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Old September 10th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #41
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This is the coolest project I've seen in awhile!
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 07:31 AM   #42
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Small developers cash in on office supply shortage in Kowloon
19 September 2007
South China Morning Post

A shortage of supply has spurred small developers to aggressively put up office buildings in Kowloon's industrial districts.

With a flood of new stock coming to the market, property agents now expect downward pressure on office rents in Kowloon East.

According to Colliers International, about 3.56 million square feet of new supply from six office buildings will be made available in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay this year and next.

Colliers International research director Simon Lo Wing-fai said the average office rent in Kowloon East dropped 2.3 per cent to HK$20.90 per square foot last month from HK$21.40 per square foot in January. However, office prices in Kowloon East are rising.

Reggie Lai Yui-chung, project planning manager at Billion Development, said demand for saleable office buildings in Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong was strong.

Its office building at 83 Hung To Road in Kwun Tong was launched this year.

The 35-storey office building provides a total gross floor area of 300,000 sqft.

Most of the office floors have been sold at HK$3,800 to HK$3,900 per square foot, and only four floors remain for sale.

Mr Lai said most of the buyers were industrialists looking for headquarters and long-term investment.

"They need the office to manage their factories in the mainland, and they prefer to buy rather than rent," he said.

Mr Lai said demand from industrialists remained strong amid the fast economic growth on the mainland in the past few years.

He also said the growing number of mergers between industrial groups was boosting demand for new office space.

However, the supply of saleable offices in the area was limited because of a focus by leading developers on residential projects in the past few years, Mr Lai said.

As a result, small developers have been given the opportunity to initiate profitable office projects in the area.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 11:42 PM   #43
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How does Hong Kong's economy create the growth to spur office development after office development?
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Old September 26th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltrane74 View Post
How does Hong Kong's economy create the growth to spur office development after office development?
These are alternate office locations at very low prices. The district itself is not expensive, and rents are about 1/5 of those in the core areas. It appeals to the smaller enterprises and industrial firms. The area is industrial to start, so they need some offices as well.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 07:25 AM   #45
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fantastic project, glad to see some not-squared shapes

quite some green in there
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 07:06 PM   #46
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Some background information on the takeup of office redevelopments in Kwun Tong :

SKHP's Real Estate arm goes on offensive
31 October 2007
South China Morning Post

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) is aggressively expanding its office leasing portfolio across Hong Kong to cater for the growing requirements of business operations from different sectors and industries.

Janet Ho Kar-yee, assistant manager of business development with SHKP's subsidiary Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said the group had a strong office leasing presence with more than seven million sq ft of office premises. "Our portfolio will expand to more than 10 million sq ft by 2010 with the completion of new projects such as the International Commerce Centre (ICC) in Kowloon Station, which provides a total of 2.5 million sq ft, and a new development in Kwai Chung near Kwai Hing MTR Station," she said.

Ms Ho said the office leasing operation had recorded steady rental growth and contributed about 25 per cent of the group's total gross rental revenue of HK$7.21 billion for the year ended June 30, 2007. The rental income for the office leasing division registered growth of about 16 per cent.

The group's office properties spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories, ranging from One IFC and Two IFC in Central to Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wan Chai, World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay, Millennium City in Kwun Tong, Grand Century Place in Mong Kok, New Town Tower in Sha Tin, Metroplaza in Kwai Chung and Landmark North in Sheung Shui.

Ms Ho said its properties achieved rents in line with the market rates in different locations and catered to the needs of a wide spectrum of tenants.

"We have different kinds of tenants in different districts," she said. "For instance, financial institutions account for the majority of tenants in One IFC and Two IFC, while most of the tenants in our Kwun Tong and Kwai Chung properties are from trading and other industries."

"Our Millennium City office towers in Kwun Tong have also absorbed some of the banks consolidating their back-office operations there."

She said Hong Kong's economic growth had provided solid support to the local office leasing market, while business organisations, especially those in the financial service sector, expanded. SHKP had been building up its office portfolio to tap the opportunities of the leasing market, she said. One IFC was completed in 1998 while Two IFC came on to the market in 2003.

