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Old September 7th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #1261
hkskyline
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Sites fetch just $3.6b
The Standard
Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Tseung Kwan O plot





A Tseung Kwan O plot fetched a disappointing HK$3.12 billion as the government pocketed a total of barely over HK$3.6 billion from three sites put on the block in the year's fifth auction.

"The figures represent market sentiment," auctioneer Graham Ross said, with the HK$3.603 billion total stayed at the lower end of market expectations.

Sun Hung Kai Properties' (0016) winning bid for the 144,238 square foot Tseung Kwan O Area 66A site did not even reach the lowest forecast of HK$3.2 billion in a tame 17-minute contest.

"We are currently developing two neighboring sites," Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency executive director Victor Lui Ting said.

"With the new site on hand, all three projects can create some synergy."

In February last year, Sun Hung Kai won the neighboring 132,000 sq ft plot at Area 66B for HK$3.37 billion, or HK$4,628 per buildable square foot. It paid about 7 percent less yesterday, at HK$3,934 per buildable square foot.

It also has a joint project in the area with MTR Corp (0066) - The Wings.

"Tseung Kwan O will have a large supply of new flats in the next few years and this may affect property prices," senior CB Richard Ellis surveyor Yu Kam-hung said.

"The development limitations of the 66A site lowered the project's flexibility, keeping bidders conservative," said Centaline Surveyors managing director Victor Lai Kin-fai.

The 66A site has a total gross floor area of 793,898 square feet, where at least 960 flats must be built.

Midland Realty chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai expects the auction result to boost primary market deals in the area.

Owners of secondary flats atop Tiu Keng Leng MTR station are now asking at least HK$6,178 psf.

Unlike Tseung Kwan O, the Yuen Long site saw a heated 47-minute contest, with 162 bids from eight developers.

A Paliburg Holdings (0617) and Regal Hotel International (0078) joint venture finally won the 120,471 sq ft Tan Kwai Tsuen Road site for HK$361 million, or HK$2,997 per buildable sq ft - within market expectations.

Chief operating officer Donald Fan Tung said Paliburg will invest HK$700 million, including the land price, to build at least 170 units at the site.

Last to go under the hammer was a 25,834 sq ft Sai Kung plot at the junction of Pak Shek Wo San Tsuen and Clearway Bay roads.

That fetched HK$121.5 million, or HK$10,036 per buildable sqft - at the mid-range of market forecasts.

The winning bidder - a consortium of International Group, Tai Fu Holdings and one other party that triggered the plot - will build five or six detached houses of 2,100-2,500 sq ft gross floor area.
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Old September 9th, 2011, 12:12 PM   #1262
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Marinella to lead island flats blitz
The Standard
Friday, September 09, 2011

More than 500 new Hong Kong Island flats are set to hit the market this year.

The bulk will come from Marinella - a 411-unit scheme in the upscale Southern District neighborhood of Shum Wan, near the Aberdeen Marina Club.

The project is jointly developed by KWah International (0173), Sino Land (0083) and Nan Fung Development.

The developers said the project has already got presale consent from the government, and flat sales can start at any time.

Units, sized between 745 square foot and 5173 sq ft, will cost at least HK$20 million - or over HK$20,000 per sq ft.

The project offers 12 penthouse duplexes, 11 detached houses, and 80 three to four- bedroom duplexes.

It is expected to be complete by the second half of next year. Also, Swire Properties plans to launch its specialty residential project at 53 Stubbs Road soon.

The developer will lease out most of the units, expected to command record-high rents for luxury accommodation. Designed by Canadian-Jewish architect Frank Gehry, the project has 12 units sized between 6,000 and 6,900 sq ft.

Swire claims to have received quite a few inquiries already.

Another Swire scheme - Argenta on Seymour Road, Mid- Levels - is also expected to come on the market later this year.

Its 30 units - sized between 2,800 and 4,700 sq ft - will likely command a minimum price of HK$30,000 psf.

The project is due to be built by the second quarter of 2013.

Kerry Properties (0683) will also ready for sale 30 out of 126 units at The Altitude in Happy Valley this year. Units there, sized from 1,855 to 4,000 sq ft, will cost at least HK$40 million, or HK$20,000 psf.

The sale of all 126 units would likely generate HK$7 billion.

Another Happy Valley project likely to launch soon is Winfield from Nan Fung, which will only sell 42 out of the 84 flats, and lease out the rest.

