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Old March 23rd, 2013, 07:46 PM   #1601
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Park Ivy
25 Floors
8 Ivy Street





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Old March 24th, 2013, 07:20 PM   #1602
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Fierce bidding set for luxury site
The Standard
Friday, March 22, 2013

One residential site and another plot allocated for building a hotel, on which the deadline for tender bids expires today, may generate up to HK$4.33 billion.

The 86,973-square-foot residential site at Kau To Shan, Sha Tin, is expected to cost between HK$1.11 billion and HK$1.44 billion. This translates into HK$8,508-HK$11,038 per buildable square foot for a plot that yields a maximum gross floor area of 130,460 sq ft.

Alvin Lam Tsz-pun, director at Midland Surveyors, said even small to mid- sized developers will be interested in bidding for the plot on which luxury flats can be built. He expects up to 10 developers to submit tenders.

Tang Shouchun, executive director at mainland-based Yuexiu Property (0123), said the firm plans to submit a tender on its own for the residential plot.

The firm now has two projects in the SAR - one along Prince Edward Road and another in Yau Tong.

Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat said a consortium consisting of Wing Tai Properties (0369) and Manhattan Properties - which own two neighboring plots - will submit an aggressive bid.

As for the 57,792 sq ft plot designated for hotel development, it is in North Point. The plot is expected to cost between HK$1.86 billion and HK$2.89 billion.

With a maximum GFA of 387,504 sq ft, the plot will fetch between HK$4,800 and HK$7,458 per buildable sq ft.

Separately, Centaline Property Agency said it is opening new branches in Tseung Kwan O where new projects will be launched. It is also boosting the number of agents in Tin Shui Wai, where home prices are relatively cheaper than other districts.

This is in contrast with rival Midland Realty, which warned on Wednesday that it may lay off staff under current lackluster home market conditions.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 10:10 AM   #1603
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New leak plays havoc with traffic at Kai Tak Tunnel
The Standard
Monday, April 08, 2013



For the second time in two days, the Drainage Services Department was forced to close the Kai Tak Tunnel yesterday when water started leaking.

All lanes were closed at 8:36am but two were reopened half an hour later.

The tunnel was back in full operations by last night.

The department said it is still investigating the source of the leak, but suspects drains at the junction of Kowloon City Road and Mo Cheong Street, which were recently repaired.

During the amber rainstorm warning signal on Friday, water leaked into the tunnel, forcing the closure of all lanes for almost 50 minutes.

Some cars stalled in the tunnel, with a few drivers reportedly seeing "waterfalls."

Kai Tak Tunnel, formerly known as the airport tunnel, connects the Kowloon Bay and To Kwa Wan areas by passing beneath the site of the former airport at Kai Tak.

Completed in 1982, it was then called the Kowloon Bay tunnel and was the first toll-free tunnel in Hong Kong.

A department spokesman said a report was received on April 5 and a preliminary investigation suggested that a stormwater drain, with a diameter of just over a meter, at Mok Cheong Street, which crossed the top of the tunnel, had leaked.

It asked a contractor to repair the leakage, and work is expected to be completed by Wednesday.

Ray Su Kai-leung, associate professor of structural engineering at the University of Hong Kong, said leakages in a tunnel are a big problem.

"It can be a threat to the tunnel's structural integrity if lots of soil is washed away," Su said.

However, there is no evidence yet to suggest this has happened.

"It may be a leaky water pipe. There may also be risks that cars and people could be trapped inside the tunnel," he said.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 10:59 AM   #1604
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Estimates vary for 'poor' Tseung Kwan O land plot
The Standard
Friday, April 05, 2013

Due to poor location, a Tseung Kwan O site is not expected to fetch a high price similar to that of neighboring plots.

The tender on the site - known as Area 65C1 near Bauhinia Garden - closes today, with market estimates putting the price between HK$1.81 billion and HK$2.8 billion.

Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tsz-pun said the lot is not ideal for private housing, and expects it to fetch HK$2.28 billion or HK$4,003 per buildable square foot.

"Public housing is situated behind and subsidized housing will be built in front of it - on the 65C2 site," Lam explained. Also, the site has very little seaview.

