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Old July 22nd, 2009, 03:17 PM   #21
hkskyline
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西環建鐵路發展商齊插旗
13 July 2009
星島日報

勾地困難,發展商紛紛到有潛力的地區覓地,推動發展商吸納土儲的信心,其中西環基於未來有港鐵概念,加上舊樓特別多,成為一眾發展商的目標,各大發展商紛紛於區內插旗,不斷併購舊樓。

西環大樓78%業權被收購

目前,區內最大型的收購活動相信是位於皇后大道西的西環大樓,「收樓大王」田生地產主席區永華早前更施展銀彈策略,向西環大樓小業主,每家每戶派五萬元,作為收購訂金,誘使他們出售物業,派錢行動亦甚見效,現時成功收購西環大樓逾七成八業權,預料短時間可望收購達八成五業權,該舊樓佔地近三萬方呎,現時是區內的核心地帶,隨着日後港鐵站出口於此落成,潛力更看高一綫。

雖然西環大樓背後的買家尚未揭盅,不過,一眾大大小小的發展商,亦早已進駐區內,看中港鐵西環綫即將落成,西環將成為商業核心區。當中,會德豐早前更申請卑路乍街四十六號地盤強拍,計畫發展作為住宅項目,新世界則持有毗鄰的四十二至四十四號地盤,計畫作住宅發展。

此外,英皇成功收購德輔道西舊樓及工廈各一幢,計畫發展酒店項目,遠東發展日前剛就西環山道九十至一百號寶山大廈,申請強制拍賣餘下三伙。

一家本地基金亦看準西環西環卑路乍街五十八號舊樓必發大廈,以約二億三千萬元收購逾九成業權,並即將申請強制拍賣。
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Old July 31st, 2009, 09:53 PM   #22
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Chinese herb garden to get HK$3.1m redesign
30 July 2009
South China Morning Post

A herb garden in Sheung Wan will be redesigned in a HK$3.1 million project to provide a better environment for Chinese species to grow.

Sanny Yeung Yuet-ming, a manager for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, said that the work was necessary to stop the herbs being flooded during the rainy season.

"The project aims at moving all herbs to the other side of the park near Bonham Strand West, as some of the herbs were washed away by heavy rain in August last year," she said. The department, which has sought the advice of experts in Chinese herbs, will put in perimeter fencing and a new pavilion.

The Chinese Herb Garden, costing HK$1.3 million, opened in 2007 as part of an Urban Renewal Authority project and is now the responsibility of the leisure department. The 1,300 square metre garden, in Queen Street, has about 100 species of Chinese herbs.

The department recently received complaints from the public that the vent system nearby had caused some herbs to wilt. Some herbs have also been stolen.

Wan Bien, 86, who has lived in the district for 40 years, said the smell from the vent made her uncomfortable. "There is often a scent of fried food coming out from the vent in the afternoon, and it is even worse when it is windy," she said.

The department said the vent system had no direct impact on the herbs. "The hot air released from the vent rises up, hence it will only affect tall trees near the vent."

Democrat Kam Nai-wai said the project was a waste of public money, at more than double the original construction costs. "The government should use the HK$3 million to renew the vent system instead of redesigning the garden," he said.

In response to complaints about the vent system, which is part of nearby Queen Street Cooked Food Market, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department promised to clean it every two weeks instead of every six.
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Old August 1st, 2009, 06:33 AM   #23
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Woods goes birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, to start round 2! Wow.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #24
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Poor leadership and bureaucracy blamed for project delays
10 August 2009
South China Morning Post

Pet lovers might be grateful to the harbour watchdog for setting up a dog park in Wan Chai, but older residents in Kennedy Town say they are still waiting for a promenade that will allow them to exercise.

The dog park on the Wan Chai waterfront and a promenade in West Kowloon - set up by the Harbour Front Enhancement Committee in its last term - had provided some cheer for the public.

But the two sites will soon be turned into construction sites, thanks to the Central and Wan Chai Bypass and the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

The dog park will close in December while construction of the arts hub begins in 2012. The committee had urged the government to revitalise sites in Kwun Tong, Hung Hom and North Point harbourfront, but none of them have materialised.

Ho Lee Siu-king, 60, of Kennedy Town, said she and her neighbours longed for a promenade so they could walk and exercise. She said they had been sneaking into the public cargo working area, which occupies the waterfront in Western District, to exercise every evening.

