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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Full steam ahead for factory plans
Ng Kang-chung
18 May 2005
South China Morning Post

Developers are expected to speed up the pace of redeveloping industrial properties as the real estate market improves, industry commentators say.

Property consultants said many developers had obtained government approval to turn factory buildings into offices and hotels following the relaxation in recent years of planning rules on industrial land use.

But not many developers had started redeveloping as the market had been slow in the past few years, said Wayal Chiu Wai-hung, director of Colliers International's industrial and office division.

These projects would get under way as the market picked up, while the number of rezoning applications would increase.

Twelve applications for change in usage of industrial property were approved in 2003, according to Colliers International, but only a few were being rebuilt.

CB Richard Ellis research showed that at least 12 applications were submitted or received approval between January 2004 and March this year. Seven sought permission to build hotels.

Two of them are in Wong Chuk Hang, traditionally regarded as an industrial district. The district's easy accessibility to tourist destinations such as Ocean Park, the floating restaurant and Repulse Bay makes it a good location for hotels.

The remaining five projects are in Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung, Kwun Tong and Lai Chi Kok.

Alvan Chan, a sales director in Midland Realty's industrial and commercial department, said: "There is obviously much room for expansion for middle-range hotels in these [industrial] areas."

He said factory prices were rising fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
New use for old Yau Tong block
An entrepreneur with a grand retail plan shows the way to transforming aged and redundant industrial buildings for profit
Peggy Sito
18 May 2005
South China Morning Post

A Hong Kong businessman plans to spend $500 million transforming an old and abandoned factory block in Yau Tong, Kowloon, into an exhibition centre and a retail tower.

The project reflects the growing interest entrepreneurs are showing in development options for industrial spaces that have become redundant.

When Hong Kong industrialists started to shift operations to the mainland in the '80s, many industrial premises built during the manufacturing boom fell vacant.

Eddy Li Sau-hung, managing director of watchmaking company Campell International, plans to turn the 13-storey factory block into a theme centre. He bought the premises 18 months ago for $148 million.

The retail tower will sell Hong Kong-made furniture, houseware and kitchenware to local shoppers and overseas merchandisers.

Mr Li, who is also president of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Association, said he hoped the concept would inspire other manufacturers wondering how best to utilise their redundant industrial properties. He said the popularity of the concept, and how widely it was embraced by other industrialists, would depend on the government's readiness to help.

He has called for a further relaxation of planning regulations and a subsidy to cover land premium expenses incurred by changing the use of land.

The Rating and Valuation Department recorded 17.48 million square metres of industrial stock at the end of last year, 41.6 per cent of it in buildings built before 1980.

In recent years the government has been creating opportunities for the alternative usage of industrial land by rezoning surplus industrial land for business use and for conversion into office, hotel, residential development and community facilities. There are 30 hectares of surplus industrial land, mainly in Tsing Yi.

The government has also suggested other new uses for industrial buildings, such as turning them into public entertainment venues and education centres. Permission to make these changes is granted by the Town Planning Board.

The government was also looking at residential possibilities for old industrial buildings, such as the creation of loft-type developments.

But Mr Li pointed out that these ideas came from the government and not from industrialists.

"Not all manufacturers want to sell their properties for redevelopment," he said. "Some have plans to keep them to expand their own businesses."

Mr Li expected his theme centre concept to go down well with most people; it was a way to use obsolete industrial properties and help manufacturers to generate business in Hong Kong.

Mr Li will spend more than $300 million on renovation and the land premium for changing the property's usage. The retail centre is scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year.

A senior government official said any suggestion that added to the options for using traditional industrial space was always welcome. She stressed, however, that rules could not be relaxed overnight. Creating an exhibition centre or a factory outlet automatically increased the volume of human traffic, and this in turn meant reviewing areas such as safety measures and transport planning, she said.

"A land premium is charged when the value of a property increases after its usage has changed. A special concession to industrialists would not be fair to other property players," she said.

Wayal Chiu Wai-hung, director of the industrial and office department at Colliers International, said old factory blocks were usually owned by several landlords, and getting them all to agree on a single proposal was not always easy.

