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Old January 28th, 2013, 02:16 PM   #1561
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紅隧變殘隧安全成疑
2013年01月28日(一)


Synopsis : After some 40 years. the Cross Harbour Tunnel is showing signs of aging. Reporters have found structural problems in the city's 2nd busiest tunnel, such as water seepage along the ceiling panels and even a missing 40cmx30cm chunk of concrete, which has exposed rusted structural components underneath.

The tunnel is used by some 110,000 vehicles, significantly more than the 78,000 it was designed to handle. Engine exhaust, warm air release, and vibrations from vehicular use add to the structure's wear and tear.

The government notes they have identified soem seepage areas and are scheduling maintenance, and reiterates high moisture levels are normal for a tunnel that runs under the harbour.












【專案組報道】紅隧變殘隧!早前日本隧道塌天花事件,引起大眾關注隧道安全。本報記者發現,每日車流量達十二萬架次、逾四十年歷史的紅磡海底隧道管道,出現多處疑似滲水痕迹,天花及牆身亦有石屎剝落,露出生銹鋼筋。有熟悉隧道學者直指頻繁車流、廢氣及空氣潮濕均會縮短隧道壽命,一旦發現海底隧道滲水及石屎剝落,應立即修補,否則小滲水隨時變成大災難,塌天花危機更是一觸即發。

「日日都行紅隧,有日見到個天花露出生銹鋼筋,真係好得人驚。」每天穿梭沙田與中環上下班的周先生對紅隧的安全感到憂慮。事實上,本港多條隧道已踏入「中年」,其中以紅隧最為殘舊。

繼獅子山隧道後,紅隧為全港第二高齡隧道,雖於二○○八年,時任運輸及房屋局局長鄭汝樺曾表示紅隧結構狀況良好,應可繼續使用超過七十年。但記者日前巡查,卻發現管道內天花板多處剝落,香港往九龍方向的管道已有三處明顯剝落,面積約四十乘五十厘米大,其中一處更露出生銹鋼筋;九龍往香港方向的天花板,亦有一幅面積約四十乘三十厘米的剝落,兩條管道內多處牆壁有疑似滲水痕迹。

「小滲水不管變大滲水」

為了解紅隧的滲水情況,記者日前聯同香港驗樓及結構診斷有限公司技術顧問賴達明,利用高清紅外線掃描儀檢測隧道管壁,在儀器測量下,發現管道內多處天花板銜接位均呈現藍色標示,代表可能有滲水情況,其中一處疑似滲漏的裂縫更長達一米。賴指隧道滲水未必能從常規肉眼檢測察覺,檢查人員宜定期以儀器詳細檢測。

「小滲水不管,很容易變成大滲水!」理大土木及結構工程學系教授殷建華看過紅隧內石屎剝落及高清紅外線掃描儀的照片,他直指,由於海底水壓大、水源多,海水可從裂縫滲入。他續指若紅隧出現滲水,應立即找出原因及即時修補。

超流量廢氣加速老化

殷建華認為日行十二萬架次的紅隧屬超標,汽車廢氣及行車時產生的高溫均會腐蝕管道內的建築材料,尤其使用含硫量高作燃料的汽車,所排出的廢氣更會加速隧道老化,加上行車時產生的震動亦會損耗材料的壽命。殷補充,地震及火警等因素亦不能忽視,一旦隧道發生火災,便會破壞管道內混凝土甚至鋼筋,影響結構安全。

此外,香港營造師學會會長鍾冠文亦指出,紅隧部分牆身發霉變黑,顯示管內空氣潮濕,令石屎容易老化,而石屎鋼筋屬結構建築,如保養不善,有機會影響隧道整體結構。
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Old January 29th, 2013, 06:31 PM   #1562
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High Place Rendering



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Old January 30th, 2013, 03:38 AM   #1563
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Old January 30th, 2013, 06:15 PM   #1564
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Move jails to make way for housing, architects say
Institutes back government's vision but say it's a mistake to get rid of community spaces - and suggest four facilities be vacated instead
Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 12:00am
SCMP

Architects have proposed moving two jails, the police training school and a barracks and using the land to build flats instead of rezoning community sites, as the government has suggested.

Their idea is part of a rare joint statement issued by six professional institutes yesterday, commenting on the chief executive's maiden policy address.

The institutes, covering architects, planners, engineers and surveyors, said they supported Leung Chun-ying's land and housing visions but warned that delivering on those ideas would require extra efforts by government departments.