"We know it's dangerous to exercise around cargo, but we like the scenery overlooking the Tsing Ma Bridge." She said the seats next to the cargo area were always full.

Residents hope the half-vacant food wholesale market on the waterfront can be revitalised to provide resting areas and alfresco dining, and they want a harbour bicycle track.

Committee member Paul Zimmerman said poor leadership and departmental problems within the government had delayed waterfront plans.

"The Planning Department plans the waterfront but [it does not] implement," he said. "Unlike other cities which have mayors to direct city planning, Hong Kong has no boss to give directions to departments."

Committee members are not empowered to obtain staff and funding to commence a waterfront project, despite administrative support from the Development Bureau.

Members are often told that the body assigned to manage public parks - the Leisure and Cultural Services Department under the Home Affairs Bureau - has no resources to manage waterfront areas.

Mr Zimmerman said the committee had little influence on the government's waterfront projects. He said the accessibility of the new Central waterfront was still uncertain as it was occupied by the PLA berth and pump houses, while the future waterfront in Kai Tak - the old airport's runway - would be surrounded by roads. "You can just walk along these promenades. There won't be enough space for activities and alfresco dining," he said, adding that roads were hidden from the waterfront in Vancouver and Singapore.

Another committee member, Nicholas Brooke, said: "Despite the difficulties, the committee established a set of harbour planning principles and gave directions to the Kai Tak project."

The committee was not empowered to co-ordinate departments, he said, adding that a more powerful body should be set up to oversee waterfront areas. The committee will advise the government next week that the 56-year-old Queen's Pier should be put back at its original location to maintain its historical connection with City Hall and Edinburgh Place. It was dismantled in 2007 and is now in storage until it can be rebuilt - at its original site or between Central Pier No 9 and No 10, where it would function as a public pier again.

A spokeswoman for the Development Bureau said roads of more than 10 to 17 metres wide were planned in some sections of the Kai Tak runway but the government would enhance pedestrian access and bring vibrancy to the 20-metre wide waterfront.

Pump houses in the future Central waterfront would be built underground.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 07:04 PM   #25
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Harborfront style
The Standard
Thursday, November 19, 2009



Take in spectacular harbor views, as aqua-toned walls reflecting the colors of the water transport you to a realm of total bliss.

Sounds like a dream? It can come true if you check into the Le Rivage, a newly built boutique hotel apartment in Western District.

The property was unveiled last month by developer National Properties, whose highly acclaimed previous venture - The Putman - opened in 2007.

This is the company's second collaboration with legendary French designer Andree Putman.

National Properties managing director Loewe Lee said: "Our company is passionate about offering world-class architecture and design to Hong Kong. Le Rivage is a testament to our vision in providing this new concept to all the developments that we create."

Le Rivage sits on a spectacular waterfront in Western District, allowing guests to take in the magnificence of Victoria Harbour through the wide windows of its 50 bespoke suites.

Designed as an urban oasis in the bustling metropolis, each apartment has a generous 1,000 square feet of living space and boasts a private lobby and entrance.

Two apartments on the third floor extend this uncompromising luxury by including a private terrace and a garden.

Featuring an open-plan design, the apartments have high ceilings and a chic natural decor featuring Putman's signature style and creating a sense of warmth and comfort.

Shades of blue and white are used to pay homage to the harbor. This color scheme is seen throughout the apartm
ents, and the mosaic-tiled bathroom, in particular, echoes the glittering water.

Clever storage solutions, like a work desk with concealed drawers and beds with cabinets underneath, keep the interiors sleek and neat.

Aside from a minimalist overall design, the apartments come with sumptuous Frette bedding and Simmons mattresses, both emphasizing quality and timeless elegance.

Other mod cons offered include a Toshiba 42-inch TV, an iPod dock, broadband internet connection and a versatile kitchen.

A 24-hour concierge service and daily housekeeping make Le Rivage living hassle-free.

A fully equipped gym, a business center and a spacious rooftop sundeck with barbecue facilities are some added attractions.

Just a stroll away from Shun Tak Macau Ferry Terminal and conveniently close to the CBD and the Airport Express station, the entertainment hub of Lan Kwai Fong and fine-dining zone SoHo, Le Rivage offers the executive and the expatriate fast access to both work and the city's vibrant nightlife.

Residents will also be served by a complimentary shuttle service between the property and IFC on weekday mornings.