In addition, the first phase of ICC, comprising about 900,000 sq ft of space, will be ready for occupation at the end of this year. Morgan Stanley has signed a deal to lease 10 floors at the 118-storey skyscraper.

SHKP, one of the largest office landlords in Hong Kong, launched a new brand strategy last year with the introduction of its "BIZ Office Leasing" identity to raise its profile.

Ms Ho said the brand strategy was intended to highlight the group's strong presence in the leasing sector and the appeal of its properties to a broad base of tenants. In addition to the design and construction of quality office properties, she said SHKP was committed to providing professional services and value-added building facilities to meet tenants' needs.

"For example, we have incorporated innovative features into our new project Millennium City 6 in Kwun Tong such as a roof garden for all tenants' enjoyment and leisure, and a private garden for use by individual tenants and duplex offices," Ms Ho said.

In the mainland, SHKP is also developing new projects for office leasing. Its existing properties include Shanghai Central Plaza and Beijing apm. Two new projects are under way in Shanghai - Shanghai IFC and the Huai Hai Zhong Road complex development.

Ms Ho said the Shanghai IFC project would include hotels, serviced apartments, offices and a one million sq ft shopping mall. The first phase of the two planned office towers is scheduled for completion in 2009.

The Huai Hai Zhong Road project is expected to provide about 1.3 million sq ft of office space on completion in 2010.
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Old November 4th, 2007, 06:52 AM   #47
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觀塘安達臣道 擬建維港海景公屋
10月 31日 星期三 05:10AM

【明報專訊】背山面海不是私人住宅的專利,運輸及房屋局擬於面向維港、背靠飛鵝山 的觀塘安達臣道地皮興建公屋,提供16,100個單位,並在附近興建學校,預計於明年1月展開工程,2015至2016年分階段落成。由於該地皮高度限制為230米至280米,即可建逾70層高大廈,有城市規劃委員會成員擔心新建樓宇會阻擋山脊線。

運輸及房屋局提交立法會房屋事務委員會的文件指出,為滿足公屋需求,當局建議於明年1月在安達臣道石礦場及秀茂坪道進行土地平整工程,以提供約20公頃的土地興建公屋、學校、休憩空間等。房屋委員會 計劃於2011年於當中的5幅土地興建公屋,以提供16,100個單位,容納4.8萬人居住。

測量界料呎價5000元

測量師彭兆基表示,該地皮雖背山面海,但交通十分不便,估計該地呎價5000元,「較順天鸷還要遠,居民要乘一程車才能到達市中心」。但他認為,政府選擇景觀理想地點興建公屋是適當做法,「以免公屋居民以為美景、交通便利一定無自己份,像『開荒牛』般」。

有關工程建設費為34.6億元,當局未公布發展參數,但城市規劃委員會早於1999年為免影響飛鵝山山脊線,修改觀塘(北)分區計劃大綱圖為7幅住宅(甲類)用地,設230米至280米的高度限制,住宅地積比為7.5。

樓高可逾70層 恐阻山脊線

城市規劃委員會成員吳祖南擔心,此高度限制不足以保護山脊線,「280米太高了,1999年時根本無保護山脊線的標準,當時的修訂是基於從哪裏看過去的山脊線?」他表示,若公眾有合理的擔憂,城規會可啟動機制,重新考慮該處的高度限制。

另外,土木工程拓展署將改善相關行人路和道路交界處,並會展開渠務、污水及環境美化工程,又會種植5萬棵樹木及2萬叢灌木,設置樹林屏障及觀賞美化植物點。但工地範圍內的城隍廟 、觀音廟、大聖廟和海國天后娘娘廟將於年底前清拆,遷置到寶琳路附近。
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Old November 12th, 2007, 06:36 AM   #48
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Winsor upbeat on Kwun Tong complex
12 March 2007
South China Morning Post

Winsor Properties Holdings, a mid-sized Hong Kong-listed developer, expects that its Landmark East office complex in Kwun Tong will benefit from companies moving out of Central amid rising rent in grade A offices.