The architects suggested that the Wong Chuk Hang police training school, Kowloon East Barracks in Kowloon Tong and the Pik Uk and Stanley prisons should be moved further out so as to vacate more sites for flats. They did not say where the facilities should be moved to.

"We float this proposal because we want the government to think twice about substituting GIC [government, institution or community] sites with flats," Institute of Urban Design vice-president Vincent Ng Wing-shun said. "We are very concerned about that."

GIC sites are land used for community and educational purposes, including open space.

The jails at Pik Uk and Stanley cover four hectares and 35 hectares, respectively - the latter comparable to the size of the West Kowloon arts hub site - while the police school and the barracks take up 18 and 10 hectares. Ng said it was illogical to raise the population in some districts by increasing the number of flats while taking away their community facilities and open space.

"The number of these facilities should be in proportion to the population," he said.

Many of the GIC sites offered people living in densely populated areas a place to go, a ventilation expert said earlier.

Institute of Architects spokesman Dominic Lam Kwong-ki said the jails and training school were originally in suburbs that had become part of the urban area. "The government should better utilise sites closer to urban areas instead of picking GIC sites in a piecemeal approach," he said.

The Correctional Services Department said it always reviewed and explored possible and practical redevelopment projects and improvement works. The police had not responded last night.

Engineers, surveyors and landscape architects all said they expected a shortage of labour and professionals in their fields in the face of the government's pressing land and housing programmes.

But Lam said a lack of co-ordination among government departments and the prolonged approval process involving at least five departments would be stumbling blocks. The institutes urged the government to streamline the process with a one-stop approval system.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 05:09 AM   #1565
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Little confidence over CY housing promise
The Standard
Thursday, January 31, 2013

Half the population believe new housing promised in the policy address will not be enough to meet demand, whether at the grassroots level or higher.
That is according to a survey by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which also found nearly 40 percent are not confident that the government will be able to implement the housing policy set out by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in his maiden policy address on January 16.

The promised supply of 15,000 public housing flats each year until 2017 will not close the housing gap, half the 780 respondents said, while only 15 percent believed it would.

Just one in five was confident that the policy on public housing could be implemented.

Half of those polled also said that the promised addition of 1,000 Home Ownership Scheme flats each year until 2017 and 5,000 flats from 2018 to 2020 will fall short of demand.

On public housing, only one in five believed the government will be able to reach the HOS goals stated in the address. Moreover, half of those surveyed also doubted whether housing problems can indeed be solved by giving over industrial and community areas as well as green zones for residential use in the short term.

Nearly 40 percent were not confident that developing new towns and reclamation outside Victoria Harbour would serve long-term housing needs.

Victor Zheng Wan-tai, associate director of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at Chinese University, said housing and land supply policies are complicated as they involve the interests of different parties.

"The results [of the survey] show that residents still have little confidence although the chief executive has made efforts toward solving housing problems in his address," Zheng said.

"It shows the chief executive lacks public support and that residents are aware that housing problems are too complicated to be easily solved."

Housing problems have been a difficult issue that will not be solved within a short period of time, Zheng added.

He said the government has failed to win public confidence in housing policies it has generally been highly focused on.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 05:33 PM   #1566
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Wheelock right on target after cornering plot
The Standard
Thursday, January 31, 2013



Wheelock (0020) outbid eight rivals to clinch a residential site in Tuen Mun for HK$1.39 billion - a price near the upper end of market estimates.

Earlier expectations had put the price of the 289,918-square-foot plot in So Kwun Wat between HK$1.1 billion to HK$1.5 billion.

With a gross floor area of 376,891 sq ft, Tuen Mun Town Lot No427 in Area 56 fetched HK$3,683 per buildable square foot.

Kerry Properties (0683) bought a nearby plot in February last year for HK$2,915 per buildable sq ft.

The purchase comes just more than a month since Wheelock, chaired by Peter Woo Kwong-ching, bought a 171,890 sq ft residential plot at Area 68A in Tseung Kwan O for HK$1.97 billion.

That leaves Stewart Leung Chi-kin, vice chairman of Wheelock, saying he is confident the group's annual target of snapping up a million square feet of gross floor area will be achieved.

About 460 to 480 units have to be built on the Tuen Mun plot, for which Wheelock outbid big rivals Cheung Kong Holdings (0001), Sino Land (0083), New World Development (0017) and K Wah International Holdings (0173).

It plans to invest HK$3.5 billion to develop the site into town houses and luxury apartments, meaning a cost of HK$9,300 per buildable sq ft.

But Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat, who expected the plot to go for about HK$1.5 billion, said Wheelock could turn a profit by pricing units from HK$7,000 to HK$8,000 per buildable sq ft.

He also said the price was unlikely to have any impact on the home market in Tuen Mun as it was within forecasts.

Units at Avignon, a 459-apartment project in So Kwun Wat that has been developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), have been sold from HK$7,885 to HK$9,495 per buildable sq ft in the past three months.

Alvin Lam Tsz-pun, a director at Midland Surveyors, sees solid potential for the development of sites in So Kwun Wat.

Major infrastructure - including the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor and Harrow International School - are located in the area, Lam noted.

Elsewhere, Kowloon Development (0034) has put prices on 20 apartments at its 104-flat Upper West project in Tai Kok Tsui.

About 10 four-bedroom flats are priced at an average HK$19,282 per salable sq ft, which is 7-10 percent higher than on secondary homes in the district.

Another 10 three-bedroom flats are priced at an average HK$18,798 per salable sq ft.

And SHKP priced 50 units at the second phase of The Wings in Tseung Kwan O at an average of HK$12,418 per salable sq ft.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 04:37 PM   #1567
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ESF backs down on school site
The Standard
Friday, February 01, 2013

The English Schools Foundation will no longer pursue a Quarry Bay site for a relocated Island School.

The ESF board of governors made the decision on Tuesday.

Residents have opposed relocation to the Mount Parker site.

The board will now ask the Education Bureau and Legislative Council for support in searching for an alternative.

The Quarry Bay site is listed as one of "government, organization or community usage."

The ESF was looking at it as a possible location for the 43-year-old Island School, which is in urgent need of redevelopment.

The ESF said an investigation into possible sites has been going on since September 2011.

Last year, those living near the Quarry Bay site started a group on Facebook complaining of insufficient consultation. They feared noise pollution and damage to the environment.

According to the group, residents collected 23,000 signatures against the construction and staged a "one-people-one- letter" campaign to the Town Planning Board in the middle of last month, demanding a change of land usage designation to greenbelt.

On January 21, a meeting was held between the ESF and Island School representatives with lawmakers, district councillors and residents.

"Many residents were sympathetic to the need for Island School to be rebuilt and to the importance of making more English-medium school places available in Hong Kong," a statement from the ESF said.

"However, they had great concerns about the likely increase in traffic in the local area, about noise and the impact on the environment," it said, adding that the board understood the residents' concerns and their interest in preserving the green environment in Quarry Bay.

Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai, who assisted in arranging the meeting, said he appreciates the ESF decision, adding that it heard the voices of residents and took responsible action.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 07:14 PM   #1568
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Easyknit plans hotel
The Standard
Friday, February 01, 2013


Source : http://www.oneday.hk

Easyknit International (1218) plans to spend about HK$100 million converting its commercial property, Easy Tower in Cheung Sha Wan, into a hotel.

"The hotel [will be] located near the MTR station, and there are trading companies in the area, which will attract Individual Visit Scheme visitors and commercial users," Easyknit executive director Candy Koon Ho-yan said yesterday. The company will continue to look for suitable locations to build boutique hotels in the urban areas.

Also, its luxury home project on 313 Prince Edward Road West is under construction and will be put on the market in the third quarter, with price tags on average exceeding HK$20,000 per square foot .

Another 63-apartment project, Victory 1 at Ho Man Tin, has only seven flats left unsold. Another luxury project is planned in Kowloon Tong.

Koon expects the property market to develop steadily this year.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 07:31 PM   #1569
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Pediatrics center gets go-ahead at Kai Tak
The Standard
Thursday, January 17, 2013

A pediatrics center in the Kai Tak development area will go up for tender soon as the first project under a scheme aimed to develop centers of medical excellence.

And the government will seek HK$3.9 billion funding approval to build a 300-bed hospital in the so- called "City of Tears" in the depressed Tin Shui Wai district.

In an address skewed toward developing the mammoth Hospital Authority, which receives a hefty HK$40.4 billion a year from the government, CY Leung said a steering committee will be set up to conduct a comprehensive review of the authority to enhance its cost- effectiveness and quality of services.

If necessary, a government source said, the administration will "expedite the development" of the hospital site in the Kai Tak area, depending on whether it could be supported by its future population.

About 150 beds will be added in Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun and Pok Oi hospitals.

The Wong Chuk Hang Hospital will be redeveloped to support convalescence needs for infirm elderly, while 130 convalescent beds will be added in four hospitals.