Le Rivage
Address 138 Connaught Road West, Western District, Hong Kong
Enquiries 3607-3388/[email protected]
Website http://www.lerivage.hk
Developer National Properties
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Old January 18th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #26
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42-44 Belcher's Street, Western District - Belcher's Hill

By fatshe taken on 1/12 :





GFA 121,754 sq ft, 156 units
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Old February 1st, 2010, 05:32 PM   #27
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Belcher's Hill snapped up in 2 days
The Standard
Monday, February 01, 2010









New World Development (0017) sold around 80 percent of the homes at Belcher's Hill in Sai Wan - the first major project put on the market in two months - within two days of the launch.

The developer raised prices slightly, said Jeff Lau Chung-leung, a senior manager in sales and marketing.

Most of the 116 homes on offer were sold, but some flats on the lower and upper floors are still available, he noted.

There are 152 apartments in the single-building project. Lau said the developer will put more homes on the market given the satisfactory sales.

New World launched eight more homes late yesterday afternoon.

The most expensive unit sold is a 964-square-foot home that fetched HK$12.6 million. At HK$13,093 per square foot, it was 55 percent above the average of HK$8,432 psf for the first batch of 32 flats. Lau said 70 percent of homebuyers are from Hong Kong Island.

The largest single transaction involved only two apartments because homes were allocated by drawing lots, he said. The developer did not sell any duplex or triplex apartments, but said on Saturday that the most expensive units in these categories will command more than HK$20,000 psf.

Meanwhile, Kerry Properties (0683) opened the show room of Island Crest in Sai Ying Pun to property agents. Midland director Jeffrey Ng Chong-yip said the successive launches of two nearby projects are good for the market.

"In the past few months the focus was on the secondary market. Some homeowners, especially those of smaller homes, asked for higher prices," he said.

"With the new projects now, there is a market reference for secondary home prices, so we cansee a slowdown [in the secondary market]."

As Belcher's Hill absorbed some purchasing power, secondary home transactions at three major Hong Kong Island estates fell 35.7 percent to just nine over the weekend, Midland said.

Three flats were sold in Tai Koo Shing, down from seven in the previous weekend while four homes were sold in South Horizons versus six a week ago.

Transactions at four major Kowloon estates was up 18.2 percent to 26, while those at three New Territories estates went down 15.4 percent to 33.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:50 PM   #28
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Please note : You can continue to track Belchers Hill's progress in the following new thread :

HONG KONG | Belchers Hill | 48 fl |160m+| U/C
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Old February 20th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #29
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2/16

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Old August 5th, 2010, 06:17 PM   #30
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URA invites bids for Sai Ying Pun site
23 July 2010
The Standard

The Urban Renewal Authority has invited firms to apply to redevelop a 23,143-square-foot site in Sai Ying Pun.

The site, bordering Third Street and Centre Street, may provide a total gross floor area of 177,175 sq ft, mainly for residential use, the URA said.

It intends to provide about 270 homes, including a large number of units smaller than 500 sq ft.

Judging from the URA and Kerry Properties' (0683) Island Crest nearby, smaller homes could potentially cost buyers more per square foot.

Comparable homes at the redevelopment project in First Street and Second Street were sold for just above HK$14,000 to around HK$18,000 psf early this year, higher than units of about 800 sq ft, said Hong Kong Property sales manager Anthony Wong. ``Small units involve small lump-sums and have good rental yield,'' Wong said, noting the supply of these units is low in the district.

The URA said it also plans to re-use a pair of existing tenement buildings as public open space.

Interested parties have to prove development experience and financial capability, and submit expressions of interest by July 30.

Meanwhile, URA chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen noted criticism of excessively large bay windows at Lime Stardom, co-developed with Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), and said the issue would be discussed with the Development Bureau. He personally supports a cap on size.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:26 PM   #31
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Owners protest over payouts as buildings are torn down for MTR
16 June 2010
South China Morning Post





The owners of two buildings being demolished to make way for construction of the MTR West Island Line in Sai Ying Pun staged a protest yesterday seeking more compensation.

About 30 mostly elderly owners and residents of Tai Shing House and No2 and No4 of Tsz Mi Alley blocked a lane of Queen's Road West for six hours. They demanded Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng explain how their payouts - which they said were much lower than the market price - had been calculated.

But Cheng did not make an appearance because she is on leave.

Among the protesters was Lee Hui, 70, who owns an 800-square-foot flat in the Tai Shing building, with four rooms that he previously leased to tenants. He was offered HK$2.6 million in compensation, but Hui said it was not enough to cover the cost - HK$5,000 to HK$6,000 per square foot - of buying another flat of similar size in the district.

