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Old December 11th, 2009, 07:02 PM   #21
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Builders in rush to beat new rules
23 September 2009
SCMP

Developers are in a race to win approval for ambitious building projects before the government resumes a campaign to lock in tighter planning restrictions over building heights and densities.

Opinions on tighter development controls differ widely and an accelerated campaign by the government last year that saw stricter controls introduced in 13 districts won wide applause from green groups and the general public who are opposed to raising building density in Hong Kong, already one of the world's most densely populated cities.

But the campaign, aimed chiefly at setting limits to building heights and plot densities to ensure adequate air flow and sunlight for surrounding buildings, also unleashed a flood of objections from developers and homeowners.

Wong Nai Chung was among the most controversial cases, triggering 441 objections and putting the brakes on the policy. As a result, only Chek Lap Kok, Mid-Levels East and Ma On Shan have had building height restrictions imposed so far this year.

The slowdown provided a window of opportunity for developers to push through individual approvals before the government tightened district-wide controls, said a surveyor.

Dennis Law Sau-yiu, the managing director of small development company Yu Tai Hing, said: "The private sector can't do much about the policy. We can only try to get approvals for the building plans of our projects as soon as possible before the government imposes development controls."

Where district-wide restrictions have not yet been spelled out in an outline zoning plan, individual approvals may be secured from the Buildings Department. Swire Properties is among those that found this way to avoid height restrictions.

It won approval from the Buildings Department in 2007 for a redevelopment project at 25-35 Seymour Road in Mid-Levels to build a 52-storey residential building. A year later, under an outline zoning plan, the Planning Department issued a directive that would have restricted Swire to constructing a 30-storey building on the site. But armed with its approval from the Buildings Department, it escaped this provision.

But this route was not available on all sites, Law said. "We cannot be sure in the beginning about how many old buildings we may acquire and how big the site may be. So how can I produce a building plan? And if I wait until I have acquired sufficient development sites before I apply for a building plan, the government may have imposed development controls by the time I am ready," he said.

Edwin Leong, the managing director of another developer, Tai Hung Fai Enterprise, agreed that trying to rush building plans through the approval process with the Buildings Department was the only way to beat the tide of tighter controls. But this would not be easy, he added.

"It is difficult to acquire development sites in an urban area. Acquiring old buildings is one of the ways for developers to replenish their land banks. But securing a sufficient number of units in old buildings is a painful process and then we may still have to face tighter development controls when we finish," Leong said.

Meanwhile, both developers and the government must deal with the mounting opposition to high-density housing projects from the public and green groups.

MTR Corp faced the wrath of action group Green Sense when it invited development tenders for its residential project at Che Kung Temple Station in Sha Tin last year. Green Sense said the project design would block air flow and views for existing residents in the area.

It also lobbied the Town Planning Board to reduce the development plot ratio of MTR's Tsuen Wan project from five to three and the number of towers from seven to four last year.

Neither of the objections was upheld, but they provided the MTR with a foretaste of the mounting opposition to high-density living in Hong Kong and this year it hastened to secure approvals from the Buildings Department for three other development projects already on the drawing board and not yet subject to outline zoning plans.

The rising density of Hong Kong's residential towers prompted Katty Law Kar-ling, who has lived in Mid-Levels for 30 years, to set up the Central and Western Concern Group with several neighbours in 2005 after the government put the former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters on the land application list.

"A lot of tall buildings have been built in the district over the last 10 years. The redevelopment projects blocked views and worsened traffic jams. We believe the government should keep the former quarters for community use rather than residential use. The district lacks open space," she said.

Other residents, however, are more concerned about higher values for their old apartments.