But Vincent Cheung Kiu-cho, national director of Greater China at Cushman & Wakefield, estimates the cost at HK$5,000 per buildable sq ft, or HK$2.8 billion.

It is one of the sites where the plot ratio was raised by the Town Planning Board at the start of the year to a gross floor area of 569,459 sq ft. It carries a stipulation requiring the developer to build at least 655 private units. Up to 86 percent of the site should be allocated for residential development.

Eight residential sites in the southern part of Tseung Kwan O have been sold through tender in the past three years, ranging from HK$3,810 to HK$4,929 per buildable sq ft.

Meanwhile, tender for a 34,154 sq ft residential site at Fu Tei in Tuen Mun will close today.

The Area 52 plot, located along Fu Shing Street, is designated for low-rise development with a GFA of 13,666 sq ft.
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Old April 9th, 2013, 09:56 AM   #1605
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Healthy victory
The Standard
Thursday, March 14, 2013



A HK$1.7 billion bid involving the University of Hong Kong's medical school has won the site near Aberdeen to build a 500-bed private hospital.

The university clinched the deal in a joint venture with local property developer New World Services Holdings and Singapore-based health-care operator Parkway Pantai.

But the government withdrew another site designated for a hospital, in Tai Po, after the only tender failed to meet requirements.

NWS Holdings has a 40 percent stake in the winning consortium and Parkway Pantai 60 percent.

The university's Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine will be a clinical partner, overseeing governance, professional standards and appointment of doctors, nurses and health-care staff of the hospital.

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man, who announced the winning bid yesterday, said GHK Hospital Ltd offered a bidding price of HK$1.688 billion for the Aberdeen site. Two other bidders lost out.

The Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital in Wong Chuk Hang will have capital investment of HK$5 billion.

It will open in 2017 and its beds will be increased steadily to 500. It will give priority to Hong Kong residents, with at least 70 percent of the beds reserved for locals.

At least 51 percent of inpatient bed days taken up in a year will be used for local residents at packaged charges through standard beds.

Comprehensive charging information for its services will be available to the public.

The dean of the medical faculty, professor Lee Sum-ping, said the hospital is expected to be an affiliated teaching hospital of the university in addition to Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam.

Parkway Pantai's group chief executive and managing director, Tan See Leng said: "With over 30 years of experience in managing world-class hospitals, together with HKU's established reputation for medical excellence and NWS Holdings' local expertise in both construction and facilities management, we are confident that the hospital will provide the best health-care services for the residents of Hong Kong."

NWS Holdings, through its subsidiary, has designed and built hospitals, including Tseung Kwan O Hospital.

"We are pleased to be involved in the health-care industry, which aligns with our long-term strategy of strengthening our service portfolio in Hong Kong," said NWS executive director Patrick Lam Wai-hon.

Ko said the government will decide on the future of the Tai Po lot and two other sites set aside for private hospitals in Tseung Kwan O and on Lantau.

"We will respond to the bidding experience this time to review the current situation of the Hong Kong hospital market, and the whole situation of medical services in Hong Kong, before we make a decision," Ko said.

Tim Pang Hung-cheong, community organizer of the Society for Community Organization, said he was not surprised that bidding for the Tai Po land failed, adding the government should maintain the service quality of the private sector.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 05:54 PM   #1606
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Two new plots underline resolve to boost supply
The Standard
Friday, April 12, 2013


68B1

Two more residential plots in Tseung Kwan O and Tuen Mun open for tender next month, pointing to the government's determination to boost land supply.

The 283,115 square foot seaview plot at Area 68B1 in Tseung Kwan O is expected to bring in between HK$3.53 billion and HK$3.78 billion.

With a gross floor area of 821,035 sq ft, the site is estimated to cost HK$4,300-HK$4,600 per buildable square foot. At least 840 flats have to be built on it.

And the 37,211 sq ft site at So Kwun Wat in Tuen Mun is tipped to fetch between HK$1.45 billion and HK$1.94 billion, with projects restricted to six stories.

Tenders for both plots start on May 10 and close on June 21.

