang Kwong roads in Kowloon Bay.

It was sold for HK$3.43 billion, or HK$4,026 per buildable sq ft, to Goldin Financial (0530), the company's first successful bid in a government land sale.

Gfa of the plot is 511,501-852,502 sq ft.

"Future office space there could sell for HK$7,500-8,000 psf, or ask at least HK$25 psf per month for lease," Lam said.

The sites received five tenders each, with both awarded to the highest bidder, the government said.

Meanwhile, Centaline Realty said commercial sector confirmor deals - sale of a property by someone who has not completed full purchase of the same - are on the rise.

The 922 confirmor deals in the commercial sector in the first half exceeded similar deals in the residential market for the first time ever - at about 1.3 times higher.

Centaline Realty said such commercial deals totaled HK$7.15 billion, more than double the residential figures. High stamp duties may have deterred the residential sector.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 05:36 PM   #1235
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I still wonder how these size-restricted units help to relieve the housing demand.
Yes, the cost to purchase one unit may come down to a more affordable 2M+/-.
But if the price tag is still going for 8k to 9k per sq. ft, these units will be like less than 300 SF! So what is the point? Just for the sack of saying "owning a flat," that is not livable?
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Old July 29th, 2011, 05:44 PM   #1236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
I still wonder how these size-restricted units help to relieve the housing demand.
Yes, the cost to purchase one unit may come down to a more affordable 2M+/-.
But if the price tag is still going for 8k to 9k per sq. ft, these units will be like less than 300 SF! So what is the point? Just for the sack of saying "owning a flat," that is not livable?
It's a circular argument. The government wants to sell the land at market price, but inevitably that will push up the cost once the units are complete.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 08:07 AM   #1237
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Multi-pronged approach to combat unauthorised sub-division of flat units
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Government Press Release

In response to the commentaries and media reports today (July 19) on the Administration's enforcement policy regarding sub-division of flat units, a spokesman for the Buildings Department (BD) stressed that the building safety problem arising from unauthorised building works (UBWs), including those associated with sub-divided units, is always a matter of serious concern to the BD. Initiatives are being proactively implemented to combat UBWs.

The Minor Works Control System (MWCS), which was fully implemented on December 31, 2010, has designated an item of works commonly involved in sub-divided units, internal drainage works within building units, as minor works. Such drainage works have to be carried out by suitable prescribed registered contractors. Otherwise, the works would be a contravention of the law.

The spokesman for the BD said, "In order to impose control at source, we proposed to incorporate building works commonly found in sub-divided units into the MWCS, requiring the owners to carry out such works through legal means by engaging registered building professionals and/or registered contractors so as to enhance the safety level and quality of such works. Apart from the addition of floor screeding and erection of partition walls which have been frequently mentioned before, 'formation of openings to a fire escape staircase or its protected lobby' is also one of the items of works proposed to be incorporated into the MWCS. The regulation of such types of building works will help prevent the sub-division works from affecting fire escapes and the building structure. The BD is now consulting the industry on the relevant technical details, and would submit the proposed legislation to the Legislative Council for scrutiny later."

To tackle the problem of unauthorised building works associated with sub-divided units, apart from carrying out investigation in response to reports or complaints on sub-divided units from members of the public and taking suitable enforcement action according to the current enforcement policy, the BD has launched a special operation since April 1, 2011, to inspect suspected sub-divided units and ascertain whether the alteration and addition works involved therein are in compliance with the planning, design and construction requirements under the building regulations concerning fire safety, drainage works and structural safety, in particular the impact on means of escape. The department will take enforcement action against irregularities of building works so identified. In this special operation, the BD will inspect 150 target buildings involving more than 1,300 sub-divided units per year.

Since the launch of the special operation this year up to the end of June, the BD had visited 45 target buildings and successfully entered 86 sub-divided units for inspection. "However, our staff are facing some difficulties in conducting the investigation. Entry of BD staff is often refused by uncooperative owners or occupants, despite the department's effort to deploy significant staffing resources to pay visits to the flats on different dates and during different times of the day," the spokesman of the BD stressed.

The spokesman urged the property owners and occupants to co-operate with the department's staff for the protection of their own interests and public safety. This is to facilitate the early identification of any irregularities as well as to prevent fatalities and financial losses. The spokesman reiterated that if the relevant owners or occupants were still uncooperative after continuous advice, the BD would actively consider the power of breaking into the premises vested in it under the Buildings Ordinance (BO) in order to ensure public safety.