Alex Lo, a resident of an old building at Seymour Road, received an offer from a developer to buy his flat for HK$11,000 per square foot last year. While he and other residents were considering the deal, the government imposed a height limit on the site. "We haven't heard another word from the developer and the market price of my flat is HK$6,300 per square foot only," Lo said.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:49 PM   #22
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I'm seeing this rendering as well. Is it the same project?

image hosted on flickr


First posted by 鄧麗欣之戀 from skyscrapers.cn.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 03:28 PM   #23
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Press Release
27 October 2010

Swire Properties Names Brand New Mid-Levels West Residential Project “AZURA”

Swire Properties announces that its latest residential project at 2A Seymour Road, Mid-Levels West has been officially named “AZURA”. With panoramic views of Victoria Harbour, AZURA sets new standards for architectural design and management excellence, offering residents the twin luxuries of a tranquil yet accessible home.

The name “AZURA 蔚然”, in both English and Chinese, reflects the clear blue sky, emphasising the views and the sense of space at the new development. The living environment at AZURA combines the elegance of Swire Properties’ minimalist design concept with a meticulous focus on enjoying life in peace and privacy.

Adrian To, General Manager, Residential at Swire Properties said: “As one of the few residential projects in the highly sought-after Mid-Levels West area, AZURA is set to bolster our long-established brand reputation. This property is located in a prestigious location similar to our earlier landmark development, The Albany. It is close to the Central commercial business district as well as to Soho’s cultural and entertainment neighbourhood. Mid-Levels is a well-established high-end residential district where the supply of exclusive properties is rare. AZURA will be the new icon in the area and will set a new benchmark for quality living.”

Offering 126 spacious units ranging in size from 1,650 to 2,100 sq ft, the 50-storey property adopts a modern, understated design that exudes timeless elegance. Each floor offers three units of three or four bedrooms, the latter including two en-suites. The development’s leisure and entertainment facilities provide a welcome sanctuary after a busy day in the city.

The residence also features three exquisite penthouses on the top floor with private pool and three unique apartments with flat roof. The wing-like architectural design of the building offers the widest possible view for all units.

The expected completion date of AZURA is Q4 2012.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #24
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Are developers being to creative on building names these days that they no longer make any sense geographically?
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Old October 30th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #25
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 08:48 AM   #26
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Mid-Levels flats seen at $31,000 psf
The Standard
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Swire Properties will base its selling price of flats in Azura at Mid-Levels West on nearby sister project The Albany, where the asking price now averages HK$31,000 per square foot.

Residential general manager Alex To said the 50-story Seymour Road project will have 126 units.

"The economy is strong and interest rates low," To said. "We're confident about Azura, which is situated at a traditional Mid-Levels residential area."

According to Midland Realty assistant associate director Victor Chong Shu-kan, the 20-year-old Albany has seen only three deals this year. A 6,830-square-foot penthouse fetched HK$338 million, or HK$49,488 psf.

Two typical units sold for an average HK$26,807 psf in April.

Azura, which is 87.5 percent owned by Swire and 12.5 percent by Henderson Land (0012), will have 80 three- bedroom units of 1,650 sq ft each, 40 four- bedroom units at 2,100 sq ft and six special units.

Set to be ready by end- 2012, the project will have a gross floor area of 200,000 sq ft.

Also on Hong Kong Island, K. Wah International (0173) will launch a 24-unit Stubbs Road project in mid-November.

Elsewhere, Henderson reveals details of its Jade Suite in Jordan today, while Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) put four more units on sale at Yoho Midtown yesterday, with prices ranging from HK$6,810 to HK$9,668 psf - a 3-5 percent price rise.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 01:58 PM   #27
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It looks like a big commie block.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 10:32 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD READY View Post
It looks like a big commie block.
Not the one in the back, but the one in the front still wrapped in green under construction.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 04:47 PM   #29
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Cooling Trend Hits Hong Kong
Moves to Damp Home Prices Appear to Have Slowed Sales Pace of Some Projects
22 December 2010
The Wall Street Journal

HONG KONG -- Signs are mounting that government measures aimed at taking the speculative heat out of Hong Kong's residential-property market are pushing some buyers to the sidelines, hitting sales of some big new projects.