He said the demand for modern industrial buildings with good facilities and strong transport networks was on the rise. For example, many buildings in Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay had been slated for development as office or hotel properties.

One drawback with traditional industrial space was that many of the buildings were constructed decades ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Allocation of land in industrial estates
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Government Press Release

Following is a question by Dr Hon Lui Ming-wah and a reply by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, in the Legislative Council today (May 25):

Question:

Some factory operators have reflected to me that the prices of factory buildings in industrial estates are excessively high. It is not uncommon for a factory building to be sold for tens of millions of dollars, which is beyond the means of ordinary businesses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the current vacancy rates of various industrial estates as well as the number and percentage of factory buildings which are being used for logistics operations instead of industrial production; and

(b) whether it will consider offering the factory buildings in industrial estates to factory operators under a "rent before purchase" option, so as to benefit more of them; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

Madam President,

In response to the Hon Lui's question, my reply is as follows:

(a) The three Industrial Estates (IE) located in Yuen Long, Tai Po and Tsueng Kwan O are run by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC). Unleased land accounts for 4.3 per cent, 6.1 per cent and 51 per cent of the available land in the three respective IEs. At present, two factory buildings are used for logistics operations, which account for 1.4 per cent of all the enterprises in the three IEs.

(b) Apart from land sales, HKSTPC will consider allocating vacant factory buildings for lease or for sale, when, for example, some admitted enterprises surrender the land together with the factory buildings to HKSTPC. Any request for "rent before purchase" may also be considered in order to benefit more enterprises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Chow seeks change in factory land use
Hong Kong Standard
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Liberal party lawmaker Selina Chow Liang Suk-yee will propose a motion before the Legislative Council urging the government to transform vacant factory buildings into cultural and commercial hubs.

Chow will urge the government Wednesday to review and amend the definitions of industrial and factory use since many factories have relocated to the mainland in recent years, leaving many buildings in industrial areas deserted.

She is also proposing better inter- departmental coordination to streamline applications for changing the land use of factory buildings.

This is to allow the development of creative industries and specialized areas for electrical appliances and merchandising.

Hong Kong Institute of Architects planning and lands subcommittee chairman Michael Chiang Hong-man said red tape is one of the factors which prevent these vacant buildings from being fully redeveloped.

"The problem is different departments have different standards, serving their own agendas.

"Professionals have been asking the government to simplify operations [among departments]. The whole government is stuck by red tape," Chiang said.

He welcomed the proposed motion and referred to successful examples overseas and in the mainland where factory buildings have been turned into modern living space and artist studios.

He said while the existing fire safety standards in such buildings may not be adequate, the government should be more flexible in helping to transform them.

Chiang said government inaction and its reluctance to overhaul policies have only encouraged people to break the law, with many businesses moving into factory buildings in Shek Kip Mei and Sham Shui Po.

Pang Shiu-kee, managing director of SK Pang Surveyor Company, said the Town Planning Board changed the land usage of most industrial zones in Hong Kong into Other Designated Usage Business in 2003.

Technically speaking, all vacant factory buildings can be used for non- industrial purposes such as office space, he said.

But since the original government lease was for industrial use, the Lands Department could send out warning letters to flat owners if there was a complaint. Owners have to pay a temporary waiver fee for a fixed term of three years and then renew the lease every quarter.

Pang would not comment on the current system, but said the main concern about transforming vacant factories was fire-safety rules.

"Restaurants or merchandising stores draw crowds, but the emergency exit facilities were designed for industrial use only. Of course, no one would be concerned about it unless a fire breaks out."

Pang said Chow's proposal may have been motivated by her constituency in the retail sector.

Visual artist Luke Ching Chin-wai, a former tenant at the Fotanian Studios which caters to 100 artists, said the idea of converting abandoned factories into art studios was good but should be free of government intervention.

Ching said if the government spearheads any cultural development project, it may impose regulations on artists regarding their funding.

Ching said the government should provide artists with subsidies like those given to small and medium enterprises instead of being directly involved in building an artists' village.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One-year study to explore need for a fourth industrial estate
22 October 2007
South China Morning Post

The Science and Technology Park Corporation is to launch a one-year study to decide if a fourth industrial estate is needed, and ways to revitalise existing estates.

