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Old November 19th, 2008, 06:32 AM   #121
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RTHK News:
Hopewell's 'Mega Tower' to be cut back
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Old November 19th, 2008, 07:40 AM   #122
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Yup. It's over.
93 floors now down to 55, 315m now down to 210m.

合和中心二期樓面積大減三成 (港聞)
2008-11-19 (13:21)
發展局長林鄭月娥宣布,合和二期的新修訂的發展規劃,總樓面面積大幅縮減31%。

林鄭月娥出席立法會,並且公布降低灣仔合和二期發展項目的密度及高度,總建築樓面面積大幅縮減31%,地積比率由15倍降至10.3倍,建築物高度大幅削減,由315米減至210米,樓層93層減至55層,酒店房間亦減少一半,由2197間減至1024間,但發展商所提供的5800多平方米休憩空間,沒有改變,發展商亦承諾會加強保育工作。

她又稱,由於有關項目爭議多年,現時工程可以盡快上馬。並補充,合和二期發展降低密度政府從無施壓。

林鄭月娥指,從來未試過有發展商決定作出這樣大幅度的縮減,並主動提出保育毗鄰的南固台,以及將附近的1800米土地發展為保育地帶。今次證明發展商聽取了市民的訴求而作出修訂,政府表示支持。
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Old November 19th, 2008, 10:39 PM   #123
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what a pity
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Old November 20th, 2008, 01:39 AM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZZ-II View Post
what a pity
I don't think it is really a pity at all, at least the project is really likely to be started.

RTHK News:
Hopewell 'not pressed over Mega Tower'
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Old November 20th, 2008, 07:11 AM   #125
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Small pic from singtao... better than nothing!

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Old November 20th, 2008, 07:33 AM   #126
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Cut down to size
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, November 20, 2008





Hopewell Holdings is hoping to go ahead with its long-proposed Wan Chai Mega Tower - but it has been cut down to size.

The tower's height has been cut by a third and the capacity of a planned hotel reduced by half in its proposal. Along with the cuts comes a name change: it will now be called Hopewell Centre II.

Hopewell said it plans to spend at least HK$5 billion on the project, which along with office space and a 1,024-room hotel includes a public park. The company will also spend HK$400 million on a road improvement plan.

Work could begin next year if the plan is approved, Hopewell said, with the project completed by 2014 or 2015.

The cuts in the project, which was first proposed almost 30 years ago, follow more than six months of talks between Hopewell and the government. However, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor denied the scale-back was due to government pressure.

"I am not the type of person that pressures people," Lam said. "Of course, all contractors hope to develop more but this time [Hopewell] has implemented social responsibility."

She added: "For many years, I have never seen a developer holding an approved project agreeing to such a large reduction."

Lam said because of the large cuts, the government is seeking legal advice to see if the new proposal is a class-A amendment - meaning it would not need to go before the Town Planning Board.

"The development will help rejuvenate a rather dilapidated area that has been lying i
dle for over 20, 30 years," Lam said.

Under the revised plan, the tower will be reduced from 93 stories to 55, a 40 percent drop, with the 210-meter height slightly lower than the adjacent 66-story Hopewell Centre's 222m.

The project's gross floor area will be reduced by 31 percent from Hopewell's 1994 proposal of 172,731 square meters with the plot ratio lowered from 15 to 10.3. Some 5,880 sq m of open public space will be retained. Hotel capacity will drop from 2,197 guestrooms.

The plan will be forwarded to Wan Chai District Council for approval next month, pending a review by the bureau and updated traffic analysis.

Hopewell co-managing director Thomas Wu Man-san said the project will create about 4,000 jobs with 500 initially, increasing to 1,900 at the peak of construction with another 1,100 jobs during the internal decoration stage.

There will be 900 permanent hotel jobs created and about 300 in shops.

He said the company did not have to raise additional funds for the scheme. Wu also denied suggestions Hopewell had come under government pressure and said the cuts would not affect revenue.

Hopewell said 60 percent of the development area is owned by the company with the rest by the government.

However, there are still some concerns about the development.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan said a three-week public consultation period should be granted for the public to air its views on the changes.

Wan Chai resident Sara Yin Pai-sze, meanwhile, said the project is still 55 stories too high.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #127
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Wake-up call for mega dream
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, November 20, 2008

When it was first proposed 14 years ago, Mega Tower with its 93 stories drew lots of oohs and aahs from admirers and plenty of boos from critics.

But as the project kept getting deferred by dozens of rejections by the Town Planning Board - accompanied by legal threats by Hopewell head Gordon Wu Ying-sheung - the city also changed.

It lost its obsession with mega projects, instead preferring more neighborhood-friendly buildings.

Even the word "mega" lost its appeal following the construction of MegaBox in Kowloon Bay.

As the city, and planning, changed, and the project was reduced in size, Mega Tower became Hopewell Centre II.