In the inspection of the 86 sub-divided units so far, most of the irregularities in the building works found were related to fire safety. The BD has taken enforcement action in accordance with the prevailing enforcement policy on such UBWs by issuing removal orders under the BO requiring the owners to rectify the irregularities, the spokesman added.

The BD has also launched a series of public education and publicity activities within a short period of time. These activities include (i) the uploading of FAQs related to sub-divided units onto the department's website to enhance awareness among building owners not to carry out unauthorised building works to sub-divide flat units. Potential tenants of sub-divided units are reminded to check the building safety conditions, in particular whether the fire escape routes in the building are adequate and without obstruction, before deciding whether to rent the unit. Other measures are (ii) the display of promotional slogans on bus bodies, (iii) promotional messages on the radio, (iv) newspaper supplements and (v) a promotional pamphlet.

The spokesman reiterated that sub-divided units present multi-faceted issues spanning public and building safety, building management and housing aspects. The BD will continue to regulate building works associated with sub-divided units under the BO from the building safety perspective.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 05:44 PM   #1238
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Offer made to clear the air in court
The Standard
Monday, August 01, 2011

Environmental group Green Sense wants to help the Town Planning Board in a legal fight against private property developers by producing a comprehensive picture of what may happen if height restrictions are lifted in some areas.

Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi- pong yesterday said his group supports board decisions in September and October last year on the likelihood of air pollution worsening if restrictions on buildings to be redeveloped are relaxed.

If there is no height limit on buildings along the coast, he said, developers will throw up massive blocks that will block offshore winds, preventing polluted air from dispersing.

The Real Estate Developers Association has applied for a judicial review of height restrictions in four areas - Wan Chai, Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and Ngau Tau Kok/Kowloon Bay - because, it claimed, people were not given a fair hearing in protracted talks with the board as its members changed constantly, resulting in a lack of consistency.

"I understand that everyone has the right to fight for their own rights," Tam said. "But the arguments of developers do not convince us. They care only about their benefits."

Green Sense's opinion will offer a court a clear and comprehensive picture of the potential impact should restrictions be lifted, Tam said, adding that he is surprised the association claims its move is in the public interest.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 01:25 AM   #1239
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This thread is full of information really some great long discussions are going here
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 10:23 AM   #1240
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More new homes on block as secondary prices ease
The Standard
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Developers are putting more newly built flats on sale as homeowners in the secondary market continue to cut prices.

Chinese Estates (0127) yesterday said it will launch One Wanchai - a residential project in Wan Chai jointly developed with the Urban Renewal Authority - in the second half.

The project comprises 237 flats, ranging from 430 to 1,200 square feet. One Wanchai sits above the shopping mall built at the site of the old Wan Chai market on Queens Road East.

Construction is expected to be completed in early 2013. "We will take residential projects nearby as reference in pricing the flats," said Chinese Estates executive director Lau Ming-wai.

The flats are expected to cost about HK$17,000 to HK$18,000 per square foot. Neighboring flats are currently priced around HK$12,000 psf.

Kerry Properties (0683) said it got up to 1,000 inquiries on Soho 189, a residential project on Queen's Road West.

Kerry hinted the flats will be priced from HK$8 million. Once sold, most of the units are expected to be rented out.

"We are confident the flats can be leased for HK$50 psf per month, which is why we have partnered with Sotheby's to help owners lease out their properties," said executive director Chu Ip-pui.

Soho 189 comprises 149 units, ranging from 730 to 1,180 sq ft. The smallest unit is expected to command a monthly rent of about HK$36,500, giving its owner a 5 percent return.

Separately, Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) said 500 of the 650 flats at Imperial Cullinan have been sold.

It also sold at least 39 of the 79 flats at its i.UniQ Grand project in Shau Kei Wan, with mainlanders buying 20 percent of the units.

Meanwhile, owners in the secondary market continue to cut prices.

One vendor sold a 660-sq-ft flat at Telford Garden in Kowloon Bay for HK$3.18 million, or HK$4,818 psf, about 24.7 percent less than prices of neighboring flats.

Another cut HK$1.22 million before selling a 1,048-sq-ft flat at University Heights in Mid-Levels West for HK$11.78 million, or HK$11,240 psf.
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