The flats are expected to be priced at HK$26,000 psf.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #1263
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Angry kuk members quit land talks
The Standard
Friday, September 09, 2011

Heung Yee Kuk chief Lau Wong-fat said he was disappointed after a meeting with the government on unauthorized structures and other issues ended in a stalemate.

This came as about 20 residents of a Sha Tau Kok village staged a protest outside the Town Planning Board office in North Point against planned development restrictions.

After the closed-door meeting between Development Bureau and kuk representatives yesterday, Lau also said the government still believes there is no difference between village houses under old schedule agricultural lots and other village houses.

He further said if the government wants to list 54 sites into adjacent country parks and impose development bars, it should provide compensation or offer land in exchange.

Some kuk members left the meeting midway to express their anger.

One of them, Leung Fuk-yuen, slammed the lack of plans for villagers affected by the demolition order on additional structures.

"The atmosphere is terrible," Leung said, accusing the government of not being "sincere." But the kuk is still willing to continue talks, he added.

At the North Point protest, Lin Ma Hang village chief Yip Wah-ching said: "The government took our property without permission. The area taken by them includes the three-kilometer Lin Ma Hang stream, which is important for farming."

A 50-year veteran of the village, Ip Chung- fung, said they cannot live without the stream as they depend on it to irrigate their crops.

"The stream is our asset. There is no reason why we would destroy it. We do not need the government's `protection,"' said Ip.

The villagers also demanded compensation and other pieces of land in exchange.

Yip said more than 10,000 people have been affected by the inclusion of the village in conservation and scientific zones.

According to the Planning Department, areas mentioned in its development permission applications last year include about 329 hectares of Lin Ma Hang village.

A department spokeswoman said existing policies do not offer compensation for land marked as conservation area.
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Old September 17th, 2011, 01:59 PM   #1264
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Govt to sell 8 residential sites in Oct-Dec quarter
Updated: 2011-09-17
China Daily Hong Kong Edition

The government will maintain its relatively fast pace of increasing land supply as it plans to sell eight residential sites to provide about 5,000 new flats next quarter, according to Secretary for Development Carrie Lam.

Five residential sites - one in Tseung Kwan O district, one in Tuen Mun district and three on Lantau Island - will be put up for sale in the coming October to December quarter, which are likely to produce a total of 1,770 units, Lam told reporters on Friday.

Three West Rail property development projects are also scheduled to be disposed of by the end of the year, generating a total of 3,326 new units, according to Lam.

The combined supply of 5,000 units in the coming quarter compares with 6,000 units in the July to September quarter and 3,000 units in the April to June quarter.

The goal of boosting land sales and ensure the supply of 20,000 apartments annually in Hong Kong will stay unchanged, Lam said, adding that the pace of land sales this year is in line with the government's target.

However, the government said it will halt land auctions during the next three months. All the land sales will be carried out through tender, which is ideal given the current market sentiment as measured by government surveyors, according to Lam.

Wong Leung-sing, associate director of Centaline Property Agency Limited, believes that the series of lackluster land sales recently is the reason why the government favors the tender process.

The government auctioned land at Tseung Kwan O district for HK$3.12 billion last week, missing even the low-end estimates of HK$3.3 billion in a Bloomberg News survey.

Another land auction and one tender both fell below market estimates in August, after global stock markets were roiled by the US debt downgrade.

"The government is taking a prudent approach," said Wong. "The Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun and the three MTR sites up for sale are all very large ones. If these public auctions fall short of estimates again, it will critically affect market sentiment."

Home transactions in Hong Kong have slowed to only half the average level for the past two years after home prices surpassed the previous high of 1997. A Centaline report released on September 2 showed that only 5,439 private residential transactions were recorded in Hong Kong in August in comparison with an average of some 10,000 home transactions per month during 2010 and 2011.

"In order to stabilize our real estate market and ensure healthy development, continuing to provide adequate land supply is a focus of government policy," Lam said on Friday.

The two residential sites in Tseung Kwan O district and in Tuen Mun district to be sold next quarter will be required to provide a minimum amount of small and medium-sized apartments to meet market demands, according to Lam.