The study is a response to the city's changing industrial landscape over the past two decades as factories relocated to the mainland, and the growing range of industries needing vacant sites.

"Time has moved on but the industrial estates have not," park corporation chairman Nicholas Brooke said.

Mr Brooke said they would study where future demand for industrial estates would come from to create a stronger link between the science park, a base for research and development, and the estates.

One of the study's key aims is to identify if a fourth industrial park is required, as the existing three - covering a total of 215 hectares - are becoming fully sold and occupied.

Apart from Tseung Kwan O industrial estate, which is just 57 per cent full, the other estates at Yuen Long and Tai Po are almost full.

The Tseung Kwan O site specialises in multimedia and creative industries, Yuen Long focuses on logistics and traditional manufacturing, and Tai Po on biomedicines and food and beverage industries.

In 1997 the government identified Area 38 in Tuen Mun as the site for the fourth industrial estate but the plan was shelved in view of a pending merger between the science park and industrial estates.

Part of the site has now been turned into Eco-Park by the Environmental Protection Department, specialising in recycling industries.

In recent years there have also been calls to set up an industrial park on a piece of land bordering Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

The study will also look at site surrendering terms under the lease which make it difficult for an occupant to pull out or transfer to another site.

Under the terms, occupants who bought sites were allowed to stay as long as there was production on site. They could pull out at any time but would only be returned a minimal portion of the land premium they paid.

The tenants pay HK$149 to HK$218 per square foot for a lease lasting until 2047, depending on location and facilities available.

Corporation vice-president Chan Man-wai said it was not their intention to phase out traditional industries in the industrial estates but they wanted to see the land being used efficiently and intensively.

Meanwhile, about 10 per cent of the 50,000 square metres of space for research and development at the second phase of the Science Park has already been leased.

Mr Brooke said the response to the second phase was encouraging.

The study is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Action urged to change use of industrial buildings
19 February 2008
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority was urged yesterday to take on the extra task of redeveloping old industrial areas to meet growing demand for office and hotel buildings.

The proposal, by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, also called for the relaxation of land use restrictions so that more industrial buildings could be converted into office blocks and hotels.

Legislator Chan Kam-lam said old and largely vacant industrial buildings were in need of redevelopment but applications for the change of land use were often difficult.

"Factories in Kwun Tong, To Kwa Wan and San Po Kong are awaiting redevelopment," he said. "Some applications seeking to transform the factories into office use have been rejected because of the restrictions imposed by the fire safety ordinance.

"Divided ownership is also an obstacle to redevelopment of these old factories, as it requires the consent of 90 per cent of owners."

According to the government's statistics, about 7.2 per cent of all industrial buildings were vacant in 2006. More than half were in Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan.

Wong Tai Sin district councillor Joe Lai Wing-ho, also of the DAB, said the URA should expand its scope to include the redevelopment of old industrial buildings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Revitalisation strikes sour note with bands
5 May 2009
South China Morning Post

Struggling young band members are turning to old buildings in disused industrial estates as cheap places to set up studios, but are worried that urban renewal will displace them.

Darkness Pool, a band of five in their 20s, moved from a Mong Kok office tower to a Kwun Tong industrial building in search of cheaper rent.

They are keen to see the shabby area revitalised, but are afraid it may cause their rent to increase. They now pay HK$2,000 a month for a 180 sq ft room, which is big enough for them, their instruments, a sound mixer and a tiny sofa.

"Of course, we want more and nicer places for performance," said bass guitarist Matt Cheung. "But a better management and design could mean a higher rent. We might not be able to survive."

When they rented a studio in Mong Kok, they paid HK$100 an hour and had to stop at 11pm. At their current premises - where bands can be heard in 10 of the 20 rooms - they can stay as long as they like.

Companies organising gigs have also moved in and bands are regularly invited to a larger room in the building to perform.

Some 6.2 per cent of the city's industrial blocks are vacant, mostly in Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan. High land premiums and rigid building rules have made the process of changing land use difficult. Some owners modify the land use without a permit and rent their places to bands and artists, despite safety concerns.