The government's moves to combat surging home prices, including hefty taxes for selling an apartment within two years of its purchase, took effect a month ago. The measures, the latest in a series of market-cooling moves, came after the International Monetary Fund in November urged the government to take action if asset-price inflation continued, warning that it saw increasing risk of a property bubble in Hong Kong. The curbs were also prompted in large part by an influx of hot money from China -- speculative capital that evades Chinese regulators, who keep tight controls on the currency.

Property prices in Hong Kong have surged in response, especially in the luxury sector. Home prices rose 15% through September, after a 30% jump in 2009, according to official data. Data showing the impact of the new measures aren't yet available, but a dropoff in activity is already apparent at some projects being sold.

That includes Festival City II in the Tai Wai section of Hong Kong's New Territories, one of the largest residential developments launched in the autumn. People in the market are taking their time, says property consultant Jay Leung: "They're stopping to think" before making a purchase.

Festival City II's developer, Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd., sold 216 of its 1,386 units when sales began Nov. 19, the day before the cooling measures took effect, according to Credit Suisse. Since then, Credit Suisse estimates the developer has sold only 25 more flats. Cheung Kong declined to comment.

Similarly, Swire Properties has seen a slowdown in sales for its high-end residential project Azura in the Mid-Levels district of Hong Kong island. The development, which launched Nov. 20 and saw one apartment fetch 58 million Hong Kong dollars ($7.5 million), sold 28 of its first batch of 51 units within the first two days, according to Swire's records, but has sold only three since. Swire declined to comment on its sales.

Since the cooling measures were announced, prices for mass-market residences have declined 3%-5%, says Ricky Poon, executive director of residential sales at Colliers International in Hong Kong.

In the luxury market, prices have remained steady, Mr. Poon says, as owners turn from selling to leasing in order to avoid cutting prices.

Data from real-estate agents are mixed. Centaline Property Agency Ltd. says mass-market sales this past weekend were 11% higher than those of Nov. 13-14, the weekend before the stamp duties were enacted. Midland Realty, another big agency, says mass-market sales were down about one-third from where they were before the measures were announced. Neither agency tracks sales in the luxury market.

A Centaline spokeswoman says asking prices have remained stable, and the increased volume can be attributed to wary consumers beginning to buy in the secondary market again.

In theory, purchasers of lower-priced homes who hold their properties for the long term aren't affected by the new measures, which among other things restrict credit for apartments valued at HK$12 million or more. In addition, owners are liable for stamp duties of as much as 15% of a property's sale price if it is bought and sold within two years.

But even ordinary home buyers who fall outside the scope of the measures are reluctant to pull the trigger if they believe prices will slide.

"I foresee housing prices will keep on dropping," says Blondy Leung, a 29-year-old who started looking to buy in October, when her landlord raised the rent on her Kowloon apartment by about 10%. Several weeks after she started her hunt, the government announced the stamp duties, and she put her purchase on hold. Now she is renting again, in another neighborhood, hoping to make a purchase within the next year.

Analysts believe some developers may choose to shelve new launches rather than lower prices.

Already, launches for two projects in Hong Kong's New Territories, Para Nara in Yuen Long and Avignon in Tuen Mun, have been pushed back from their original end-2010 target dates in reaction to the stamp-duty increases, says Cusson Leung, a Credit Suisse property analyst.

Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., the developer for both projects, is waiting on government approvals to begin marketing them, says spokeswoman Brenda Wong.

Some developers may decide to wait it out, too. "You're going to see them holding back a little until they can be sure of a sales strategy," Nomura's Mr. Louie says, adding they would have to lower prices 15%-20% to make it attractive enough for people to buy right now.

Representatives for Cheung Kong Holdings, Henderson Land Development Co., Swire Properties, Sun Hung Kai Properties and Kerry Properties declined to comment on their strategies in the wake of the new measures. According to a November Citigroup report, these developers have 16 projects in the pipeline for 2011.

At least one big developer hasn't had to make any decisions about coming projects for now, because it isn't expected to enter the market soon.