Despite market expectations that rising supply in non-core business areas such as Kowloon East will put pressure on rent, Winsor Properties managing director John Chow Wai-wai remains upbeat, saying that financial institutions are interested in moving their back-office units to the International Commerce Centre at the Kowloon Station.

"We [landlords in non-core business areas] are waiting for the turning point in which tenants in Central consider moving out once the rising rents reach their [budget] limits," he said.

Winsor Properties invested HK$500 million to develop Landmark East, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2008. It plans to lease the offices in the first half of this year. The complex is the only fully owned development project of Winsor Properties and will be its major revenue source from 2009.

Increasing new office supply in Kowloon East could help convert the industrial district into a new commercial district, Mr Chow said.

According to CB Richard Ellis, Kwun Tong will provide new office supply of more than 2.6 million square feet over the next four years.

Mr Chow said Landmark East would target multinational firms and local major companies in the first stage of leasing. The second stage will target tenants in Kowloon East looking to upgrade. He declined to disclose the asking rents of the office.

The project, located at the junction of How Ming Street and Tsun Yip Street, comprises 40- and 43-storey office buildings with a total gross floor area of more than 1.2 million sq ft.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 04:35 AM   #49
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Residents, shopkeepers want Kwun Tong renewal
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eighty-six percent out of 442 submissions support the Urban Renewal Authority's plan to redevelop a five-hectare site at Kwun Tong town center and Yuet Wah Street into residential and commercial complexes.

The Town Planning Board will consider the submissions on the Kwun Tong City Centre redevelopment on Friday.

The submissions were mainly from residents and shop owners.

Legislator Alan Leong Ka-kit said in his submission that the proposed 280-meter landmark building at the site is about 40 percent higher than the existing 200-meter APM shopping mall.

The high plot ratio of the 180-meter residential towers and the landmark building, ranging from 7.5 to 12, will not only block air circulation but also increase population and traffic pressure in the already dense district, he said. Some participants suggested phasing the redevelopment to ease the impact on residents and shops, which will allow streetscapes to continue to feature.

In reply, the authority said the "cascading building form" with its split podium will provide an adequate breezeway for ventilation.

The Town Planning Board is expected to approve the plan on Friday.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 12:24 PM   #50
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URA sets target for HK$30b Kwun Tong project
12 March 2008
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority is to acquire properties that fall within the redevelopment boundaries of Kwun Tong town centre by the end of this year.

The internal rate of return for the project would fall below the expected 5 per cent because of the booming property market and concerns brought by a second mortgage crisis, said Quinn Law Yee-kwan, the authority's new managing director.

The HK$30 billion redevelopment plan, at 5.35 hectares, is the biggest and most complicated project undertaken by the authority. It would accommodate 600,000 people.

Officials had received 442 comments on the plan, of which 380 submitted by residents, shop owners and local organisations supported it.

Legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit was one of more than 50 who opposed the project. He said a planned iconic 90-storey tower was much taller than the shopping mall in the district, the APM, and would disrupt the ridge line. The commercial tower is one of 122 features of the draft plans that are said to reflect the aspirations of the community.

The H15 Concern Group, which consisted of former shop operators and residents affected by the Lee Tung Street redevelopment scheme in Wan Chai, said Kwun Tong should be redeveloped in phases and the plan should address clearly how the social network could be preserved.

But the Planning Department said yesterday that the plan prepared by the URA should not be amended, arguing that concerns on height limit and the provision of a hawker bazaar and street shops to preserve local characteristics could be addressed when the master layout plan was submitted.

It also said the URA would have to submit a visual-impact assessment to justify the proposed height of the iconic tower.

The Town Planning Board will discuss the scheme on Friday.
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Old April 30th, 2008, 03:52 AM   #51
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'Old hands' bring Kwun Tong's rich past to life
20 April 2008
South China Morning Post

The rich and fascinating history of Kwun Tong is being told for the first time in a 200-page book set to be published in July or August.