Vincent Ng Wing-shun, of the steering committee on the renewal strategy review, said it should cover the revitalisation of industrial buildings. He said their accessibility could be improved and they could be marketed as an attraction.

Urban Renewal Authority chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen said making warehouses more productive was a win-win solution.
 

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Reviving old industrial buildings urged

Reviving old industrial buildings urged

AlfredLiu

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The government will encourage the release of more than 1,000 old industrial buildings for redevelopment or conversion to support Hong Kong's six main industries.
The six economic areas Donald Tsang referred to are education services, medical services, testing and certification, environmental industries, innovation and technology, and cultural and creative industries.

Tsang said the government will lower the threshold for compulsory sale for redevelopment for industrial buildings in non-industrial areas.

Owners would be able to pay additional premiums according to the actual development density after redevelopment under a "pay for what you build" scheme.

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The government would allow payment of additional premiums exceeding HK$20 million by installments over five years at a fixed interest rate. Owners who opt for wholesale conversions rather than redevelopment will be exempted from paying fees for change of land use.

"They can address the needs of economic development by enabling owners to revitalize and add value to their industrial buildings, thus providing new momentum for economic growth and creating jobs," Tsang said.

The government cited the example of the former Shek Kip Mei Factory Estate building being converted into the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre.

"The government's proposal to encourage redevelopment of industrial buildings will accelerate growth of commercial buildings nearby," said Knight Frank executive director Alnwick Chan Chi-hing.

There are about 15.57 million square meters of factory space over 20 years old in the city, and a further seven million sq m of private storage, private specialized factories, and private industrial space, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Hong Kong.

As at the end of 2007, some 1.07 million sq m were vacant, and the remainder was under-utilized or used for purposes outside the conditions of land leases.

"We propose the government provide financial support to applicants," the surveyors institution said.

It suggested the Planning Department should loosen restrictions on non-industrial land use in industrial buildings.
 

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Redeveloping and converting those old factories is a must! Sometimes when I past by those areas, I would think if that area is redeveloped, the quality of living will be must improved.

Converting and not leaving those areas into slums also provided more spaces to those who can't afford high rent in the city. I joint an indoor wargame several months ago in San Po Kong before and the place was converted in a factory building. It was hella fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Art studios, game centers, and restaurants seem a logical and easy adaptation of these floorplates. Hope it won't result in a new wave of demolish, rebuild, and re-sell to the rich's eyes only.

Some have started to question the URA's approach in redeveloping to improve people's quality of life. A good example is the Hanoi Road project. The original occupants are long gone and will not likely afford a unit at the Masterpiece. So who in the community benefits?
 

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Some have started to question the URA's approach in redeveloping to improve people's quality of life. A good example is the Hanoi Road project. The original occupants are long gone and will not likely afford a unit at the Masterpiece. So who in the community benefits?
The other similar project is the Sai Ying Poon First and Second Streets site.
The new buildings cost 11k/sf, about 2 to 3 times higher than anywhere in the adjacent area, no one in the community can afford such kind of price tag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
LDAC welcomes initiatives to revitalise industrial buildings
Monday, November 9, 2009
Government Press Release

The Land and Development Advisory Committee (LDAC) welcomed the Government's innovative measures to revitalise industrial buildings through encouraging redevelopment and wholesale conversion of vacant or under-utilised industrial buildings.

At its second meeting today (November 9), LDAC members considered the policy initiatives constructive in stimulating the provision of more land and premises to meet Hong Kong's economic and social needs. They noted that a wide range of social and economic uses may be permitted in redeveloped or converted buildings in the "Other Specified Uses" annotated "Business" zone where most of the industrial buildings are located, such as church groups gathering places, activity areas of NGOs, non-residential social welfare facilities as well as higher value-added economic activities including the six advantaged industries. They also noted that the Lands Department will set up a dedicated team to process applications for redevelopment and wholesale conversion when the application period commences on April 1, 2010.

The LDAC was also briefed on the redevelopment of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (HKSKH) Compound by the Commissioner for Heritage. Members agreed that the project would contribute to the society in terms of enhanced community services and the promotion of heritage conservation as well as local art and culture. Members noted that the redevelopment project, fully funded by the HKSKH, would help create jobs and boost the economy. The redevelopment is one of the eight projects under the "Conserving Central" initiative announced in the 2009-10 Policy Address.

