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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:13 AM   #1
hkskyline
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HONG KONG | IFC North Facade Development | 30 fl | 18 fl | Pro

22,000 sign up to support IFC call to scrap harborfront building plan
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

IFC Development wants the government to keep a planned 18-story hotel and a 30-story commercial tower away from its doorstep in Central.

Backing its campaign are more than 22,000 signatures collected in just 40 days.

The structures would be built between the north facade of Two IFC and nearby ferry piers, and could block a third of its sea view from the ground floor up.

Recalling the government's 1996 vision for mega towers to adorn either side of the harbor as visual gates to Hong Kong, Central and Western District Council chairman and IFC Development owner's representative Chan Kam-fai said placing the two towers by Two IFC would diminish the building visual impact with the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon.

Despite comments on Saturday by Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor that the Central business district has a shortage of office space, Chan said the proposed towers could be relocated and that Hong Kong's reputation as a world city is at stake.

District council vice chairman Stephen Chan Chit- kwai said the government's proposal ran against public aspirations for a green, accessible, open and vibrant harborfront, and called for further development to move laterally. "When you head into the harborfront there is precious little to do other than work or shop. We need to return the harbor to the people and give them the venues and facilities they need to enjoy as a public space," he said.

With the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee taking in more public views at a meeting this Saturday, IFC Development has recommended scrapping the two proposed towers and a chain of small-scale commercial developments along the ferry piers, which it said would effectively privatize land that could be kept for public use.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 03:20 AM   #2
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A sensible balance needed in development
25 February 2009
South China Morning Post

It is not often that an opportunity arises to defend naked self-interest as in the public interest. The owners of the International Finance Centre complex in Central have been quick to take advantage. There is obvious self-interest in their argument for the preservation of public open space that gives their tenants unobstructed views of the harbour and Central ferry piers. A spokesman for the owners says they are doing it for "public benefit". There is room for debate, however, as to whether their opposition to development balances the public interest.

This newspaper has been a staunch defender of public access to the harbour and an advocate of more open space to enhance living and working environments. They are causes that have won wide support from the public. It matters little whether one developer or property owner gains at the expense of another. It does matter, though, that we strike a sensible balance between development and the environment.

The government proposes a 30-storey office block in front of Two IFC and an 18-storey office or hotel building next door. IFC Development's alternative plan for 9,600 square metres of public open space with fountains and festival squares, restaurants, bars and performance areas, connecting the central business district with the harbourfront, is a worthy idea. A Development Bureau spokesman pointed out that it had to be balanced against other needs, like the demand for more office space when the economy rebounds.

The courts have drawn a line against any further reclamation of the harbour. Ironically it is past reclamation that has created an opportunity to make something of this prime piece of harbourfront open space. Perhaps we should now be thinking of smaller buildings. It is worth recalling too that Two IFC and the International Commerce Centre opposite on the Kowloon side of the harbour were envisaged as iconic city pillars. A 30-storey building in front of the 88-storey Two IFC will distract from that vision. There is an argument therefore to think of more imaginative ways to realise the value of land without sacrificing public and visual access. After all, the government responded to public demand for a more vibrant streetscape in the Central reclamation by splitting large buildings into smaller blocks. The answer may lie in taking advantage of the large land area and IFC's high podium levels to achieve low-rise floor space, and devoting more space, including roof area, to public access.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #3
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減國金臨海地高度 多個政黨支持
19 August 2009
星島日報

對於港府研究將中環國金中心對出的臨海地皮的樓面面積,轉移至添馬艦旁邊,民主黨、公民黨及專業會議均表示贊成,認為回應市民對加強保護海港的訴求,民主黨及公民黨更要求政府進一步降低維港兩岸的樓宇高度。民建聯陳鑑林就質疑,政府有關做法是違反原有的規劃準則,必需要清楚解釋有關決定的理據及決策過程。