Barbara Ho, head of property sales for New World Development Co., says the company's next project isn't expected to come to market until next summer. "By that time, we will know whether people are buying," she says.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 05:00 PM   #30
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Construction nightmare in Mid-Levels Residents face never-ending pile-driving noise and dust amid building boom
11 February 2011
South China Morning Post

Roger Ho Yao-sang paces back and forth in his dining room. He packs a sandwich, a bottle of hot water and some medicine in a shopping bag as if preparing for a major hike.

Ho is about to go for his daily walk, a ritual since being discharged from hospital after an operation nearly two months ago. But although he lives in one of the most coveted areas of Hong Kong - Mid-Levels - he refuses to take that walk along his own Caine Road.

He wants to get away from the dust and noise, the traffic jams caused by trucks loading and unloading, the footpaths narrowed by construction material that take up half the walkway.

There is a building boom in Mid-Levels. And for the first time in 30 years, Ho feels deprived of a liveable environment.

"It is impossible to take a proper rest at home," says Ho, a 40-something author of books on heritage conservation. "It is too noisy here. Apart from the noise, the whole building is shaken by piling work. The park is a bit further away from the construction work. It is the only place where I can have peace.

"Whenever I am at home I feel like I am experiencing a minor earthquake."

Developers including Henderson Land, Swire Properties and Cheung Kong have eight projects in the works in the Caine Road, Seymour Road and Conduit Road neighbourhoods.

Prices of new projects continue to soar. Phoenix Property Investors, an investment fund, sold most of the flats at its Gramercy on Caine Road at an average of HK$19,000 per square feet in November. A month later, Swire Properties' Azura project fetched HK$21,500 to HK$24,700.

The construction won't end after these eight projects are finished. Developers are busy snapping up old buildings for at least six redevelopment projects. The Urban Renewal Authority is buying properties in Graham Street and Staunton Street. Henderson Land has an acquisition project in Robinson Road.

Never mind that the environment is deteriorating. Prices are still rising.

"Mid-Levels West is close to Central. Residents of Caine Road can go to Central on foot. It also has many elite schools. Therefore the neighbourhood is attractive for buyers," says Alnwick Chan Chi-hing, executive director at real estate firm Knight Frank.

While Ho chooses to escape to a nearby park, Katty Law Ngar-ning's solution is to keep the window closed.

"The living environment is worsening with so many developments and new ones under construction," Law says.

A long-time resident of Mid-Levels, Law formed the Central and Western Concern Group after watching the environment of the neighbourhood deteriorate.

"I considered leaving here but I would miss the neighbourhood if I left," she says. "My children also do not want to leave this place."

She believes redevelopment will still be going strong years from now, especially with a new law affecting buildings that are at least 50 years old. Developers can force the sale of remaining flats in a building once they have acquired 80 per cent of the property interests in it, down from the previous 90 per cent threshold.

"Demolition and construction will be never-ending. More old buildings will give way to high-rises and the road will be more congested."

Although the Town Planning Board imposed height restrictions in Mid-Levels in early 2008 to make redevelopment projects less lucrative, in 2007 developers rushed to get approval to build skyscrapers on Mid-Levels sites they did not fully own - partly spurring today's boom.

Swire Properties is building the 50-storey Azura in Seymour Road and two projects in Caine Road. Henderson Land is redeveloping Merry Terrace in Seymour Road. At 38 Caine Road, the Gramercy is being turned into ever-pricier flats. Down the road is another redevelopment combining the site of the former Grand Court and Kension Mansion.

Dr Hung Wing-tat, a transport expert at Polytechnic University, says the Transport Department should conduct a comprehensive study on traffic in Mid-Levels.

"Although developers have to conduct a traffic impact assessment, they are only responsible for providing an assessment of their own project. It is important to have a study on the cumulative impact of all the projects. But no one is doing it now."

Rebecca Ng, who lives in Conduit Road, says: "At least the government should make sure the pavement is not occupied by construction materials. The situation is dangerous. We are forced to compete with vehicles for space."
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Old May 8th, 2011, 09:50 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I'm seeing this rendering as well. Is it the same project?

image hosted on flickr


First posted by 鄧麗欣之戀 from skyscrapers.cn.
Seems like that's the latest rendering. It is seen on the sale brochure on the Swire website.