Lee, who has a chronic illness, depended on rental income from the unit to pay for his medical expenses. He said he had not received any rent from tenants since October 18 last year, when authorities claimed his flat as government property and put a stop to leasing.

He said officials seized his flat before he could agree with the department over compensation. "They damaged the lock, broke into my flat and locked all four rooms - but I have not received a single cent," he said.

He also said it was unfair that his flat, which he unknowingly bought for commercial use, was not eligible for an exgratia allowance.

The allowance, called a home purchase allowance, is granted only to owners of flats for residential use to make up the difference between the property's market value and that of a seven-year-old flat of similar size and in a similar locality.

Leung Kit-chen, a 58-year-old cleaner who bought a 650-square-foot flat for her son on Tsz Mi Alley, was also at the protest. Leung said she had also unknowingly bought her flat for commercial use and been offered HK$1.58 million in compensation. She said it was unfair that the owner of another flat of similar size in the same building received HK$3.3 million in compensation because they were offered a residential contract and received the allowance.

But even those who received the allowance said it was not enough to buy a seven-year-old flat. Lee Mei-fong, 43, daughter of the owner of a 400-square-foot flat, said she had been offered HK$2.2 million compensation, including a HK$900,000 allowance. "It was not enough to even buy a bathroom," she said, adding that she was asking for HK$7,000 to HK$8,000 per square foot.

She said the department had not negotiated individual payouts with owners and she did not know how the compensation was calculated.

Legislative Councillor Cyd Ho Sau-lan said the Transport and Housing Bureau had refused to offer flats in public estates or under the home ownership scheme for rehousing, saying there was no such rule.

About 20 owners met two Lands Department surveyors last night, but did not agree on the payouts.
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Old August 31st, 2010, 04:25 AM   #32
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Work to start at Sheung Wan MTR
The Standard
Friday, August 27, 2010



Construction work is due to start tomorrow at Sheung Wan MTR station as it prepares to become part of the planned West Island Line.

In an HK$80 million upgrade, the station will be converted from a terminus to an intermediate station upon the 2014 completion of the extended line, which will connect Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town.

Passengers are warned to expect inconvenience with the closure of most of the eastern concourse and the switching of services between platforms during construction, which is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The works will include a series of new and upgraded facilities for passengers. The station's eastern concourse will be enlarged and relaid to create more space and wider corridors will facilitate passenger flow.

On the operational front, new tracks, overhead lines and signaling will be installed.

For the comfort of passengers, toilets will be built and two new passenger lifts installed.

The new customer service center, of an open design, will be located at a more central location on the concourse.

The directional flow of escalators will also be changed to match the new route.

The station's other concourse, which is used by the bulk of passengers, will not be affected by the works.

Choi Tak-tsan, head of operations at MTR Corp, assured passengers that they will still get to their destinations on time.

While construction is taking place, dust and noise will be kept to a minimum, Choi said.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 06:55 AM   #33
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Tunnel vision spurs council to dig deep
9 July 2010
The Standard

A HK$3 million scheme was launched yesterday to subsidize the hiring and training of new tunnel workers for MTR contractors.

The scheme, run jointly by the Construction Industry Council and the MTR Corp, involves a three-week full-time course and eight weeks of on-the-job training.

Advanced courses for shotfirers, tunnel-boring machine drivers, fitters and mechanics and drilling rig operators will also be launched.

The council will shoulder part of the salary of new workers and provide MTR contractors necessary training staff and facilities, council director Charles Wong Doon-yee said.

``The amount of subsidy will be based on the scale of the projects and the types of construction works,'' said Wong, who added that local workers stand to benefit from the scheme.

Projects such as the West Island Line, South Island Line (East), Guangzhou- Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, Sha Tin to Central Link and Kwun Tong Line Extension will need well- trained workers, according to MTR project manager James Chow So-hung.

At least 1,200 shotfirers and 400 tunnel-boring machine operators are expected to be required by 2013.
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Old September 30th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #34
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MTR trumpets muffled blasts
The Standard
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MTR Corp has adopted a new method to suppress noise and vibrations during tunnelling work for the West Island Line.

Instead of using sandbags and tires to cover the explosives, the 60-meter shaft is filled with water to 1.5 meters deep to contain the blasting shocks.

The shaft is in the King George V Memorial Park above the future station at Sai Ying Pun.

"It is the first time for Hong Kong to have water as the blast ballast in a vertical construction shaft," senior construction engineer Walter Lam Wai-tak said.