This comes after Wheelock (0020) won site 65C1 in Tseung Kwan O for HK$2.45 billion, or HK$4,301 per buildable sq ft, and a plot allocated for low-rise developments in Fu Tei, Tuen Mun, fetched HK$53.2 million from Smart Touch Investments.

The Rating and Valuation Department, meanwhile, forecasts that a total of 13,550 private flats will be built this year - 33 percent more than in 2012 - with the number hitting 15,820 units next year.

About 83 percent of completions will come from the New Territories this year, but the proportion will fall to 56 percent in 2014, department data shows.

Last year, a total of 10,150 private flats were built, up 7 percent from 2011.

Meanwhile, Hang Seng Bank (0011) has joined Bank of China Hong Kong (2388) to offer fixed-rate mortgage plans.

Hang Seng will offer an annual rate of between 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent for the first four years, and prime rate minus 2.6 percent from then on.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 05:56 AM   #1607
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Wheels turn on $300m NT cycle tracks
The Standard
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cycling enthusiasts should be able to ride from Tuen Mun to Sheung Shui within three years.

The 30-kilometer link is part of a HK$300 million plan by the Development Bureau to build a cycle path across the northern New Territories.

The plan involves the construction of a 1km cycle track along the Kam Tin River and a 1.5km path by the Sheung Yue and Shek Sheung rivers.

It also includes improvement work to about 4.5km of cycle track in Tuen Mun, Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long.

Furthermore, three entry or exit hubs and five rest stations will be built.

Construction is expected to commence in September and end in 2016.

Martin Turner, the chairman of Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, welcomes the news as he believes the project will mean an easier, comfortable and safer experience for riders.

The government should see cycling as more than a recreational pursuit, Turner said.

It is the main mode of transport for many in society.

Separately, the government has identified a strip of land in Yuen Long that is about five times the size of West Kowloon and is suitable for housing development.

The bureau has begun a two-month public consultation on land for housing in Yuen Long South.

The area covers around 200 hectares, of which 85percent is privately owned, and could accommodate 2,400 residents. It is located to the south of Yuen Long New Town and bounded by Yuen Long Highway, Kung Um Road and Tai Lam Country Park.

According to a bureau spokesman, the land does not include areas set aside for indigenous inhabitants of the New Territories or for Tai Lam Country Park.

The government expects to face great requisition difficulties during its talks with private owners.

Large-scale land resumption will not be used to recover the land for housing, the spokesman added.

A 30-month study stretching into 2015 will be performed to map out the plan for the target area.

The spokesman refused to estimate the future population for the area, saying there will be a preliminary proposal during stage two of the study.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 07:02 AM   #1608
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Call for Yuen Long site interest
The Standard
Thursday, April 18, 2013





Developers have been invited to submit interest from today for a residential plot valued at more than HK$1 billion near the Long Ping South MTR West Rail station.

The 90,396-square-foot site in Yuen Long is expected to fetch between HK$1.45 billion and HK$1.63 billion. Submissions are due next Thursday.

With a maximum gross floor area of 451,980 sq ft, the site is estimated to be worth HK$3,200-HK$3,600 per buildable square foot.

The forecasts are similar to the land prices of two plots sold earlier in Long Ping North. The 106,564 sq ft site atop the station was sold to the consortium of K Wah International (0173) and Sino Land (0083) for HK$3,260 per buildable sq ft. Another nearby site was acquired by Cheung Kong Holdings (0001) for HK$3,629 per sq ft.

A total of 720 flats can be built at the Long Ping South development, and the size of 59 percent of the units cannot exceed 538 sq ft.

Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam Tsz-pun said the project is attractive to developers as there is a huge demand for small and medium-sized units in the district. He expected the plot to fetch around HK$3,300 per square foot. The whole project is scheduled to be complete by 2019.

In the primary property market, meanwhile, developers continued to slash prices before the implementation of the regulations on new flat sales from April 29.

Cheung Kong cut prices of its last 14 flats at One West Kowloon in Cheung Sha Wan by offering a rebate of HK$500,000 on top of the 11 percent discount given last month.