Originally called Kwun Fu, the district's coastline was the site of salt farms that supplied imperial China dating back to the Song dynasty, when revenues from the salt monopoly made a significant contribution to imperial coffers. The farms filled the bays and inlets along the coast to Kowloon Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui.

The book's project team, funded by Kwun Tong District Council, is led by district councillor Leung Fu-wing, and supported by 11 council members.

Relocated to Kwun Tong from Sai Wan Ho on Hong Kong Island in the late 1960s, Ms Leung is one of the "old hands" on the council who knows the area intimately.

"As the older areas of Kwun Tong are to be given a major makeover by the Urban Renewal Authority, this book is needed to record our very interesting past," she said.

"Most other district councils have already done their own books to showcase their glorious past and local culture.

"The book will be an eye-opener to many people, nurturing their interest in the character and colourful identity of Kwun Tong and encouraging them to visit the area."

Entitled Kwun Tong Fung Mack Chi (Kwun Tong Local History and Heritage), it will only be available in Chinese.

The editor and researcher was Leung Ping-wah, who has done similar projects for North, Southern and Islands district councils.

"Unlike North District, with its well-preserved local character, Kwun Tong was not developed until the post-war period," Dr Leung said.

"Therefore, there isn't much literature or information documenting its background. This scarcity of historical information has meant relying on first-hand information."

Over the past 13 months, the team has put together an interesting picture from various sources including government departments and public utilities such as CLP, Kowloon Motor Bus and Town Gas, which were involved in creating the district's infrastructure in the 1950s.

With the help of the councillor, Ms Leung, Dr Leung has interviewed a retired shipbuilder, teachers, a club operator, former district officers and district councillors, among others.

Some long-serving community associations such as the 38-year-old Kwun Tong Sports Promotion Association and Kwun Wah Amusement Association were also consulted to shed light on residents' recreation and entertainment.

The modern history of Kwun Tong began in 1953, when the government earmarked the district for transformation into a satellite town with both industrial and residential sectors.

The book's 18 chapters outline the growth of the town from scratch and also walk readers through some key moments from the past: the Japanese invasion of December 1941; growth of public housing estates; colourful festivals; industrial development throughout the district as the textile industry burgeoned, and significant coastal changes through land reclamation.

Dr Leung said the work hinged on interviews with 18 key local leaders in the district.

"Rising from the grass roots, they tell their own stories of success and sentiment," she said. "For example, Wong Wah-sang, nicknamed the 'King of Ships', built his shipbuilding business with his bare hands."

About 2,000 copies of the book will be printed and distributed to district council members, public libraries, schools and other government institutions.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 02:52 AM   #52
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Property owners get $14b offer
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More than 1,600 property owners in Kwun Tong town center will be offered one-off compensation amounting to HK$14 billion in December - the biggest ever by the Urban Renewal Authority.

The acquisition will involve both residential and commercial property owners and the compensation will be part of the HK$30 billion Kwun Tong Town Centre project to revitalize the aging heart of the district.

There are 1,656 property interests in the 5.3-hectare site bounded by Hong Ning Road, Mut Wah Street, Hip Wo Street and Yue Man Square.

Expecting settlements with tenants to be finalized within two to three years, URA chairman Barry Cheung Chun- yuen said: "This approach meets with the demands of the residents and allows them to plan what they do afterwards."

He said the URA had heard the residents preferred a one-time, one- price acquisition.

Cheung acknowledged the move would increase financial risk but said the URA's financial situation is sound.

He also said the authority's single largest project will be carried out in phases due to its scale and complexity, and will also involve various transport and public facilities issues.

Because the Yuet Wah Street bus terminus does not involve private property interests, phase one will begin with its relocation.

Glass structures of sleek scientific lines inundated with foliage on a field of green will replace the graying city block with a modern town center complete with 209,640 square meters of commercial space, 159,610 sqm of residential development as well as 16,300 sqm of space for leisure, recreational, community and government facilities.

More than 8,700 square feet of open and landscaped spaces will also be included, as well as 15,700 sq ft for public transport interchanges.