"Wong Chuk Hang has been running a daytime elderly medical clinic for a long time, and the government plans to expand it for chronically ill elderly who persistently rely on medical support," a source said.

In addition, the city's largest psychiatric hospital, Kwai Chung Hospital, will be redeveloped "to render more targeted care and support to mental patients."

A design project will be put out for tender in the first quarter of this year.

The authority's drug formulary will add three new drugs. Patients could receive cancer drugs for just HK$10 per item.

Medical-sector lawmaker Leung Ka-lau criticized the government for not having solutions to long waiting times.

"If a blueprint for the next five years could not be set, I worry these problems would last for a decade and disrupt people's lives," he said.

Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk said the policy address has responded to many of its demands and the needs of society.

Meanwhile, Leung reiterated non-local mothers without Hong Kong husbands cannot deliver babies in public and private hospitals. The issue of mainland mothers will be dealt with by legal means. A proposed health protection scheme will be put for public consultation this year.
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Old February 5th, 2013, 11:30 AM   #1570
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Property market in 'dangerous situation', warns Lam Woon-kwong
Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 12:00am
South China Morning Post

A "knee-jerk" approach to building more housing and creating a land reserve may permanently damage the efforts of town planners, Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong cautions.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Lam also warned that speculative buying had put the property market in a "very dangerous" situation, and the government must watch for the downside while trying to alleviate the land shortage.

In his policy address last month, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government would rezone 36 government, institution and community sites to relieve the acute demand for housing.

Without referring specifically to Leung's speech, Lam cautioned that "some knee-jerk reactions could in due course do permanent damage".

He cited Tseung Kwan O as an example, noting that the town was originally planned to have a pleasant living environment.

Instead, the plot ratio was raised under former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa's policy of building 85,000 flats a year. Tseung Kwan O developed into a forest of high-rises that block the sunlight and darken the streets.

"I am old enough to say, we have made a lot of mistakes in our town planning and housing construction; most were because of knee-jerk reactions," Lam said.

He stressed the necessity of the government creating a land bank, or land reserve. It was "lamentable" that the biggest land bank was not owned by the government, but was in the hands of property tycoons, he said.

"Building up a land reserve is not done by finding a piece of land in Causeway Bay and inserting a toothpick-like building on it," Lam said. He was referring to recent proposals to build new public housing developments so small that they would hold only a few hundred flats.

Instead, the government must take the long view, reclaim land outside Victoria Harbour and develop new towns, Lam said.

He said he broke into "a cold sweat" recently when he saw a report on global property statistics ranking Hong Kong at the top, with its 90 per cent surge in prices over the past five years.

Singapore, which came second, saw only a 24 per cent surge.

"Buyers have to think about this - what is so special in Hong Kong that could support this unreasonable surge?

"I believe it is speculation," Lam said. "When property prices increase even for small homes and peripheral areas in the New Territories, almost always in the previous decades this has signalled the end of the cycle."

While the final stage of the cycle could last for a long time, he said, the risks were obvious because interest rates could go up in the coming years.

"When [the administration] implements policies to make up for a shortage, you have to watch for the downside," Lam said.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 07:43 PM   #1571
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image hosted on flickr

Lomo Belari 6x6 Rollei 100 Hong Kong by icy5816, on Flickr
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Old February 8th, 2013, 04:06 AM   #1572
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10-year wait on harbourside homes to end
Project to build 5,200 small to medium-sized flats on old docks in East Kowloon bay goes before planning board after decade of revisions
Friday, 08 February, 2013, 12:00am
South China Morning Post Excerpt

**********************

The board today will also look at the MTR Corporation's project atop the future railway station at Wong Chuk Hang, which aims to construct 4,700 flats by 2024.

The project has received a total of 328 comments from residents and green groups, with 311 objecting on the grounds of traffic congestion, insufficient provision of public open space and excessive building bulk.

The Planning Department, again, shows no objection.

Meanwhile, the Housing Authority's subsidised housing committee yesterday decided to modify the mechanism for deciding who qualifies for its rental homes. The new system will help low-earners who suddenly found themselves ineligible following the minimum wage law.

The authority also confirmed that a largely vacant public rental housing block in Tai O will be converted to homes for sale. The block was originally planned for conversion into a youth hostel as part of a project to revitalise the old fishing village in Lantau.

Separately, former lawmaker Lee Wing-tat of the Democratic Party yesterday announced the formation of a think tank comprising a group of professionals who would monitor government land and housing policies.