"This new technology can significantly reduce noise and vibration caused by the blasting in the densely populated district."

Lam said it costs about the same as the conventional means for constructing the four- stop West Island Line, which extends the existing Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town.

"We usually measure the disturbance of vibration caused by blasting in terms of particle velocity," said Yang Jun, an earthquake geotechnical engineering assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong.

"The corporation must have adopted a stringent standard on controlling noise and vibration levels at a site that is surrounded by residential blocks."

The underground blasting in the park began in early August and is expected to finish next month.

Explosions are expected two or three times a week.

To further reduce the nuisance to the district, Lam said the whole process is carried out inside a HK$10 million enclosure that can reduce noise by 30 decibels.

A resident surnamed Lee, who lives in Ko Nga Court next to the site, said the two- second blasting is hardly noticeable.

"I only feel a minor vibration when it takes place early in the morning," she said.

MTRC construction engineer Anson Cheung Chun-hoo said the corporation studied examples in Britain and South Africa, and may apply the same method to other work if it needs to vertically blast through solid rock such as granite.

Last year the Executive Council approved HK$15.4 billion for the Island Line extension, which is due to be completed in 2014.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 05:55 AM   #35
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Changing faces, changing fortune
2 November 2010
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

Located west of Central and in between Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town, Sai Ying Pun is one of the oldest parts of Hong Kong Island - and one of the most rapidly changing. Martine Beale reports.

Sai in Cantonese means "west" and Ying Pun means "military camp". In all probability the name Sai Ying Pun derives from a fortification set up by notorious pirate Chang Po Tsai around 1806. It also relates to the encampment set up by the British Military in 1841.

It was the British Military together with Bengali volunteers and Chinese immigrants who constructed an intelligent grid pattern of roads, as well as sewage systems and some of its buildings.

During construction, a lack of shelter and desperation to protect against the elements meant that dug-out trenches and open-land fast filled with rain-water, something that became a perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and malaria. As the population grew and sanitation remained poor diseases were commonplace and widespread. The area was hit by an epidemic of small pox in 1888 and the Bubonic Plague in 1894.

In the 1940s, the Japanese launched heavy bomb attacks leaving many people dead. In short, Sai Ying Pun was then one of the most unhealthy and unsafe places to live in.

"In those childhood days we used to play in the King George V Memorial Park and would often tell each other that we were playing on the bones of the dead," Patrick says.

The man who was born and raised in the area works in the Sai Ying Pun Market Complex. "Many soldiers were buried there. We were really scared of that spooky building which we called a 'crazy people's house' full of ghosts. No one would dare step into it," Patrick reminisces.

The building he talks about has come to be known as the Sai Ying Pun Community Complex which is located on High Street and the corner of Eastern Street. Constructed in 1891, the only surviving features of its haunted past are its granite facade and arched verandas.

Near the building is a slope that runs right down from Bonham Road to Connaught Road near the harbor-front. "Eastern Street used to have lots of old squatter shops selling all sorts of stuff like brooms made from old coconut shells," Patrick says.

Hints of changes are broad and clear. Centre Street, that runs parallel to Eastern Street will soon have an escalator much like the one in Central and it will join the other side of an escalator at Sai Ying Pun Market, and run from Third Street up the hill to Bonham Road.

"Back in the 70s Centre Street was lined with Dai Pai Dongs and coffee shops. It was really unusual to see any foreigners then. They didn't live around here. But that's all changed. In fact, I would say it is the biggest change," he says.

Brooke, a native of the US's New Mexico and her English husband moved to Sai Ying Pun two years ago. They live in a row of old terrace houses in Tak Sing Lane. "The plans to the building say it was rebuilt in 1950, but I think it's older, maybe 1920s or 30s," she tells me.

"After we got it, it took a year to renovate. I knew I wanted to keep the old facade and style because it's so unusual, and adds character. I love my house, and it's my home."

Not only the house, Brooke has also fallen in love with the area. "Sai Ying Pun was a military camp when the streets were perfectly aligned. So I can see the whole of IFC Tower when looking down Second Street towards Central and the harbor when I gaze down Centre Street. I guess once the MTR is built, we'll see more little shops."

Scheduled to open in 2014, construction for the MTR's West Island Line has commandeered part of the King George V Memorial Park for tunneling, and several more sites have been set up for ventilation shafts, entrances, and the storage of construction equipment. It is having a vast, and fast, impact on the area.