Owner-occupiers of flats will get priority to buy new units in the project at market prices. Shop owners and tenants occupying the site before March 30, 2007 will be entitled to an allowance to offset business losses.

Cheung said the site's master layout plan will be submitted to the town planning board in July.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 07:35 PM   #53
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Some nearby projects :

South China Morning Post
June 25, 2008 Wednesday
Office projects drive change
Property developer's decision to take leading role in development of district paves the way for a brighter future


SHKP has earned a pioneering reputation among local developers for kick-starting aggressive programmes of commercial property developments in East Kowloon.

The group's Millennium City portfolio in Kwun Tong now provides five grade A office towers with a total floor area of nearly 3million sq ft, which are among the top choices for business organisations wishing to relocate their operations into the district.

Among them, the first tower - Millennium City1 - was completed in 1998, and the latest addition - Millennium City6 - came on stream last year.

Janet Ho Kar-yee, assistant manager of business development at the office leasing department of SHKP's subsidiary Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said the group was a key player in the commercial development of East Kowloon.

"In the old days, there were very few developers interested in undertaking office projects in East Kowloon. We have taken the lead as we are positive about the potential for growth in the district," she said.

"It is a completely different story today. We can see a number of projects launched by different developers. The Urban Renewal Authority is also proceeding with the Yue Man Square redevelopment. All these property and urban renewal projects are certain to create a new facet for East Kowloon."

Ms Ho said the leasing response of Millennium City 6 had been strong and the newly completed building was now more than 90 per cent occupied. The overall occupancy rate for its Millennium City portfolio was in excess of 95 per cent with an average monthly rental of $25HK to $30HK per square foot.

She said gradeA office rental in East Kowloon had recorded an average increase of about 11 per cent last year, and the group achieved a similar rate of growth for its Millennium City towers.

The Standard Chartered Bank and the Bank of East Asia are two of the biggest tenants in the Millennium City portfolio, having relocated and consolidated their back-office operations in the district. MTR Corporation, DBS, SmarTone, Levi Strauss, Hugo Boss and Sunflower Travel are also among the tenants in the towers.

Ms Ho said East Kowloon was becoming more attractive for businesses as they looked for quality alternatives to offices in traditional core business districts.

"We have seen several companies relocating from Tsim Sha Tsui and other districts into East Kowloon for business expansion. At the same time, they can achieve savings in rents given the rental gap between core and non-core business districts," she said.

"Companies are always impressed by the quality of our offices, which are available at highly competitive rents."

Despite the large supply of office properties in East Kowloon, Ms Ho said she was optimistic about the leasing prospect because there was strong underlying demand from companies to absorb the new spaces. A strategic location and excellent transport connections also encouraged local and international companies to move their offices to East Kowloon, she said.

In addition to its Millennium City towers, SHKP is developing another office building in Hoi Bun Road in Kwun Tong. The project, which has yet to be named, is expected to provide a total floor area of about 300,000 sqft upon completion next year. The group has also accumulated more land bank in the district for further development, but details of future projects have yet to be finalised.

Ms Ho said that quality was essential to the group's office property development and it tried hard to provide value-added building features and facilities for tenants.

"We are actively introducing environmentally friendly features into our new projects such as the provision of more podium and garden spaces for tenants' leisure and enjoyment. For example, a sky garden is included in our Millennium City6," she said.

"This trend is going to continue. We will incorporate more innovative building facilities and services including energy saving and green initiatives in our new projects to meet tenants' demand."
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Old July 26th, 2008, 06:04 AM   #54
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Waterfront walk for Kwun Tong next year
26 July 2008
South China Morning Post

Kwun Tong residents will be able to enjoy a short segment of a long-awaited waterfront walkway next year.

The Development Bureau said yesterday that work on the 200-metre temporary promenade along 4,670 square metres of the Kwun Tong public cargo working area was tentatively due to begin early next year.

It should be completed in the latter half of the year, the bureau said in a paper submitted to the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee.

Two cargo working areas have delayed construction. Lawmakers have demanded that the government close the areas, noting that their berth licence agreements will expire at the end of this month.