The government will also sell two commercial sites, one in Sha Tin and the other in Hung Hom, during the coming quarter.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 03:02 PM   #1265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Liantang checkpoint between HK, Shenzhen to begin construction in 2013 as planned
23 May 2011
Xinhua News Agency

HONG KONG, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Construction of the Liantang (Heung Yuen Wai) Boundary Control Point project between Hong Kong and Shenzhen was expected to start in 2013 as planned, the Hong Kong government said Monday in a statement.`

The statement came after the sixth meeting of the Hong Kong- Shenzhen Joint Task Force on Boundary District Development in the day, convened by Secretary for Development of the Hong Kong city government Carrie Lam and Shenzhen Vice Mayor Lu Ruifeng.

Both Hong Kong and Shenzhen have launched a design competition for the passenger terminal building in the eastern part of the boundary between the two cities. An exhibition of selected entries will be held in Hong Kong and Shenzhen next month for public feedback. Winning entries will be announced in August.

Both sides have also reached a consensus on the mode of co- operation on the construction work of the bridge and footbridge connecting the checkpoints. Details of the entrustment arrangement and agreement are being worked out.

Meanwhile, both sides are now taking forward preparatory works for the checkpoints' construction, which is scheduled to be put into operation in 2018.
Pretty Interesting post. Could not be written any better. Thanks for sharing!
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Old September 21st, 2011, 03:06 PM   #1266
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That's great, I never thought about how much wine should you buy for a party like that before.
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Old October 11th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #1267
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The Link ready to reopen pet Stanley plaza project
The Standard
Monday, October 03, 2011

Stanley Plaza is set to entertain shoppers with a spread of food and wine - and later this month will also welcome four- legged friends.

The Link REIT (0823), which has dressed up the plaza following a renovation and is set to reopen for business, said it will be the first mall in Hong Kong to allow pets.

George Hongchoy Kwok-lung, chief executive of the real estate investment trust, which manages a portfolio of stores and car parks, said concerts and other programs have been scheduled.

The SPCA will host a 90th anniversary program in a new amphitheater in early December.

There will be another excuse to visit Stanley next month with a chance to enjoy wines and culinary treats.

"The annual food and wine festival, which takes place in the West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade and Lan Kwai Fong, will be available in Stanley too on November 25 and 27," Hongchoy said.

The Link is keen to introduce its revamped wet markets and mobile food stalls to the viewing public through a program on CNN.

Meanwhile, shoppers will be able to pay by Octopus card at Tai Yuen Market in Tai Po from next month.

Electronic payment will be introduced at other wet markets managed by The Link. Octopus users may expect special promotions as well.

Cooking classes will be held to further increase the market's appeal.

Hongchoy said those wanting to join classes may avail themselves of "some discounts."

In July, The Link completed the acquisition of the Nan Fung Plaza for HK$1.17 billion. This is its first purchase of an asset in the private market.

"If we lift our gearing ratio to 30 percent from the current 16.5 percent, then we will have HK$10 billion for further acquisitions. We have been looking for potential projects."

Hongchoy would not comment on possible rent increase for tenants.

On average, rentals have increased 20-30 percent, but he pointed out that most tenants would have recorded annual revenue gains of more than 10 percent.

The Link fell 3.33 percent to HK$24.70 on Friday.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 04:30 AM   #1268
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Tougher line on home sales finds support
The Standard
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors said recommendations to regulate the sale of firsthand residential properties are reasonable and will help to better protect the interests of homebuyers.

Lawrence Poon Wing-cheung, housing policy panel chairman, said the ban on developers citing gross floor area in price lists, sales brochures and promotional materials will prevent confusion among homebuyers.

"The territory does not have a common GFA definition," Poon said.

He added that some developers include clubhouses in the GFA while others have sky gardens. "That may confuse buyers. On the other hand, the salable area of a unit is constant."

Poon said the proposal for developers to disclose transactional information within 24 hours of signing a preliminary sales agreement means homebuyers may quickly get information about the response of the market to properties.

When asked whether the proposed payment of 5 percent of the purchase price is too high, Poon said this will stop homebuyers from arbitrarily canceling transactions.

Concerning the policy address, institute president Wong Bay said he hopes the government will base the allocation of flats under the Home Ownership Scheme on the financial ability of applicants rather than a lucky draw.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 07:06 PM   #1269
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Mong Kok Stadium Renovation

By Car L

2011 May


2011 Oct

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Old October 17th, 2011, 06:09 PM   #1270
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SDEV to attend World Sustainable Building Conference 2011 in Helsinki
Friday, October 14, 2011
Government Press Release

The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, will lead a Hong Kong delegation to attend the World Sustainable Building Conference 2011 to be held in Helsinki, Finland, from October 18 to 21.