Just over two years ago Kerry Properties cleared several blocks along Second Street to make way for two huge apartment blocks. Comprised of 488 residential units with three top floor duplexes, and a clubhouse, Island Crest has brought loads of luxury to the area.

Queens Road has had three enormous construction sites in separate locations. And more recently, an entire row of old Chinese style houses, some of which date back to 1909, located just off Centre Street in Yu Lok Lane, were demolished by the Urban Renewal Authority. And there are plenty more empty blocks waiting to be torn down.

"Construction in the area is going on in full swing," says property consultant Linda Lau. "The prices have skyrocketed over the past two years, and that's due largely to the upcoming MTR."

"When it comes to buying property, it's always going to be the older locals who get there first", she says. "But they sell it fast and make a quick profit. We call them 'chau-gah' or 'quick-fry investors'. Expats usually prefer older buildings which they renovate and wait for buyers, chiefly property developers or the government. Prices will keep rising."

Jasper Wong from the Above Second Gallery agrees. "MTR will definitely benefit the area, but at the same time rent costs higher. And that's certainly a huge deterrent for people like us," he says.

The gallery moved to the area in February this year because it was a cheaper proposition than Central. "We also felt that Central and Sheung Wan were too heavily saturated with galleries that only displayed mainland art and made no effort to promote local emerging artists".

Des Vouex Road West is lined with myriad shops selling dried stuff, and the streets running off it have long been dotted with small, independent shops selling everything from fresh meats, vegetables and noodles, to dried and tinned goods, as well as those that sell Indian, Thai and Philipino products.

Now a new breed is starting to move in, like the MiniMart, which opened on Third Street in February this year. "I really love the friendly vibe and old ambience in this place," says owner Brian Chung. "My customers can park right outside the shop. Rent here is also much cheaper than in Wan Chai or Happy Valley".

A small Spanish delicatessen specializing in dried meats, Pata Negra House opened in July on Second Street. Manager Tristan Saintraymond explains lower rents were also an attraction. "The area also has a history of dried foods and meats. We get more local customers than westerners, but maybe that will change as Island Crest becomes more crowded."

No bars or trendy new restaurants have yet moved into the area but as the area becomes more gentrified, with new residential buildings, galleries and specialist shops that will no doubt attract a more moneyed crowd, that's likely to happen very soon.

Besides, we've seen SoHo deflate and NoHo become so-so. Now all eyes are turning west to Sai Ying Pun, and the next big thing; WoHo.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 05:42 PM   #36
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Blend of East meets West lures new breed
Sheung Wan remade by rapid gentrification

9 March 2011
South China Morning Post

Living in Sheung Wan for more than two decades, Karen Lee Ka-man witnessed its gradual gentrification from an old residential district into one of fashionable offices and eateries.

"I have seen the old housing blocks that were occupied mainly by locals being renovated and coffee shops and Western gourmet restaurants opening up all over the district. The character of the area has changed," she said.

Lee, who lived in the area for most of her 29 years, said the changes had not all been for the better. "It was a district with distinctive old architecture in which lived mainly local people. Now it's more commercial, with more serviced apartments, boutique hotels and Western restaurants, which have attracted more expatriates and young people."

The price of this progress was that Sheung Wan had become more crowded, polluted and costly to live in, she said, so she and her retired parents decided to move to Tseung Kwan O three years ago.

The family sold their Sheung Wan flat at that time for about HK$4 million, which was nearly triple what they paid for it two decades earlier, Lee said. It was now valued at closer to HK$5 million.

Located between Sai Ying Pun and Central, Sheung Wan is close to the expensive residential area of Mid-Levels and is benefitting from its proximity to the upmarket area.

Redevelopment in the district has transformed many tenement buildings into boutique hotels and luxury flats, among which is the Hotel de EDGE by Rhombus on Connaught Road West, scheduled to open in the middle of this month.

"The renovations and redevelopment have boosted the quality and value of the flats there," Midland Realty Mid-Levels sales director Patrick Fung Kim-chiu said.

Fung said that before 1997, buyers showed only lukewarm interest in flats in the walk-up tenement buildings in the area and they were priced up to 40 per cent lower than flats in buildings with a lift. Now they sold at similar prices.

"The upgrading of the area has attracted some quality residents, including expatriates, to move in," he said. "There is also demand from those whose flats have been sold to developers for redevelopment, as they like the neighbourhood."