Members were consulted on the Public Engagement Process on Building Design to Foster a Quality and Sustainable Built Environment launched by the Council for Sustainable Development to gauge public views on the key issues concerned. Members acknowledged the need to strike a balance between granting GFA (gross floor area) concessions for the provision of essential, green and amenity features, and addressing public concern over building height and bulk. The Council for Sustainable Development expects to submit a report to the Government by mid-2010.
 

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Art studios, game centers, and restaurants seem a logical and easy adaptation of these floorplates. Hope it won't result in a new wave of demolish, rebuild, and re-sell to the rich's eyes only.

Some have started to question the URA's approach in redeveloping to improve people's quality of life. A good example is the Hanoi Road project. The original occupants are long gone and will not likely afford a unit at the Masterpiece. So who in the community benefits?
How's the quality of the underlying structure? I worry because many of Hong Kong's old buildings were built with quick-build concrete forms and they are decaying fast. I wouldn't think they had good "bones" for restructuring.
 

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I think concrete is fine as long as it isn't exposed to the weather, like Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang which needed a lot of concrete work after being neglected for 16 years with no surface finishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
LCQ3: Revitalisation of industrial buildings
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Wong Ting-kwong and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (January 20):

Question:

It has been reported that the Government will launch new measures to accelerate the revitalisation of industrial buildings, and the Lands Department (Lands D) will set up a dedicated team with about 10 members to provide one-stop service to process all applications for redevelopment, conversion and change of use of industrial buildings starting from the first of April this year. Government departments such as the Fire Services Department, Transport Department and Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will be required to reply with their views on the applications within two weeks. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the composition and structure of the aforesaid dedicated team, and what steps are included in the procedure for processing applications through the one-stop service;

(b) of the estimated time saved under the new procedure as compared with the existing procedure, and how the new procedure processes applications which are more complicated; and

(c) given that there have been reports that Lands D will publish a new Practice Note before April this year to set out the details of conversion which may be accorded flexibility subject to compliance with existing legislation, of the contents of the Practice Note and in what ways the Practice Note will be published to ensure that relevant parties will be duly informed of its contents?

Reply:

President:

In his Policy Address delivered in October last year, the Chief Executive announced a package of measures to facilitate redevelopment of old industrial buildings and encourage wholesale conversion of industrial buildings. The objective is to provide suitable land and premises to meet Hong Kong's changing economic and social needs, including those of the six economic areas proposed by the Task Force on Economic Challenges earlier on.

Since the announcement of the new measures, we have been earnestly preparing for their launching on April 1 this year. In the past few months, we have approached various business groups, professional bodies and local organisations to introduce the new measures and to listen to their views. They include the Legislative Council, District Councils, political parties, business groups, professional bodies, etc. Meanwhile, Development Bureau has been liaising with the relevant bureaux and departments regarding the implementation details, so as to ensure a smooth and effective implementation of the new measures.

My reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) The Lands Department (Lands D) will set up a dedicated team to centrally process applications for wholesale conversion or lease modifications for redevelopment of industrial buildings under the new measures. The team will come into operation on April 1, 2010 and will have about 10 members, including estate surveyors, solicitors and officers from other grades, who report direct to the Chief Estate Surveyor (Headquarters) of the Lands D. In processing the applications, the team will examine if they meet the eligibility criteria of the new measures and consider carefully if sufficient information has been provided. It may also consult the relevant departments on specific cases and request them to reply within two weeks as far as possible. The team will, if necessary, arrange for discussion of applications at the District Lands Conference. If the applications are approved, the team will, after consulting the solicitors, draft the necessary documents for execution by the applicants. In processing approved applications for redevelopment, the team will assess the land premium and deal with the applicants' appeals against the amount of premium payable (if applicable). Regarding approved applications for conversion, since no waiver fees will be imposed, it will not be necessary for the team to carry out the assessment.