The Hong Kong delegation, co-ordinated by the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC), will comprise some 60 professionals and practitioners from government departments, universities, real estate developers and the construction industry.

This conference is held every three years to provide a platform for governments and industry to have in-depth discussions and exchanges on the latest developments in green building technology and sustainable built environments. Mrs Lam also led a delegation to the last conference, which was held in Melbourne, Australia, in September 2008.

Mrs Lam will give a presentation at the conference's Urban Policy Session on Hong Kong's efforts to foster a sustainable built environment and officiate at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong exhibition booth staged by the HKGBC.

While in Helsinki, she will visit the city's admired underground structures, including the underground walkway system in the city centre, an underground wastewater treatment plant and the Rock Church to learn more about the use of underground space.

Mrs Lam will also take the opportunity to visit Sweden and Denmark to learn more about the two countries' urban planning, heritage conservation and green building initiatives, particularly in the eco-cities of Hammarby and Malmo and related waterfront developments.

During her stay in these Scandinavian countries, she will call on the respective Chinese Ambassadors and meet with relevant government officials. She will also brief the Royal Sweden Hong Kong Business Council and the Finland-Hong Kong Trade Association on Hong Kong's latest developments.

The Director of Civil Engineering and Development, Mr Hon Chi-keung, and the Principal Assistant Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Jimmy Chan, will accompany Mrs Lam throughout the visit. Mrs Lam will return to Hong Kong on October 22.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 06:27 PM   #1271
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Desalination plant to boost water supply
The Standard
Thursday, October 13, 2011

A new seawater desalination plant will be built at Tseung Kwan O to meet the ever-increasing water needs of the SAR, Donald Tsang said.

To be built on a 10-hectare site, it will supply 5percent of the territory's water needs when construction is completed within the next decade.

"We are conducting a detailed study and doing field surveys to assess the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of building a medium-sized desalination plant," Tsang said.

A thousand households will take part in surveys of water-use habits, a government source said.

It will take two years for the study and seven years to build the plant.

Meanwhile, the government is negotiating a new agreement with the Guangdong authorities for the supply of Dongjiang water for the next three years, he added.

The source said the cost of importing drinking water from Dongjiang is HK$9 per cubic meter and that of desalination is HK$12. The cost is bound to drop as desalination technology matures.

But Greenpeace said the new plan does not tackle the root cause of the water shortage.

"There is intense demand for water in the Pearl River Delta between industrial users and households in Guangdong and Hong Kong. It is necessary to stabilize the water supply by exploring new avenues," campaign manager Gloria Chang Wan-ki said.

Meanwhile, Tsang is allotting HK$330 million in subsidies for bus and taxi operators to make their vehicles greener.

This includes HK$180 million for franchised bus companies to buy 36 electric vehicles for trial runs, and HK$150 million will be given as a one-off subsidy for owners of LPG taxis and light buses to replace catalytic converters.

The target routes for electric buses will be Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, Nathan Road and Central.

Kowloon Motor Bus spokeswoman Susanne Sin said: "Our first super capacitor bus was tested last June. It was a left-hand drive vehicle from the mainland so new electric buses will be made suitable for Hong Kong drivers."

But To Sum-tong, director of the taxi driver branch of the Motor Transport Workers General Union, said: "When the temperature falls under 12 degrees, these converters in the taxis may not function."
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Old October 25th, 2011, 05:13 PM   #1272
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One Mayfair

By Car L

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Old October 26th, 2011, 07:04 PM   #1273
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LCQ13: Public hospital redevelopment/expansion projects
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Dr Hon Joseph Lee and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (October 26):

Question:

With the ever-increasing demand for medical services by residents in Hong Kong, many public hospitals require expeditious redevelopment or expansion as their space is no longer sufficient to cope with such demand, and their design also fails to meet the operational needs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) which public hospitals will be redeveloped/expanded in the coming five years, the order of priority and the factors to be considered by the authorities in determining such order of priority;

(b) the progress of the redevelopment/expansion projects in (a), as well as a list of the respective dates of application for funding and the expected dates of commencement and completion of the various works projects;

(c) the breakdown of the cost estimates of various redevelopment/expansion projects, the breakdown of the cost estimate for conducting redevelopment/expansion works in each of the public hospital concerned, and the total estimated costs for various works projects;

(d) the anticipated numbers of additional hospital beds and increase in patient attendance after completion of the redevelopment/expansion projects of various public hospitals; and