About six units were sold yesterday. They included a 962 sq ft flat offloaded for HK$12.51 million, originally priced HK$13.92 million in December.
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Old April 24th, 2013, 05:30 AM   #1609
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Lawmakers slam plan to house Yau Ma Tei homeless with rubbish
Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 4:38am

image hosted on flickr

Fruit Market Yau Ma Tei Hong Kong 2012-02-02 油麻地果欄 by richardwonghk6, on Flickr

Officials seeking to redevelop the Yau Ma Tei Theatre came under fire yesterday for proposing to keep a rubbish collection point next to a street sleepers' shelter when the two are moved.

Both facilities share a building next to the theatre on Shanghai Street and current plans are to move them together to a new site in 2016.

But lawmakers, describing the plan as inhumane and unacceptable, voted down a request from the Home Affairs Bureau to pass the plan to the Legislative Council's works and finance subcommittees for discussion.

Undersecretary for Home Affairs Florence Hui Hiu-fai, said it was a "historical coincidence" that the shelter and the rubbish point were put together.

Questioned by education constituency lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, Hui acknowledged the difficulty in finding an alternate site for the street sleepers.

She also said removing the two facilities would help "create a better cultural ambience" for the theatre - a remark that brought on swift criticism.

"I can't see how a refuse collection point created ambience for the street sleepers," Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said.

Hui said the new rubbish site would have better air-purifying equipment.

But super seat lawmaker Chan Yuen-han, of the Federation of Trade Unions, said it was still "a very wrong decision".

"However beautiful a refuse point might be, it's still a refuse point," she said.

Tang Moon-yiu of the Street Sleepers' Shelter Society, which operates the 70-bed shelter, said the new site, while not the best, was "acceptable in principle".

"After all, ours is an unwelcome facility," he told the South China Morning Post.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 05:26 PM   #1610
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Henderson's Lee to revise $1m flat plan
The Standard
Thursday, April 25, 2013

Henderson Land (0012) chairman Lee Shau-kee's plan to donate some of his vast New Territories land holdings for the building of affordable homes is being revised, according to East Week magazine, a sister publication of The Standard.

Under the initial proposal, the government was to have built small homes priced around HK$1 million on farmland donated by Lee, with the price tag derived from the estimated construction cost.

Now it is being said that the pricing mechanism of the units would be similar to those sold under the Home Ownership Scheme, which is to offer buyers a discount to the market price.

Prices under this scheme are probably higher than HK$1 million. The cheapest flat in Tin Chung Court in Tin Shui Wai, which was part of a short piling scandal, is now selling for HK$1.28 million.

Lee had said the affordable homes would be sold to young people as local flat prices are too high for them to afford.

The government believes Lee's original idea is not feasible as it goes against the current policy on subsidized housing, East Week reported.

Lee told the weekly that the government had reservations about his original plan as it could be unfair to the grass roots. Therefore, both parties are now exploring other possibilities.

Up to 10,000 homes could be built on the seven land parcels Lee had originally proposed to give to the government.

But Lee conceded that some of the sites face several planning issues such as a lack of transport links and geographical constraints.

Under the new proposal, Lee said he may first give away one or two small sites that could accommodate up to 1,000 homes.

"Some of them [currently] lack power and water supply connections, so we'll try with one or two sites," he said.

He added: "It will take at least one more month to finalize the details."
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Old April 30th, 2013, 09:42 AM   #1611
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Errant builders will not face instant sales bar
The Standard
Tuesday, April 30, 2013



Sales of new units would not be suspended immediately even if projects are found to violate the related ordinance.

The Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance, which came into effect yesterday, does not require developers to halt sales in case of violation of its requirements.

That is according to the newly set up Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority, which said the rules aim to enhance transparency as developers can now only advertise sellable area for flats, instead of gross floor area as well.

Authority director Eugene Fung Kin-yip said: "It is not a penalty under the ordinance ... to impose stoppage of sale for non- compliance."

The 32-member body will refer a case to the Department of Justice for action if its own probe reveals likely breaches.

However, "serious" breaches will be disclosed for the sake of "consumer protection," Fung said.

He said fresh documents submitted by Hong Kong Ferry (0050) and Swire Properties (1972) are so far more or less in line with the rules.