However, the government has said it hopes the operators will move voluntarily. Earlier, Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng said there was no suitable site to reprovision the cargo working areas.

The plan will go to the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee and Kwun Tong district council in September for consultation.

Councillor So Lai-chun hoped the work would start soon. "We are long overdue for a promenade," she said.

Parks, cafes and dog parks were among the suggested uses.

Residents have also proposed connecting the Kwun Tong promenade and Kai Tak with a footbridge. "The footbridge can pull the two districts closer and save travelling time, and revitalise Kwun Tong's economic activities," she said.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 04:43 AM   #55
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Residents on march for greener Kwun Tong
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, July 28, 2008

More than 200 Kwun Tong residents took to the streets yesterday to express discontent over their deteriorating environment and the lack of consultation on redevelopments plans.

Composed of children and the elderly, the protesters marched from Laguna Park to the Kwun Tong pier where they tied green ribbons around its fences to express their hopes for a better living environment.

"The living environment is very important for our children," said a housewife surnamed Chui who marched with her husband and eight-year-old son. They have been Laguna City residents for 10 years.

Chui said noise, water and air pollution have all become part of the daily lives of residents, pointing out that a sewage treatment plant, two cargo working areas and a metal-recycling plant are located along the coast from Kwun Tong to Cha Kwo Ling.

Residents have been pressing for the demolition of the cargo loading areas, where around 40 barges dock regularly.

Their contract, scheduled to expire on July 31, was extended by the government to 2011 without allegedly consulting the residents as there were no other suitable site for cargo-handling.

"The government is siding with the developers," Kwun Tong district councillor Cliff Tang Wing-chun said.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 04:46 AM   #56
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Kwun Tong blueprint turning greener
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Urban Renewal Authority has submitted a revised HK$30 billion blueprint for the Kwun Tong Town Centre redevelopment to the Town Planning Board.

The authority's executive director of planning and development, Iris Tam Siu-ying, said yesterday improvements to the original plan included the removal of stores at the minibus station to improve accessibility and ventilation while the cooling system would use fresh water instead of seawater.

In December the authority will begin the acquisition of all 1,656 properties at an estimated cost of HK$14 billion. It is studying whether to borrow money from banks.


The redevelopment includes a 61-story, 280-meter commercial landmark, a bus and minibus terminal, a multipurpose building that will also house government offices and a large civic square.

There will also be five residential buildings providing 2,000 flats. The revised plan has tripled the greenery area from 2,650 square meters to 8,700 sqm and increased the surrounding air ventilation by 40 percent. There will also be more public spaces.

The design focuses on the sustainability of development and prevention of a "wall effect" with different heights of buildings. More ramps, lifts and guide signs will be made to help the disabled.

The area for redevelopment is about 5.3 hectares and will be separated into five phases. Tam said the expected 12-year period was just an estimate.

Project director Ernest Lee Shu-wing said the redevelopment's internal rate of return would fall to 4 percent - very low for property projects.

"It's a social mission, the project must go on," Lee said.

SK Pang Surveyors managing director Pang Shui-kee said the project would inevitably experience a deficit under a low internal rate of return and the economic downturn.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 04:48 AM   #57
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Skyscraper planfor Kwun Tong to go ahead
URA study finds high-rise tower will not have major visual impact

10 September 2008
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority intends to proceed with building a 280-metre office tower in the revamped Kwun Tong town centre after consultants found its visual impact would not be significant.

"It is residents of Kowloon East who asked for a landmark of their own," said URA executive director Iris Tam Siu-ying as she announced the findings.

David Lung Ping-yee, who chairs the authority's Kwun Tong district advisory committee, said the redevelopment master plan was based on the community's views gathered at public forums.

Town Planning Board member Ng Cho-nam said the landmark building would be an eyesore out of scale with the surroundings. "A landmark does not have to be tall. It's the design that matters," he said.

But Kowloon East lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said urban renewal strategy required the authority to balance its budget through high-density developments.