"The change was made some months ago, and we thought there were some misunderstandings about the hotel project. Seeing as Hopewell is already a household name in Wan Chai district, we thought it better to rename the project," a Hopewell spokeswoman said. However, allegations over project sweeteners remain. Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet- ngor dismissed suggestions that preservation of the offsite Nam Koo Terrace was in exchange for her giving the latest proposal her approval.

In 2005, Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said Wu was able to wriggle out of a promise to build a pedestrian walkway in Wan Chai, exploiting a flawed town planning deal.

Included in the tycoon's plan for Wu Chung House completed in 1992, the walkway, which would have extended over Queen's Road East to ease pedestrian traffic received approval from the Town Planning Board. To be built within 12 months of a land exchange agreement with the government for the Mega Tower cum-Hopewell Centre II site, the walkway never materialized.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 06:12 PM   #128
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Secretary for Development speaks about Hopewell Centre II
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Government Press Release

Following is the transcript of the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, speaking to the media about the Hopewell Centre II project at the Legislative Council today (November 19):

Reporter: You said that the revised scheme was under Class A amendments. Could you further explain that?

Secretary for Development: I was responding to a question on whether the significantly revised and reduced Hopewell Centre II project would require Town Planning Board’s approval again. There is a standing provision in the Town Planning Ordinance which is supplemented by very detailed guidelines. If the changes proposed by the developer to an approved scheme are what they called Class A amendments, then there is no need to go back to the Town Planning Board. And by and large, the Class A amendments are those amendments which reduce the size of the project, reduce the height of the project and so and so on. So, preliminary checking by my Planning Department colleagues suggested that all those changes that the Hopewell has proposed are probably Class A amendments. But why I was saying that we were checking with the lawyers is because we have never seen such an extent of reduction. So, we have to go back to the spirit and the underlying rationale for that particular provision and for the definition of the Class A amendments to be very sure about there is no need to go back to the Town Planning Board. Because these days, we need to be legally safe because people who dislike the project, they still do legal challenges that they prefer. So, on procedure side, we are on very conservative side. We would try to make sure that everything is okay.

Reporter: The revised project (inaudible)

Secretary for Development: Traffic is not my expertise. As you know, traffic comes under the Transport Department. The Transport Department has vetted the previous traffic impact assessment based on the 1994 scheme and they have asked a series of questions. What the developers are now doing are to present different sets of traffic data and to justify why this reduced traffic flow together with the road improvement work that Hopewell is going to put into the project will solve the problem. Preliminary data that I have seen suggested that they should be able to cope with the additional traffic generated by this reduced development. This is really a process for the Transport Department. As far as the Development Bureau is concerned, my job is really to ensure that Hong Kong could move ahead with both the public sector and private sector investments especially at this point in time when we do need the economic stimulus and the creation of jobs. So, after more than half a year’s work, the discussion with the developer, I do feel that this is a scheme that I would recommend to the community for support, not only because in respect of the developer’s right to develop but also a good balance in terms of having significantly reduced the height and the density that help to rejuvenate a rather dilapidated area that has been lying idle for over 20, 30 years, let alone also the additional open space, 5,880 square metres, the additional hotel rooms and conference facilities that will enhance Hong Kong’s status as the centre for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions). And also very dear to my heart, the preservation of this Grade I historic building, the Nam Koo Terrace. Thank you very much.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 03:49 PM   #129
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I hope the final product looks better than the renders. It's a shyte building.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 06:37 PM   #130
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HK$20m plan to save trees at tower site
Green groups press for changes

20 November 2008
South China Morning Post

The Hopewell Mega Tower project will include a HK$20 million plan for tree conservation and transplantation, but conservationists have urged the developer to build the hotel on cantilevers to preserve the trees instead of transplanting them.

And a leading conservation group is pressing ahead with a proposal calling for the site to be rezoned as green belt.

A study conducted by the developer earlier this year for the project - called Hopewell Centre II - found 510 trees on the site, including 12 trees growing in stone walls, which are regarded as heritage objects.

But Peter Li Siu-man, campaign manager of the Conservancy Association, has doubts.

"The trees are valuable. We believe some are 50 and 80 years old," he said. One Chinese banyan, which stands at one edge of the site, on Kennedy Road, is an "old and valuable tree" listed by the government.

Mr Li said that if Hopewell stuck to its plan to build the hotel tower on top of a podium, most trees would be affected.

"It depends how the podium is constructed. If it is a concrete structure, most trees on the ground will have to be transplanted, which will cause more damage. If the podium is supported by cantilevers, the trees can stay and damage will be less," he said. He urged the developer to give more details about the conservation plan.

Meanwhile, Mr Li's group will press ahead with its proposal to the Town Planning Board that the development site be rezoned into a green belt. The board will discuss the rezoning plan next month.

Ada Wong Ying-kay, former chairwoman of Wan Chai District Council, also hoped the trees would be preserved.

Apart from trees, the developer says the project will preserve and revitalise the disused Nam Koo Terrace on Ship Street, a grade one historic building owned by Hopewell.