Hong Kong Ferry handed in new sales brochures, price lists and promotional materials for Green Code, in Fan Ling, while Swire Properties' papers were for Dunbar Place, Ho Man Tin.

Both were asked last week to amend their new sales brochures, including revising flat dimensions in the floor plan.

But authority representatives sent to check Green Code show flats yesterday said there is room for improvement.

There was a slight difference between dimensions in the show flat and those described in the sales brochure due to the application of paint, the authority said, adding this should be explained to buyers via notices in the show flat. Sales at the 728-unit project were launched early last month.

Also, property agents suspect that undercover Estate Agents Authority representatives visited the Dunbar Place sales office at Cityplaza in Tai Koo, after some were asked how many new flats had been reserved. Pre-sale reservation of flats is not allowed under the new law.

A spokeswoman declined to comment, but told The Standard that the watchdog will always use the most effective way to run checks.

The 53-unit Dunbar Place starts sales at 11am today on a first-come, first-served basis. Thirty flats priced at an average of HK$20,869 per sellable square foot will be available.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:25 PM   #1612
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PLA headquarters is under wraps :

Source : http://pic.feeyo.com/posts/584/5843843.html

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Old May 6th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #1613
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Does anyone know what is going up near the Sun Yat Sen museum on Caine Road, just W of the Midlevels escalators? It looks like a huge project, but I wasn't able to find any info online...

I will post some pics later, when I get the dust out of my camera.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 07:20 AM   #1614
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MTRC seeks extra in Yuen Long
The Standard
Tuesday, May 07, 2013



MTR Corp (0066) is asking for an extra HK$193 million in addition to the bidding price for the right to build flats atop the West Rail Long Ping South station in Yuen Long.

The railway operator yesterday invited tenders for the site, the first to be sold since the sale of another MTR plot, at Tin Wing Light Rail station, fell through in February.

The 90,396-square-foot site in Yuen Long is expected to fetch between HK$1.45 billion and HK$1.63 billion.

With gross floor area of 451,980 sq ft, the site is estimated to be worth HK$3,200-3,600 per sq ft. Three-fifths of the 720 units, or 432 flats, to be built on the site cannot exceed 538 sq ft.

The forecasts are similar to the land prices of two plots sold earlier in Long Ping North. MTRC received an overwhelming 20 expressions of interest for the Long Ping South site.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) deputy managing director Victor Lui Ting said the firm is keen to develop the site alone. K Wah and Lai Sun Development (0488) said they are interested.

Meanwhile, Henderson Land (0012) yesterday applied for compulsory auction for the titles of two old buildings at 1-3 Yuet Yuen Street, North Point, for redevelopment.

The developer now holds 87.5 percent of the titles. The two buildings are expected to cost HK$48.18 million. A third building is still being acquired.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 07:28 PM   #1615
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Ecologists voice fears over planned housing in Tai Po
Green groups say Henderson's plan to rezone Tai Po area and use dump site for homes could harm wildlife and lead to loss of arable land
Monday, 13 May, 2013
South China Morning Post

A major property developer is planning to turn Tai Po farmland, including a notorious dumping spot for construction waste, into a housing estate and calling it an ecological enhancement area.

The plan to build 267 three-storey houses met with opposition from green groups that said about five hectares of the site in She Shan Village in Lam Tsuen was buried under waste. They feared approval of the plan would encourage a "destroy first and build later" approach.

They were also concerned the development was too close to ecologically sensitive areas, including a fung shui wood and the home of a rare dragonfly, and that it would destroy arable areas.

The developer, Henderson Land, said it had no connection with the dumping. It added that it would be removing a third of the dumped material later this year to meet slope maintenance requirements. It also stressed it would strike a balance between ecology and housing, with up to 35 per cent of the site devoted to conservation.

A spokeswoman said the company would be consulting the public about the proposal, which it began working on in 2010. "But our plan is still at a conceptual stage," she added.

Henderson is the main landlord of the 19-hectare site. The previous owner bought the land from relatives of New Territories strongman Lau Wong-fat for HK$90 million in 2005. Wheelock Properties owns part of the site.