(e) whether the authorities will increase the manpower of nursing staff and allied health staff accordingly after the various public hospitals have been redeveloped/expanded; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

(a) A number of hospital redevelopment/expansion projects are underway and will be completed in the coming few years. These include the Expansion of Tseung Kwan O Hospital (TKOH), the Redevelopment of Caritas Medical Centre (CMC) Phase 2 and the Redevelopment of Yan Chai Hospital (YCH). In addition, the Administration is also preparing for the Expansion of United Christian Hospital (UCH) and planning for the Reprovisioning of Yaumatei Specialist Clinic (YMTSC) at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

Apart from carrying out redevelopment/expansion projects of existing hospitals, the Administration will also construct new hospitals as necessary to address the demand for healthcare services. Hospital under construction includes the North Lantau Hospital Phase 1, and new hospitals under preparation include the Tin Shui Wai Hospital and the Centre of Excellence in Paediatrics at Kai Tak Development Area. The North Lantau Hospital Phase 1 is scheduled for completion in 2012, and the other two hospitals will be completed in 2016.

In determining the order of priority for the development of new hospitals and the redevelopment/expansion of various hospitals, the Administration will take into account the future population growth and ageing in the region, the demand for healthcare services, the overall provision of healthcare services in the various clusters under the Hospital Authority (HA), as well as the development of public and private healthcare services.

(b) Information of the three ongoing redevelopment/expansion projects is shown in Annex.

In the 2011-12 Policy Address, the Government has announced the preparation for the Expansion of UCH. It is estimated that funding approval will be sought from the Legislative Council (LegCo) in mid-2012 for the preparatory works. Besides, the Administration has also planned for the Reprovisioning of YMTSC at QEH. A "design and build" approach will be adopted for this project, and tendering procedures will commence before seeking funding approval from the LegCo which will be based on the tender price. It is estimated that funding approval will be sought from the LegCo in 2013 with a view to completing the project in 2016.

(c) The cost estimates of the three ongoing redevelopment/expansion projects are as follows:

Project Title Estimated Expenditure($M)
Expansion of TKOH 1,944.9
Redevelopment of CMC Phase 2 1,719.6
Redevelopment of YCH 590.5

According to the preliminary estimate, the entire project of the Expansion of UCH will cost over $7 billion, and the Reprovisioning of YMTSC at QEH will cost about $1.4 billion.

(d) Upon completion of the Expansion of TKOH, an additional 178 in-patient beds and 22 consultation rooms in the specialist out-patient (SOP) department will be provided. If the manpower of healthcare professionals permits, it is expected that the annual capacity of SOP attendances will increase up to about 80,000.

Besides, upon completion of the Redevelopment of CMC Phase 2, an additional 53 in-patient beds, 32 day beds and 20 Geriatric Day Hospital places will be provided. The redeveloped CMC will be able to handle a maximum of about 600,000 out-patient attendances annually. In other words, the annual out-patient attendances will increase by about 270,000.

Although no additional beds will be provided upon completion of the Redevelopment of YCH, with an increase in the number of consultation rooms from 36 to 54, the capacity of the general out-patient clinic and specialist out-patient clinic will be increased and the service capacity will be enhanced by up to 50%.

Preparation for the Expansion of UCH and the Reprovisioning of YMTSC at QEH is still underway. We will make a more detailed estimate on the numbers of additional beds and attendances to be provided after completion of these redevelopment/expansion projects when we are about to seek funding approval.

(e) To cope with the service demand, HA will deploy and gradually increase manpower having regard to the service needs, development of technology, completion of new hospitals, expansion and redevelopment of the existing hospitals, staff turnover, as well as the overall provision of healthcare services in the various clusters etc. Meanwhile, the number of staff that would be recruited is also affected by the manpower mobility among HA, private hospitals, social welfare and rehabilitation sectors. HA will conduct an annual review on the requirement for additional manpower. For example, recruitment of about 1,700 nurses and 590 allied health staff is planned for 2011-12.

Annex : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20111...0403_85817.pdf
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Old October 26th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #1274
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Tide may turn as developer offers new flats
The Standard
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More flats are expected to be put up for sale in the primary market after secondary market transactions rebounded over the weekend.

Yesterday, Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) put on sale the first batch of 50 flats at The Wings, its latest residential project atop the Tseung Kwan O MTR station. The flats - sized between 1,244 and 2,560 square feet - are priced at an average of HK$12,698 per square foot.