The Land Watch has already proposed a basket of measures to prevent developers holding back flats from the market, including a rule requiring developers to disclose construction progress and sales data of their new flats.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 05:57 PM   #1573
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One West Kowloon
Bottom centre construction under scaffolding (2 towers visible with cranes on top), to the left of a cluster of white towers :



Source : http://www.jeffreypoonphotography.com
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Old February 16th, 2013, 09:32 AM   #1574
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Interest still strong in Yuen Long units
The Standard
Friday, February 15, 2013


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Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) has managed to sell about 100 units at Residence 88 in Yuen Long in the past two days.

The developer offloaded nearly 20 units yesterday after 78 flats were snapped up on Wednesday - the first day of sales.

Residence 88, which consists of 352 units, is the first project to be launched in the Year of the Snake.

Many of the units sold are among the 276 two- to-three-bedroom flats that were priced last weekend between HK$4.81 million and HK$10.95 million or an average of HK$10,550 per sellable square foot.

Average prices of these 375-934 sq ft units are slightly higher than the HK$9,476 per sellable sq ft of the 100 units released at The Reach - a nearby development owned by Henderson Land (0012).

Two special units were priced on Wednesday. The 930-sq-ft unit costs HK$16 million or HK$17,204 per sellable square foot. If sold, it would set a record for Yuen Long. Another 1,248 sq ft flat is set at HK$26 million or HK$16,425 psf.

Agents said the two special units, one with a swimming pool and another with a rooftop, have already been reserved. Around 10 units were sold at The Reach yesterday. So far, 1,130 units, or 44 percent of the total, have gone since October 26.

Meanwhile, Sino Land (0083) will also launch The Avery in Kowloon City next week. The secondary market also saw high prices.

A 674 sq ft unit at Manhattan Hill in Lai Chi Kok was sold for HK$10.18 million.

Separately, transactions of retail shops rose nearly a fifth to HK$9.36 billion last month.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 11:12 AM   #1575
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CY 'pushing reclamation against public will', says WWF
Chief executive backed method on day report revealed it to be least popular with voters
Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 12:00am
South China Morning Post

The government has been accused of trying to ram through land reclamation by burying a consultation which revealed serious public concern about this method of boosting land supply.

On January 16, the Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, pledged in his policy address to press ahead with reclamation outside the Victoria Harbour.

On the same day, the findings of a consultation, which revealed public distaste for land reclamation, were quietly released on a government website.

Samantha Lee Mei-wah, of WWF Hong Kong, claimed the timing of the publication of the consultation's findings showed a disregard for public opinion.

Lee said: "The chief executive should have known the findings as he delivered his policy address. But the government is ramming through reclamation no matter what the public's views are.

"We need a thorough public debate about these findings before we sit down to talk about whether we need to reclaim, how much is needed and where."

The report, posted on the Civil Engineering and Development Department website, found redeveloping older urban sites to be the most popular of six options for boosting land supply, with an 83 per cent approval rating and less than 5 per cent opposition.

Pollsters found reclamation to be the most unpopular option, with just 33 per cent of respondents in a telephone survey supporting the method, against 46 per cent who were opposed.

Another survey, also conducted as part of the same consultation in March last year, found 48 per cent support for land reclamation and 38 per cent opposition, making it the second least popular option behind land resumption in that poll.

Other options included the use of former quarry sites or rock caverns, land rezoning and land resumption.

Lee noted that the report failed to draw any overall conclusions, perhaps to avoid bringing attention to land reclamation's poor showing in the polls.

Lee added that the engagement exercise was also supposed to help formulate criteria in selecting reclamation sites. But she could not find any concrete ideas on the issue in the report.

"[It] gives only vague and ambiguous principles the public can hardly understand," she said.

Lee also questioned whether an engagement exercise planned for the second stage, which proposed specific sites, should go ahead given the public feeling.

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said the government would consult the public next month on five shortlisted reclamation sites.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 04:24 AM   #1576
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First failure for MTR as Tin Wing tender falls flat
The Standard
Thursday, February 21, 2013





A large site close to the Light Rail's Tin Wing Stop has failed to net any tenders, with even the two biggest local developers finding the likely price tag of close to HK$3.5 billion too steep.

This comes despite the fact that local developers are keen to replenish their land banks this year.

Development Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the failure of the tender for the 196,231-square-foot plot will impact the government's target of supplying 20,000 private homes this financial year.

The failed tender, a first for site owners MTR Corp (0066), saw secondary homeowners in Tin Shui Wai immediately lower their asking prices.