The developer has asked the Town Planning Board to rezone the site from agricultural use.

The ecological enhancement area covers seven hectares and includes a woodland corridor, a butterfly garden, organic farms and a dragonfly pond. There will also be a visitor centre providing guided tours. The scheduled completion date is 2019.

A land-use loophole saw part of the site used as a dumping ground back in 2004. "The development will indirectly encourage the malpractice of destroying first and building later," said Peter Li Siu-man, senior campaign manager of Conservancy Association.

Li said the proposed rezoning also meant some precious farmland would be gone forever.

Captain Wong Lun-cheong, Henderson's ecologist, said about four hectares of active farmland would be lost.

He also said the surrounding area was already densely developed with village houses, and a study had indicated the area was of low ecological value.
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Old May 15th, 2013, 09:18 AM   #1616
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Giants take new swing at eyesore boatyard
The Standard
Wednesday, May 15, 2013



An industrial boatyard in Ap Lei Chau, located next to a luxury residential project, may be converted into a mixed-development facility that features a yacht center.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), Kerry Properties (0683), and Paliburg (0617), which developed Larvotto, facing the Aberdeen Harbour, have applied to the Town Planning Board to transform the 256,775-square-foot government site.

It is located in the east of Praya Road and is used as an industrial boatyard and for engineering workshops that serve the local fishing fleet.

"The visual dilapidation of the industrial buildings in the area contrasts with the modern residential facade of Larvotto," the developers noted in the application.

They believe the industrial nature of the site is a constant cause of visual, air and noise pollution along with being a potential safety hazard.

If approved, the yacht center will yield a gross floor area of 146,505 sq ft. It will include an exhibition and convention hall for the marine industry. Around 57,998 sq ft of the area will be allocated for recreational facilities.

More than one third of the area will be reserved for boatyards, where boats can be built and repaired.

In August, the developers sought to rezone the area but the Town Planning Board rejected their idea. The Southern District Council had told the board there is no harm in having boatyards next to a luxury residential project.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 10:45 AM   #1617
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MTR puts noise fears to rest
The Standard
Wednesday, May 29, 2013



An innovative approach to building a viaduct section at night will mean fewer sleepless nights for residents along the MTR's South Island Line (East), the rail operator said.

For beam-and-winch viaduct erection equipment, being used for the first time in Hong Kong, is likely to cut down on construction time.

Traditional equipment takes one to two months to set up and needs significant road closures all day long.

The new equipment takes about two weeks to set up and roads can remain open in the daytime.

The line's lead project manager, Mark Cuzner, said the new machines take less time to deliver as well.

The two-kilometer viaduct section will run from the Aberdeen Tunnel toll plaza to Ap Lei Chau, taking in the Ocean Park and Wong Chuk Hang stations.

The precast concrete viaduct deck sections involve 628 segments and are fitted into place using equipment from Italy, which is one-tenth the size of a typical viaduct launching gantry.

Though the total construction time of the viaduct remains the same for both new and old methods, the new equipment negates the need for large-scale or long-term road closures.

"In terms of advantages, I think fundamentally it minimizes destruction. It also takes account of the size and condition we have, particularly the limited work in the area and also offers the flexibility in terms of how we do the work," said Cuzner.

The seven-kilometer line will connect the southern part of Hong Kong Island to the existing MTR network.

A five-kilometer stretch is being built underground and a two-kilometer span on the viaduct.

Construction, which began in May 2011, is expected to be completed in 2015.

Currently, about 35 percent of the civil engineering work has been completed.

Cuzner also said MTR Corp will complete the project within the budget of HK$12.6 billion.

He added that the MTRC will consider using the new technique in other projects, particularly if conditions are similar.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 12:26 PM   #1618
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After standing sentinel at one of Tsim Sha Tsui's busiest intersections for 39 years, the Tung Ying Building at Nathan Road is set to be bulldozed for a flashy new shopping centre.
A source at Chinese Estates Holdings, which bought the 17-storey property from the Hotung family in 2002, said the decision to demolish the building was prompted by the consumer spending boom and the revival of the retail property market.
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Old June 4th, 2013, 12:42 PM   #1619
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Just $1m - and no cash down
The Standard
Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Nothing to pay upfront, and just HK$5,000 a month mortgage. That's the bottom line for 1,000 "starter homes" in a groundbreaking plan by tycoon Lee Shau-kee.