The Wings - jointly developed by SHKP and MTR Corp (0066) - consists of six towers with a total 1,028 units, sized from 665 to 2,560 sq ft. Construction of the project is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Sales will start as early as Thursday.

SHKP also confirmed it raised US$500 million (HK$3.9 billion) for general working capital from selling bonds that carry a five- year maturity and a coupon of 3.5 percent.

"It is nothing out of the ordinary," said Paul Louie, property research analyst at Nomura. "The debt issue is needed to refinance some loans. Sun Hung Kai does that from time to time anyway," he said.

Meanwhile, activity in the secondary market in Tseung Kwan O is mixed.

While home sales continue to be lackluster, business in the rental market has picked up this year.

Michael Siu, a Midland Realty agent at Tseung Kwan O, said homeowners are optimistic about the future of their district. They are only willing to slash 1-2 percent off their asking prices now versus 3-5 percent in September. But many potential buyers, on the other hand, are eyeing the primary market.

"Even potential buyers, with a budget of under HK$4 million and looking for secondary flats, now prefer to wait and see whether the new projects will have an impact on flats on secondary market," Siu said.

He expects transactions to fall by 30 percent in the secondary market in Tseung Kwan O as more new flats come on stream.

Other developers have also been putting new flats on the market. Sino Land (0083) will start selling the first 58 flats at One Mayfair in Kowloon Tong as early as tomorrow.

The luxury project - expected to be completed by August - has six buildings with a total of 120 flats. Units are sized between 1,352 and 3,100 sq ft.

Wing Tai Properties (0369) will have its show flats at The Warren in Tai Hang ready this week. The 103 flats of the project are likely to be priced from HK$18,000 psf.
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Old October 28th, 2011, 05:01 AM   #1275
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LCQ14: Expand land resources
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 26):

Question:

In recent years, as the land available for housing development in urban areas has decreased gradually, quite a number of members of the public have requested the Government to consider reducing the coverage of country parks by developing some of the land in the country parks which is of relatively low ecological value at present into residential sites, so as to increase housing supply. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective sizes and locations of areas within existing country parks which are regarded by the authorities as having conservation and ecological value, as well as those without obvious conservation and ecological values (list in table form); and

(b) whether the authorities have considered reducing the coverage of country parks to develop more residential sites; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that, and whether the authorities will consider reducing the coverage to release more land, so as to increase the supply of residential sites; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

Country parks are designated under the Country Parks Ordinance, which falls within the policy portfolio of the Environment Bureau. Based on information provided by that Bureau, my reply to the two parts of the question is as follows:

(a) In considering the suitability of a site for country park designation, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) bases its assessment on three main intrinsic criteria, namely, conservation value, landscape and aesthetic value, and recreation potential of the site. If the site is considered suitable, AFCD will initiate the procedures under the Country Parks Ordinance, including public consultation, and deposit the map designating the country park in the Land Registry upon endorsement. As the authority adopts an approach in administering the areas designated as country parks which is different from the information sought under part (a) of the question, the Environment Bureau is unable to provide the requested list.

(b) At present, there are 24 country parks and 22 special areas in Hong Kong, covering about 44 000 hectares of land. They are protected by the Country Parks Ordinance for conservation and recreational purposes. These areas also provide important habitats for over 98% of the flora and fauna of Hong Kong.

Our country parks are natural heritage that the public treasures and attaches great importance. They play an indispensable and vital role in our nature conservation work by facilitating our efforts in managing and sustaining the natural resources that are of prime importance in maintaining biodiversity in the territory, so that these resources can be enjoyed by the present and future generations of the community. We have no plans in hand to reduce the coverage of the country parks and release the land for residential development.

However, as pledged by the Chief Executive in the 2011-12 Policy Address, we will be innovative in expanding our land resources that can be used for housing development. Apart from planning new towns and new development areas, we have identified the following measures:

(i) Release about 60 hectares of industrial land for non-industrial uses, half of which will be made available for housing;

(ii) Explore the option of reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour;

(iii) Actively explore the use of rock caverns to reprovision existing public facilities and release such sites for housing and other uses;

(iv) Look into the use of green belt areas in the New Territories that are devegetated, deserted or formed, thus no longer performing their original functions, and convert them into housing sites;

(v) Examine "Government, Institution or Community" sites to avoid the under-utilisation of sites long reserved but without specific development plans; and study ways to reduce the restrictions posed by government utilities to the development of adjacent areas; and

(vi) Explore the possibility of converting into housing land some 150 hectares of agricultural land in North District and Yuen Long currently used mainly for industrial purposes or temporary storage, or which is deserted.
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Old October 29th, 2011, 07:23 AM   #1276
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Grave on sale site may spur ownership concerns
The Standard
Friday, October 28, 2011

A grave found on a South Bay Road residential plot may weigh heavily on the minds of developers making their bids, which close today, a real estate analyst said.