A boring design compared to the first rendering...
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Old June 29th, 2011, 04:49 AM   #32
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Home-buy hopefuls can take heart in rush
8 April 2011
The Standard

There is some good news for home buyers as developers prepare to put 11 residential projects on the market this month.

Kerry Properties (0683) will sell the first 50 of 968 flats at Lions Rise, a new residential project at Wong Tai Sin. Pricing is around HK$12,000 per square foot.

Despite promoting the project in the mainland, the developer expects 80 percent of the buyers to be end-users and the remainder investors from across the border.

Sensing the opportunity for a quick profit and after seeing some aggressive pricing at Lions Rise, around 10 percent of the home sellers nearby are hiking the prices of their flats by 3 to 5 percent, according to Midland Realty.

In Mid-Levels, meanwhile, Swire Properties listed 93 flats at Azura on Seymour Road for initial sale out of the 126 flats there. However, the developer managed to sell only 53 flats at an average price of HK$23,000 psf. The remaining 40 unsold flats are now priced at an average of HK$18,000 psf.

Swire said it has no plans to cut prices as the interest rate hike has not driven away potential buyers from the property market.

``After the hike, the interest rate is still low, and buyers are still looking at ways to spending their money,'' said Wendy Ho, senior sales manager of Swire Properties.


Another developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), plans to sell flats in its luxury Imperial Cullinan in West Kowloon by the end of this month.

The first batch of flats will have areas between 1,600 and 1,700 sq ft and be priced at around HK$20,000 psf.

The project has been marketed in the mainland and Hong Kong for the past two weeks. There have been more than 10,000 inquiries - 3,000 from Shenzhen and 7,000 from Hong Kong. The developer has also received around 1,000 inquiries from overseas buyers.

Out of a total of six towers, the developer plans to put the first two on sale.

Setting the stage for more action, the Lands Department has given its pre-sale consent to the Uptown project from Cheung Kong (0001) in Yuen Long.

Flat sales in Uptown can be expected to be under way before Easter. Four-room flats are being priced at a minimum HK$7 million, or HK$5,600 psf.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 03:01 PM   #33
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I did some quick research...

http://www.azura.com.hk/en/floorplan.php

Quote:
TYPICAL STOREY HEIGHT (FLOOR-TO-FLOOR HEIGHT) IS APPROXIMATELY 3.11M. FLOOR-TO-FLOOR HEIGHT REFERS TO THE HEIGHT BETWEEN THE TOP SURFACE OF THE STRUCTURAL SLAB OF A FLOOR AND THE TOP SURFACE OF THE STRUCTURAL SLAB OF ITS IMMEDIATE UPPER FLOOR.
THE INTERNAL CEILING HEIGHT WITHIN SOME UNITS MAY VARY DUE TO STRUCTURAL OR ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN REQUIREMENTS.
This one could very well break the 200m mark.

EDIT: http://www.azura.com.hk/document/spl...Brochure01.pdf

Height of entrance lobby (floor to ceiling): 4.3m
Floor height (Floor to Floor): 6-50/F (excluding refuge floor 27/F): 3.11m
51/F: 3.41m
52/F: 3.58m
53/F: 4.26m

Clubhouse: 3/F, 4/F, 5/F
Carpark: 1-3/F
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Last edited by HK999; September 7th, 2011 at 03:11 PM.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 08:18 PM   #34
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Look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_in_Hong_Kong

Someone on Wiki states a height of 211m, providing 4 sources. Could be true.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HK999 View Post
Look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_in_Hong_Kong

Someone on Wiki states a height of 211m, providing 4 sources. Could be true.
All 4 sources did not provide a final height figure.
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Old October 11th, 2011, 10:48 AM   #36
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By fatshe :
9/17

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Old March 31st, 2012, 04:34 PM   #37
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By fatshe on 3/31 :

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Old October 22nd, 2012, 06:09 AM   #38
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