Alan Lo Yeung-kit, co-founder and executive director of development company Blake's, said Sheung Wan had turned into the city's unofficial art and culture hub, which attracted his company to acquire a building at the west end of Hollywood Road and turn it into an upscale residential development.

The flats in the TwoTwoSix project sold for HK$14,759 to HK$18,359 per square foot at the end of last year, which was a record high for western Sheung Wan, he said.

Also attracted to the area by its blend of East meets West and old and modern was street artist Dom Chan, co-founder of two-member art crew Start From Zero, which opened its first store selling streetwear and exhibiting art in quiet Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, in December.

"At first we were thinking about premises in Central but the rent there was too expensive," Chan said. He could save about one-third on rent by choosing a spot in Sheung Wan instead.

He pays nearly HK$14,000 a month to rent the 400 sq ft Sheung Wan store.

He appreciated the variety of things the district offered, citing Hollywood Road as an example of the area's eclectic mix, with shops selling coffins, paintings and antiques.

Simon Lo Wing-fai, director of research and advisory at property agency Colliers International, said local retailers were facing greater competition for retail space because of rising inflation and aggressive rent increases.

"As a result, they are migrating to second-tier locations in key shopping districts from core shopping areas," he said.

Data from the firm shows average rents for ground-floor shops in core shopping areas such as Central, Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui increased by 5.3 per cent in the final quarter of last year.

Lo said the sharp increase in store rents was due to double-digit growth in retail sales and leasing demand from international brand names.

Given sustained economic growth and an anticipated increase in inbound visitors, he expects rents for ground-floor shops in traditional shopping districts to rise a further 20 per cent over the next 12 months.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 06:53 PM   #37
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Flavours of the west end
Reasonable rents and the upcoming extension of the MTR are turning Kennedy Town into a prime area for pioneering restaurateurs
17 March 2011
South China Morning Post

Until a couple of years ago, Kennedy Town was a neighbourhood that resisted gentrification. The dining choices were mostly Cantonese restaurants, noodle and siu mei [roast meat] shops and cha chaan teng.

However, upmarket new residential developments such as the Merton and Manhattan Heights, and news that the MTR West Island line is to pass through the district, has led an influx of new restaurants, particularly on Davis Street, near the Kennedy Town Praya and the Davis Street Garden.

Marc Mostacci, for instance, opened Italian restaurant Zig Zag on Davis Street two years ago. Also owner of the Beach Club in Stanley, Mostacci says he was drawn to the neighbourhood because of the water. "There's the sea - the Beach Club is also on top of the beach. And I like space."

The Beach Club is known for its thin-crusted pizza, and Mostacci sticks to the winning formula, serving the same menu at Zig Zag. They make their own dough, use fresh tomatoes for their sauce, and top the pizza with three different cheeses - mozzarella, asiago and parmesan, imported weekly from Italy, along with fresh basil from Thailand.

The 64-year-old Frenchman says the relatively low rent on Davis Street allows him to maintain a high quality by making almost everything in-house, except for the cheese fondue, which is imported from Switzerland.

"There's a market for Western-style restaurants, but those you find in Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo are very expensive. Here, customers spend on average HK$150, and 95 per cent of my customers are regulars."

The street has attracted other small, self-owned food and beverage businesses, rather than fast food franchises and places opened by restaurant groups. They include Harbour Restaurant, which serves Chinese seafood, several pubs such as The Pier, and a small hole-in-the-wall pizza place, Pizza Q.

Chef and restaurateur David Lai is the newest kid on the block, with his French bistro, Bistronomique, which he opened in January.

Lai was attracted to Davis Street because "it's a real neighbourhood with unique character. We like to be where we have regular customers; here, we get a lot of people who live in the neighbourhood, and customers living in Pok Fu Lam or Cyberport, where there are virtually no restaurants of this type," he says. "Business-wise, it makes a lot of sense because it's quite wide open in terms of supply and demand."

Lai says that it wasn't just the relatively low rent that attracted him to Davis Street; he also likes it because the neighbourhood isn't well known.

"If you're not in an independent area, you don't get the good customers," says Lai, who also owns the two-year-old On Lot 10 on Gough Street.

"People go to Lan Kwai Fong to get drunk, have some snacks on the street and watch people. Same as on Wyndham Street. In SoHo, you have Greek, Italian and French restaurants, but they're all fake. They [only] have good interior designers."

Bistronomique is basic and relaxed, decorated with white tablecloths, beige chairs and wooden wall panels, and with a menu of casual bistro fare. Lai, who worked at fine-dining restaurants in San Francisco and Monaco (including Alain Ducasse's Michelin three-star Le Louis XV), says he's not attempting to reinvent dishes, but updating classics.