The master layout plan for the new Kwun Tong town centre was submitted to the Town Planning Board last month and will be available for public comment next week.

The HK$30 billion redevelopment will be divided into five phases. Of the cost, HK$14 billion will be spent on buying up properties and compensating owners.

The first phase - turning the public transport interchange into a residential development with a community health centre - is expected to be completed in 2013. The target date for completion of the last phase is 2021.

The 280-metre-high tower would be built at the junction of Hip Wo Street and Kwun Tong Road, and would house offices, hotels and shops.

It would be 80 metres higher than the tallest building in the area, the APM Millennium City. Surrounding blocks of flats would be 140 metres to 178 metres high.

Despite concern that the tower would block views of the ridge line above Kowloon, the URA said visual and air ventilation assessments proved it would not become an eyesore. Ms Tam said the URA's consultants assessed the visual impact of the tower from seven vantage points and found it to be insignificant.

The tower would be connected with another building described as transparent and intended to house government offices, community facilities and social enterprises. It would face Yue Man Square and a civic square of 6,700 square metres, twice the public open space provided at Times Square in Causeway Bay.

Apart from the planting of 450 trees, the public transport interchanges for buses and minibuses would be modified to allow more air flow, Ms Tam said.

Quoting another consultant's study, she said air flow through the town centre would increase by 43 per cent after redevelopment. Small shops and the 120 hawkers doing business in the town centre would be encouraged to stay.

Mr Leong urged the authority to offer alternative compensation options, such as swapping shops and flats for premises in the new developments.

Helen Wong-yat man, vice-chairperson of an alliance representing about 60 per cent of the owners affected, said more than half would prefer to take cash compensation and move out.

Several dozen owners would prefer to receive a flat of the same size in compensation, while some elderly would like priority in buying Home Ownership Scheme flats at a discount, she said.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 08:41 AM   #58
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This looks promising. Looking forward to a revitalization of Kwun Tong, where my grandmother lives. It also has a hint of ambition in terms of environmental consideration. It's great to see Kwun Tong residents rally behind this project.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 04:56 AM   #59
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Challenges for latest project
10 September 2008
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority's largest redevelopment project would be kicked-off with the announcement of acquisition offers by the end of this year, but sources in the authority said more challenges were coming.

The authority promised in May to adopt a one-off acquisition approach, although the whole redevelopment will take about eight years.

Waiting for the authority's offer, residents already set a high price for their flats. Helen Wong-yat man, vice-chairwoman of an alliance of more than 1,000 property owners, said her group had commissioned a surveyor who estimated the compensation should be over HK$9,000 per sq ft.

"The Kwun Tong site is such a prime site," Ms Wong said. "It's huge and with good transport links. We will not accept a low price."

While the property market has been going downwards, prices for Kwun Tong flats had stood firm, she said.

The elderly are not the only people suffering in the 40-year-old dilapidated area of Kwun Tong centre. There are also ethnic minorities whose children are studying at the Delia Memorial School in Hip Wo Street, which caters to their educational needs.

"These people are heavily reliant on and confined to the neighbourhood," said the source. "Monetary compensation alone would not be very helpful. They need to be handled with care."

The authority would have to resettle them in neighbouring public housing estates so that their lives would not be significantly disturbed, the source said.

Compensating prostitutes who have been working in the old buildings is another headache. "They are actually tenants but they are not officially engaged in any rental contract," a source said, adding that a special team has been set up for these cases.

While promising licensed hawkers a right to stay in the redeveloped site, the authority might also be forced to compensate those without licences because people occupying a site for more than 12 years can own the site.

Fung Kwong-wai, who has been selling underwear in the Mut Wah Street market for over 30 years, said he hoped the place would remain an open-air market. He has no rent but pays about HK$7,000 annually to the government for licences.

"I still don't know what their plan is," he said. "I hope the authority lets me know as soon as possible."

He was worried he could not afford rent after the redevelopment.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #60
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I wonder what they are going to do with the transport exchange issue. Lots of people transfer from MTR to minibuses at Yue Man Square and that road is completely gone in the re-development plans.
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