The chairman of Henderson Land Development (0012) - popularly known as Uncle Four - said the government will consider his proposal to donate a plot in Fan Ling that could accommodate the 300-square-foot flats.

Lee has proposed donating land he owns in the New Territories for building homes to be priced at about HK$1 million and sold to the younger generation without the need for any downpayment and monthly installments of just HK$5,000.

But the government, in turn, would have to waive the land premium on the plot and develop infrastructure in the area under Lee's original proposal, details of which were revealed in The Standard in early March.

Responding to Lee yesterday, the Development Bureau said it will proactively consider any suggestion to solve Hong Kong's housing needs.

The Fan Ling site is personally owned by Lee and is valued at between HK$200 and HK$300 million, he told reporters following Henderson's annual general meeting yesterday. It is understood that the site is located in Ma Shi Po village, which falls under areas in the northeast New Territories that the government has said it will develop.

Henderson holds the largest tract - 42.8 million square feet of agricultural land - in the SAR, including 5.4 million sq ft in the northeast New Territories.

Lee said he offered the government seven sites to consider which, if approved, could accommodate a total of 10,000 homes.

Total cost of buying the seven sites could reach HK$1 billion, Lee estimated.

But there are many issues to be solved including planning, transportation and infrastructure, he said, so he would not be surprised if the full extent of the donation cannot be realized.

He denied the donation would be advantageous to Henderson-owned developments in the area. But he spoke favorably about the government, saying it was no longer adhering to the so- called "new town model" which called for reclaiming all land in an area before selling the plots, according to a master plan.

Such a plan was strongly opposed by developers. "I believe [the donation] is a good thing to do. I would only spend HK$1 billion and thousands of people stand to benefit."

Michael Choi Ngai-min, a member of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, said Lee's idea of donating land would help relieve social discord and could serve as a model for other developers. But surveyors said even if the government waived the land premium for turning farmland into residential projects, the plan would still have to go through town planning procedures.

As for the property market, Lee said it would remain lackluster and prices would rise by 10 percent at most in the next two years. But he is still bullish on property stocks, having spent HK$2.2 billion in the past year to buy Henderson shares, exchange disclosures show.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 05:36 AM   #1620
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Tycoon hints at flats first for Yuen Long
The Standard
Thursday, June 06, 2013

A site in Yuen Long, rather than Fan Ling, is likely to kick-start tycoon Lee Shau-kee's proposed joint program with the government to build affordable homes for young people.

Up to 1,000 units, measuring 300 square feet that cost HK$1 million each and require no downpayment, could be built on a site Lee owns in Fan Ling, he said on Monday.

But the chairman of Henderson Land (0012) said yesterday the first set of cheap homes that will require a monthly mortgage installment of just HK$5,000 may be built on a plot he also owns in Yuen Long that could contain in 1,000 units. The Fan Ling site could eventually contain 2,000 to 3,000 units at a later stage, he said.

Lee believes the government will allow either the Housing Authority or the Hong Kong Housing Society to handle the program.

"Whether we can make it or not ultimately depends on consensus from the community," said Lee, following the annual general meeting of the Hong Kong and China Gas Company (0003), of which he is also chairman.

"These two plots [in Yuen long and Fan Ling] are relatively suitable for housing and could be developed and handled easily."

They are part of the seven sites he has offered to donate to the government. But before doing so, he wants to make sure that at a cost of HK$1 billion, he, and not any listed firm linked to him, entirely owns all the plots.

This is to ensure that no part of the housing program requires any shareholder approval.

Housing Authority and Housing Society spokesmen said they were not involved in discussions concerning the plan, which would allow Lee to convert some of his vast holdings of farmland into residential use without paying any land premium.

Lui Che-woo, chairman of real estate developer K. Wah International Holdings (0173), declined to comment on the plan. Lui said home price gains will slow this year amid cooling efforts.
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