The 14,403-square-foot site, offering a gross floor area of 12,187 sq ft, is expected to fetch between HK$450 million and HK$638 million, or HK$35,000 to HK$49,000 per buildable sq ft.

Authorities have said the grave was inspected in 2004 and there were no human remains.

"Buyer sentiment may be affected, as ownership of the grave could give rise to disputes," said Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat. "The government will not deal with disputes after the site is sold. But the site has a nice view of Repulse Bay. So it should attract a lot of developers."

Charles Chan Chiu-kwok, managing director of Savills Valuation Services (Greater China), lowered his estimate on the site by 12.5 percent, to HK$350 million from HK$400 million. He foresees one to three detached houses being built and sold at an average of HK$50,000 psf.

Also today, tenders close for a 86,000-sq-ft business site in Sha Tin.

The site at the junction of On Yiu Street and On Kwan Street at Shek Mun in Sha Tin provides a GFA of 430,000 sq ft. It is expected to fetch between HK$830 million and HK$950 million.
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Old November 1st, 2011, 06:08 PM   #1277
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Capital needed to buy cheap land
The Standard
Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said revenues from land sales this year have already topped HK$70 billion.

At this rate, full-year government income from this source could reach a new high as more sites are expected to be offered before the 2011-12 fiscal year is over.

Developers interested in acquiring land, meanwhile, must ensure they have the "ammunition" to do so.

To this end, New World Development recently announced a massive rights issue plan, which was widely discussed in the market and drew some flak.

Coming at a time when the company is not heavily in debt and its share price is low, the interest of small shareholders may be compromised, some big investment firms said.

To ease market concerns, New World executive director Adrian Cheng Chi-kong - part of the company's new generation of management - met with representatives of the securities sector to provide more background.

The exercise, targeting to raise HK$11.3 billion, reflected two salient facts about the current state of the market.

First, as banks are tightening credit, borrowing is hard, even for large firms.

Second, as land prices fall in a quiet market, developers may replenish their inventory at a lower cost - an opportunity that will be lost when prices start climbing again.

Sources in the development sector noted that New World will be capital rich next year when many of its projects now under construction are completed and marketed.

But if the developer puts off land acquisition until after its projects are sold, it will fall into a gap, missing the chance to participate in bidding for sites put up for sale in the remainder of the year.

In reality, such opportunities are only for those who are cash ready - like Sun Hung Kai Properties - the envy of many when it bagged the Nam Cheong MTR station project at a favorable price earlier.

The bottom line is that with restrictive money supply, fewer companies are finding themselves capable of taking part in bidding for land.

But that also mean those with fiscal prowess stand to take advantage of the fleeting window to buy cheap sites - the reason New World's majority shareholders are raising capital through the rights issue.

But whether small shareholders have the financial means to take up the offer is, well, a different matter.

Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:25 AM   #1278
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LCQ7: Underground water main burst incidents
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Pan Pey-chyou and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):

Question:

In recent years, a number of underground water main burst incidents occurred in Hong Kong, which not only caused inconvenience to members of the public, but also wasted valuable water resources. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the details of the underground water mains replacement works which are currently in progress or have been planned to commence in the next three years in various districts on Hong Kong Island, broken down by District Council district; and the expected completion dates of the works currently in progress;

(b) of the respective numbers and exact locations of the underground water main burst incidents which occurred in various districts on Hong Kong Island in the past three years, broken down by District Council district; and

(c) in the past three years, of the average time required to handle water main bursts between receipt of reports of such incidents by the authorities and completion of the repair works and resumption of normal water supply, and among such incidents which occurred on Hong Kong Island, of the longest and shortest handling time?