A 498 sq ft flat at Central Park Towers is now seeking HK$3.3 million, down from HK$3.5 million.

MTR admitted that even though representatives of Cheung Kong Holdings (0001) and Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) came to its offices today, neither firm submitted a tender.

SHKP said in the afternoon it had submitted an application but a spokeswoman later clarified that the developer only handed in "a letter of opinion about the site."

With a maximum gross floor area of 979,982 sq ft, the plot carries a land premium of HK$2.68 billion or HK$2,735 per buildable sq ft.

A source at a large developer said the conditions imposed on the site by MTR would pose difficulties for builders, while the general belief is that the high price tag made the plot unattractive.

Extra costs such as leveling the plot would have pushed total land cost to HK$3.43 billion, or HK$3,500 per square foot, according to surveyor Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho at Cushman & Wakefield.

Any developer will also have to share the revenue from flat sales with MTR, and Cheung said units will have to be priced at a minimum of HK$7,000 per sq ft just to break even.

Developers may find this an unreasonable ask as secondary homes in the area now cost HK$5,000 psf at most, he added. Average selling prices at the benchmark Kingswood Villas stand at HK$4,443 psf.

Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tsz-pun also said the failure of the Tin Shui Wai plot to secure a bid does not reflect the general market condition as the site was too costly. A spokesman for MTR said the group has yet to decide on a tender relaunch.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 04:02 AM   #1577
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China builders are homing in
The Standard
Friday, February 22, 2013

Mainland people and capital are flowing to Hong Kong, so are its property developers - including China Vanke, the country's biggest.

The company is converting its Shenzhen- listed B shares into Hong Kong-listed H shares and has acquired listed local developer Winsor Properties Holdings, which has since been renamed Vanke Properties (Overseas).

China Vanke has quickly paired up with New World Development to win a tender for the development of West Rail's Tsuen Wan West Station for HK$3.4 billion late last month.

When the company that fronted the bidding was set up last November, China Vanke's top management had already indicated its intention to go beyond the mainland.

The company is also reported to have sought advice from Sun Hung Kai Properties on property management and clubhouse operations.

China Vanke's move will also allow it to leverage on Hong Kong's financial market to raise capital.

Another big mainland player, China Overseas Land and Investment, has been actively bidding for land in Hong Kong, acquiring five plots for a total of HK$3.4 billion in the past couple of years. It is therefore logical that China Vanke, as the market leader by revenue, also expands outside of the mainland for its long-term development.

To developers, the Hong Kong market is more attractive as it is less regulated compared with the mainland, where there are higher policy risks.

In addition, coming to Hong Kong would help raise the company's profile and open a window for i
t to seek international funding.

More abundant capital supply would, in turn, lower operational risks. With China Vanke taking the lead, we can expect other mainland developers to follow suit.

Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily
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Old February 24th, 2013, 04:48 AM   #1578
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Old February 24th, 2013, 12:16 PM   #1579
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Ma Wan - Park Island Phase 6
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Noah's Ark (Park Island) - New Territories - Hong Kong - IMG_7878 by PM Cheung, on Flickr
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Old February 25th, 2013, 07:40 AM   #1580
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Hong Kong to get mega court to pack in the masses
New facility in Sham Shui Po will be double the normal size to cater for the most high-profile cases, but its location is criticised as inconvenient
Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
South China Morning Post Excerpt

Hong Kong is to get a mega court with space for 100 members of the public and dozens of litigants and lawyers, to be used for high-profile cases that are subject to intense media attention.

It will be inside the HK$2.7 billion West Kowloon Law Courts Building, which is under construction at the junction of Tung Chau Street and Tonkin Street West in Sham Shui Po. The site faces the Vegetable Marketing Organisation packaging centre.

But Law Society vice-president Stephen Hung Wan-shun said he worried that the building would become a white elephant if higher court judges were unwilling to travel from the prime court sites of Central and Admiralty to Sham Shui Po to hear cases which could take weeks to finish.

The construction floor area of the West Kowloon development is about 60,000 square metres.

It will have 32 courts - including a magistrates' court, small claims tribunal, coroner's court, obscene articles tribunal and other facilities.

They will be located on the middle to upper floors of the development's two towers, according to the Architectural Services Department.

Construction began in April last year and it is due to be completed by the end of 2015. Piling work is now under way, the department said.

Hung said that the Law Society was told by the government that the mega court would be used for any cases at any court level that were expected to attract dozens of journalists or more, and that would require teams of lawyers in attendance.

It is expected to be at least double the size of a standard court.

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