共建維港委員會就中環新海濱成立的專責小組,建議把國金中心對出的臨海地皮的樓宇高度,由三十層大幅降低至只有五層,並把有關總樓面面積轉移至金鐘添馬艦中信大廈旁的地皮;發展局局長林鄭月娥表示會積極探討建議的可行性。

立法會工程界議員何鍾泰及建築測量及都巿規劃界議員劉秀成均表示,不少市民都希望政府可以降低維港地區的樓宇高度,保障維港兩岸的山脊綫及有關地區的空氣流通,現時政府作出有關決定是回應市民有關訴求,顯示出政府有採納市民的意見。

回應市民保護海港

民主黨議員李永達則強調,過去政府一直強調中環一帶的甲級寫字樓供應不足,但政府決定在國金中心的樓宇高度降低,顯示出政府在土地政策上作出轉變,而保護海港的重要性超越土地供應。

他又指,目前九龍站一帶均有不少甲級寫字樓供應,因此他希望政府可以進一步調低,包括中信大廈旁地皮的樓宇建築高度。

公民黨陳淑莊則指,她與公民黨均支持政府可以減低維港兩岸的發展密度,但她質疑政府為何只降低國金中心對出地皮的樓宇高度,而非調低整個維港兩岸的樓宇高度。

民建聯陳鑑林則指,政府大幅降低國金中心對出的地皮的樓宇高度,將會令庫房減少大量的收入,令全港市民受損。

他又認為,在香港任何地方發展時,都會有不少聲音要求政府降低樓宇高度及地積比率,而政府早前經已就維港一帶的發展規劃有概定的原則及規劃,現時政府所作的決定是違反有關原則及規劃。因此他要求政府清楚解釋作出有關決定的理據及決策過程。
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Old September 10th, 2009, 05:45 PM   #4
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Old November 6th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #5
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Making up for lost space
4 November 2009
The Standard

Planners presented a fancy balancing act yesterday as they showed off revised plans for Hong Kong Island's prime harborfront.

A hotel and office complex that was to have featured on a reclaimed area in Central - in between Two IFC and the series of ferry piers - will be shifted to preserve outlooks.

The development with a gross floor area of 58,000 square meters will go instead on new land in Admiralty.

The change slots in nicely with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's much-vaunted pledge in his recent policy address to create a less crowded and green look in the business district.

And seeking to head off critics before they even warm to arguments that the change will simply mean that a gain for one group of harborsiders is another's loss, planners in the government's Development Bureau said the height of the hotel-office development will be restricted to 80 meters - from 13 to 17 stories - to protect views in Admiralty.

Even so, Society for Protection of the Harbour founder Winston Chu Ka- sun was quick off the mark with a warning that the plan will worsen traffic flow in the area and worsen air quality.

On that, bureau officials insisted an assessment showed the development will not create a traffic problem and claimed the harbor protection group was using outdated information.

So the plan for the switch goes to the Legislative Council on Monday, with the bureau pointing to it being based on three months of public consultations that ended in July last year.

A bureau spokesman also said the government is convinced there is demand for a new hotel even though there are already a number of luxury ones in Admiralty and Wan Chai North.

And instead of a high-rise look on the Central site in front of Two IFC, the government plans a public- private partnership model for a low-rise ``iconic'' development for dining, entertainment, retailing and exhibitions that will provide a gross floor area of 35,000 square meters _ a significant reduction from the original plan of 92,000 sq m.

It will include a six-story block and two two-story blocks, 1 additional commercial floors above Central Piers 4 to 6, a landscaped deck connecting the Central business district to the new harborfront and 1.7 hectares of public open space.

The private-sector partner will be expected to shoulder all construction and operating costs.

The additional commercial floors above the piers are to be undertaken as government public works, with an estimated cost of HK$236 million.

North of Statue Square, the government plans to reconstruct the old Star Ferry Clock Tower at its original location and build a HK$20 million gallery to exhibit items salvaged from the pier. Queens Pier will be reassembled between Central Piers 9 and 10 at a cost of HK$220 million.
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