"There used to be a time when you mentioned French food and people would think about fine-dining and of 10-course, fancy presentations, silver platters and so on. But the format of fine dining at very expensive hotels doesn't make much sense any more.

"Most of my cooks are trained in fine dining, and I worked for Alain Ducasse for seven years, so we have the techniques and the good products to make similar food. But we're able to do it in a casual atmosphere with simpler presentation, which keeps the food real and the prices low."

Lai sources ingredients through daily visits to the wet market, where he's established relationships with fish vendors who save him the freshest of local catches. As at On Lot 10, the Bistronomique chefs make rabbit rillettes, blood sausage and other hearty dishes, including tęte de cochon - a large "sausage" of tongue, ears, cheek meat and other "parts" of a pig's head which is cooked and chilled, then sliced and pan-fried before being served with sauce gribiche - a cold egg and herb sauce. "These are very traditional dishes," Lai says. "A lot of places are too lazy to make them or don't know how to make them. At a lot of French [restaurants] all they make is steak with fries or mussels with white wine - these dishes take no work, they don't take any technique."

Steps away from Bistronomique is Xiao Tian Gu, a hip and casual place that serves traditional Chinese desserts with a Japanese touch. Actress-turned-restaurateur Jo Kuk Cho-lam opened Xiao Tian Gu two years ago, following the success of the first branch on School Street in Tai Hang.

Kuk is proud of her steamed milk and egg white pudding. She uses Hokkaido milk for a stronger taste and smoother texture. Her other tong shui are made the old-fashioned way. "We make our sweet soups using the oldest methods. We grind our own black sesame, almonds and cashews, and do everything in-house. We've tried making the [nut] pastes by using [prepared] powder but can't bear [the taste] so we stick to doing it the old way. I'm grateful my staff would rather do the work than sacrifice quality to price."

While she thinks that Davis Street's laid-back environment makes it a great place for families, Kuk anticipates a more vibrant feel when the MTR Island line extends to Kennedy Town in a few years.

"The district has potential, but the challenge now is that most customers are from the neighbourhood. Competition may bring more people here. Davis Street is a bit like SoHo at the start: people knew Lan Kwai Fong well, but had no idea what was on offer a little farther away."
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Old May 10th, 2011, 06:37 PM   #38
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Kennedy Town Swimming Pool











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Old May 21st, 2011, 08:25 AM   #39
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Kennedy Town Swimming Pool to open for public use
Monday, May 9, 2011
Government Press Release





The new Kennedy Town Swimming Pool will be partially open for public use starting from May 11 (Wednesday). Under the management of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the public are welcome to come and enjoy the fun of swimming.

To facilitate the construction of the West Island Line, the old Kennedy Town Swimming Pool was demolished and the new swimming pool complex built at No 2 Sai Cheung Street North in Kennedy Town, next to Belcher Bay Park. The new site is accessible by bus, mini-bus or tram.

Occupying an area of about 0.8 hectare, the construction of the new swimming pool complex involves two phases. The first phase of the works – the construction of an outdoor secondary pool and leisure pool – has been completed and the facilities will be open for public use from this Wednesday. The second phase of the works, scheduled to be completed in 2016, will include the provision of a multi-purpose pool, a teaching pool and a jacuzzi.

The new complex is uniquely designed so that the public can enjoy a fabulous view of Victoria Harbour from the swimming pool.

The pool is open daily from 6.30am to 10pm in three sessions during the summer (from April to October). It is closed between 10am and 5pm every Wednesday for weekly cleansing, and reopens at 6pm on the same day.

For details on the pool, please visit the department's website (www.lcsd.gov.hk) or call our pool staff at 2817 7973 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 2817 7973 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

The LCSD urges swimmers to keep public swimming pools clean and hygienic while they are having fun. If swimmers feel unwell, they should not swim. They are advised to use the toilet before swimming and not urinate or defecate in the pools. They should leave the water immediately and use the toilet if they want to vomit. They should wear clean swimsuits. Before entering the pool deck, swimmers should shower in the changing room, and walk through the shower bath and footbath.
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Old February 5th, 2012, 06:53 PM   #40
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189 Queen's Road West
Soho 189

Scheduled Occupancy - Q4 2012
1 Tower of 32 stories from 6-42/F, skipping 13, 14, 24, 34/F

2/5







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