The building is believed to have been built as early as 1915 and was first owned and lived in by a Shanghainese merchant. It was said to have been a comfort house for Japanese soldiers during the second world war.

Hopewell co-managing director Thomas Jefferson Wu said they had not decided on the use, but the building and the surrounding land would be open to the public.

Stephen Ng Kam-chun, vice-chairman of Wan Chai District Council, suggested it could be used as a restaurant, joining other fine dining establishments on the street. He also welcomed the height reduction.

Lee Ho-yin, director of the Architectural Conservation Programme at the University of Hong Kong, said an exhibition hall or a clubhouse would be a more compatible use given the building's domestic nature.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 08:39 PM   #131
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土地用途變完又變批地制崩潰
20/11/2008


【本報訊】當局規劃土地用途準則不清。坐落於皇后大道東一百九十六至二百零六號,屬合和所有的QRE Plaza,地段用途曾發生多次變化,現時雖列為休憩用地,但卻建有商業大廈,政府正計劃把該幅土地用途「還原」為商業用途,以反映真實發展。不過,有議員批評城規會「出爾反爾再反爾」,質疑當局做法只是將錯就錯。

每次出租需向城規會申請
有關的土地原劃作住宅用途,業權屬合和所有,城規會於八一年本批准合和在該地段發展一幢辦公室大樓,其後卻因區內欠休憩用地,而把土地劃作休憩用地,合和雖有反對但並不強烈;及後合和決定在有關土地上興建商廈及將之出租,但由於土地的使用與其現時的劃定用途有別,故合和每次在把單位租予不同租客時均需向城規會申請,過去合和先後提交八次申請,全部獲批。

發展局局長林鄭月娥否認政府是將錯就錯,她解釋,業權屬合和所有,雖然城規會把土地列作休憩用地,但這個改動並不影響該辦公室大廈的發展。她又指與其每次合和把舖位租予新客戶時便要申請,更徹底的做法是將該地改回做商業用途,以反映已落成的發展,而合和正與規劃署商討提交更改規劃用途申請。建築界、測量及都市規劃界劉秀成則指,有關個案並不罕見,可能是由規劃署提議將該地從商業用地改為休憩用地,而最重要是城規會改變土地用途時,是從對社會有最大益處的角度考慮。
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 02:47 AM   #132
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really nice project!
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 02:48 PM   #133
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Am I the only one who thinks the tower looks a bit ... shit?
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 05:23 PM   #134
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imo it looks way better than the original with the ultra-tacky revolving restaurant (and was tall enough that you can see its ugliness). Right now, it will just blend into HK's mass of skyscrapers and the design looks better and cleaner without the crap on top.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 04:24 AM   #135
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and btw this should be placed in Proposed Skyscrapers, not u/c highrises.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 05:37 AM   #136
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Aye - I think it was moved before the final height was known. So really, it could have gone in any one of the three categories.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 05:37 AM   #137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbaricManchurian View Post
imo it looks way better than the original with the ultra-tacky revolving restaurant (and was tall enough that you can see its ugliness). Right now, it will just blend into HK's mass of skyscrapers and the design looks better and cleaner without the crap on top.
Fair enough I suppose, but they really could have come up with something better. Hopewell Centre is a nice building, and it's going to look an eyesore next to it.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 05:24 PM   #138
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Opinion : What do you think of the revised Mega Tower project?
25 November 2008
South China Morning Post

What do you think of the revised Mega Tower project?

The timing of last Wednesday's announcements by the secretary for development and the managing director of Hopewell Holdings of the scaled-down Hopewell Centre II, or Mega Tower, project appear to have been a concerted effort to pre-empt a decision by the Town Planning Board on a rezoning application on this same Wan Chai site.

The Conservancy Association has put forward an environmentally friendly proposal to rezone an area of public land to "green belt". I understand that officials from the Development Bureau may have requested that the application be withdrawn. What does this say about co-operation between senior government officials and major developers? It displays a lack of respect for the Conservancy Association's efforts and all the more than 1,500 people who have taken the time to make a submission to the board giving their views on this rezoning.

Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels

Redevelopment is always a hot topic in our society. This time, the revised Mega Tower project drew my whole attention to the attitudes of the government and surprisingly the developers.

I think in general residents in Wan Chai have been opposed to the project, believing it was too high and would lead to traffic congestion. The developer finally responded to these objections and I greatly appreciate the fact that this hotel will be reduced in height. It is the first time that the government and developers have listened to people's views and responded. In the past our views have been neglected.

It is really important to strike a balance between economic development and enhancing our quality of life. I hope the government will listen to the views of residents with future projects.

Trista Yeung, Kwun Tong
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Old November 26th, 2008, 02:26 AM   #139
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I actually hope that's not the actual design but just a demonstration of the height difference. Even Vegas don't build hotels in that Y shape anymore. What is this public housing? lol.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 02:49 AM   #140
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This Sara Yin Pai-Tze said something that will upset the people that want the New Hopewell Tower built, the tower is 55 floors too high. That's about as low as we can get. Either build it this way or don't build it alt all.
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