Reply:

President,

The water distribution network of Hong Kong has gradually developed in accordance with the growing water demand. It is a massive and complex system, measuring 7,800 kilometres (km) in total length. With the ageing of the network, bursts and leaks are inevitable. We fully understand that suspension of water supplies would cause inconvenience to the public. To tackle the problem, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) is taking a multi-pronged approach, including proactive burst prevention by leakage detection, replacement or rehabilitation of aged water mains under the Water Mains Replacement and Rehabilitation Programme, and pressure management. With these measures in place, the number of water main burst incidents dropped from a peak of 2,500 in 2000-01 to 609 in 2010-11. In the first six months of 2011-12, the number dropped further to 212.

My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(a) The Replacement and Rehabilitation Programme for Hong Kong Island is implemented in four stages. Each stage involves replacement and rehabilitation (R & R) works at different locations. While works for Stage 1 and 2 have been substantially completed, we are pushing ahead with works for Stage 3 and 4. The total value of the five works contracts for Stage 3 amounts to $1.6 billion, two of which involve the replacement and rehabilitation of 71km of water mains in the Central and Western District. The remaining three contracts, one each for the Eastern District, Southern District and Wan Chai, involve replacement and rehabilitation of water mains measuring 52km, 39km and 51km respectively. All the works have commenced since 2009 and are expected to complete by the end of 2013. As for Stage 4, the works for the first two contracts with a total value of $1.1 billion commenced in the middle of this year. The work sites are scattered in four District Council (DC) areas on Hong Kong Island. These two contracts involve replacement and rehabilitation of 156km of water mains and are expected to complete by the end of 2015.

Details of the R & R works to be carried out in the coming three years in each District on Hong Kong Island are set out in Table 1.

We have been monitoring the progress of these works closely throughout the construction stage to ensure that they could be completed as soon as possible. We have also liaised regularly with departments and utilities companies concerned to overcome various constraints such as traffic, environmental constraints and densely packed underground utility services, so as to minimise the inconvenience caused by the works to the public.

(b) The number of underground water main burst incidents in each District on Hong Kong Island over the past three years are shown in Table 2.

(c) In the past three years, the average time required to handle fresh and salt water main burst incidents on Hong Kong Island (between receipt of reports of such incidents by the WSD and resumption of normal water supply) was about 8 hours and 12 hours respectively. The shortest and longest time for handling fresh water main burst incidents were about 2 hours and 46 hours respectively, whereas those involving salt water main burst incidents were about 3 hours and 76 hours respectively. Those incidents that required longer handling time were isolated cases mainly caused by the presence of densely packed underground utility services hindering the carrying out of repairing works; confined working time in non-peak hours; the need to remove the concrete surround that encased the burst water mains; the longer time required for setting of the concrete blocks for stabilising the new water mains before resumption of water supply.

After isolation of the burst fresh water mains, the WSD will maintain uninterrupted water supply for the affected areas by arranging alternative supply from other water supply zones as far as possible. If alternative supply from other supply zones is not viable, the WSD will provide temporary emergency fresh water supply to the affected consumers by provision of standpipes or deployment of water wagons and water tanks.

Tables : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20111...0227_86040.pdf
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 05:55 PM   #1279
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Villagers slammed for greed
The Standard
Thursday, November 03, 2011

Indigenous villagers were yesterday accused by Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor of making excessive demands to build village houses, saying this could only harm urban development.

But the Heung Yee Kuk hit back, saying Lam is not sincere in solving the government's long-standing dispute with the Kuk, and a rural committee chairman said villagers are easing demand for housing by renting to non-villagers.

"The thing that worries me is that the demand for village houses cannot be quantified, there seems to be no limit," Lam said.

"The Heung Yee Kuk keeps asking for more and this is placing an additional burden on Hong Kong's land supply."

Lam said only 24 percent of Hong Kong land is developed, with most of the rest being country parks - something many countries envy.

On the problem of illicit structures, Lam said the government will soon issue detailed guidelines to villagers to explain which structures may be kept and which must go.

She said small-scale canopies that are newly built or now under construction may be kept. Balconies that are walled on all sides may be kept for now but villagers must register these. Any village house that is four-stories or taller will have extra floors demolished.

Shap Pat Heung Rural Committee chairman Leung Fuk-yuen said Lam was exaggerating about unlimited demand. "The fact is that indigenous villagers now have fewer children. They do not want too many babies because it costs a lot to raise them."

Leung said indigenous villagers are actually helping to ease the housing demand in the city by renting houses to non-villagers.

He also slammed the government for giving them a hard time over their applications.

"It now takes around five to six years. In some cases it takes up to 10 years," he said, adding many villagers had died before their applications were granted.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:57 PM   #1280
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Marinella
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