(b) Compared with the usual practice of requiring applicants to submit applications to the relevant District Lands Offices in accordance with the location of their industrial buildings, the establishment of a dedicated team has the advantage of processing all applications under the new measures in a more focused manner and with greater efficiency. Also, as the premium assessment process is no longer required, the overall time for processing applications for wholesale conversion of industrial buildings will be shorter than that for normal cases. Nonetheless, the actual processing time would vary from case to case depending on the circumstances and cannot be generalised. The processing procedures mentioned above generally apply to all applications regardless of whether they are complicated or straightforward cases.

(c) The Lands D is drafting a Practice Note in respect of applications for redevelopment and wholesale conversion of industrial buildings under the new measures. For the reference of potential applicants or professionals who assist applicants in filing applications, the Practice Note will set out application details such as the documents required to be submitted. The Practice Note will be issued in the first quarter of this year and the public can access it via the webpage of the Lands D.

The Lands D will consult the industries in accordance with established procedures when drafting the Practice Note.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Old industrial blocks may be used as columbariums
Buildings near cemeteries likely to be selected, says minister

25 March 2010
South China Morning Post

Old industrial buildings near cemeteries could be chosen as sites for new columbariums to meet the huge public demand, the health chief said yesterday.

But what industrial buildings and in what districts will they be chosen are still being studied by the government under the principle that any such facilities have to be located far away from residences to avoid nuisance.

Secretary for Food and Health Dr York Chow Yat-ngok yesterday hinted that buildings near cemeteries or burial grounds would stand a higher chance of being selected.

He declined to give further details but pledged that his bureau would work closely with the Planning and Lands departments in drawing up the plans.

"We will announce the findings once we make up our mind," Chow told lawmakers yesterday.

He said the bureau would issue a policy on columbariums in May or June to ease the shortage of public niches that has created a boom in private columbariums. Some of these private facilities are alleged to have breached land leases or planning regulations.

There are about 1,000 private industrial buildings which can be revitalised, according to the Development Bureau. While many are located in old industrial districts, some are on the fringe.

Kwai Chung is one such district. There are several industrial buildings and warehouses next to the Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery as well as a public crematorium and columbarium.

A person close to district planning projects yesterday said the Planning Department had yet to identify sites for new columbariums but rezoning industrial buildings for other uses would require approval from the Town Planning Board.

Yau Fuk-loi, a villager from Sheung Shui Tsui Keng Lo Wai, where some village houses are being converted into columbariums, said converting industrial buildings would not help address their problem. "Without a law to regulate private columbariums and stop them from operation, we villagers will never have peace," he said.

Yau was among 100 people who vented their anger outside the health bureau's office in the Murray Building in Central yesterday afternoon over the building of illegal columbariums.

The protesters were from Tsui Keng, Kam Shan, Chek Nai Ping as well as Tsuen Wan Lo Wai village. They were all frustrated with the government's failure to stop village houses from being converted into columbariums. They also staged protests at their respective villages in the morning.

The villagers were also joined by some residents from Hung Hom, where private urn storages have been thriving inside residential blocks.

The protest ended peacefully after the bureau agreed to arrange a meeting with them in two weeks.

Meanwhile, Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Cheuk Wing-hing yesterday said more people had opted for sea burial, as about 140 applications had been received in the past two months. Reservations for the next five weeks are full.

The department can handle about 500 sea burials a year. Cheuk said it might increase the service if demand was high. "We are not trying to replace urns with sea burials. We are just offering another option," he said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
29.5 hectares may go to build flats
The Standard
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Town Planning Board is considering rezoning as much as 29.5 hectares of industrial and business land for residential use as part of an official bid to boost home supply.

The board will hold a formal discussion on Friday about rezoning the sites, which have an existing gross floor area of about 840,000 square meters, according to Sing Tao Daily, sister publication of The Standard.

A vast majority of the sites are in the New Territories - Fan Ling, Sha Tin, Yuen Long, Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan.

The biggest industrial area to be rezoned comprises 10 sites in Siu Lek Yuen, Sha Tin, amounting to 7.4 ha.

The only urban area is in Tai Kok Tsui, at 0.2 ha the smallest on the list.

Development chief Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said the government is trying its best to lift residential land supply via the application list system and by taking a pro- active approach to putting sites on the market.

Another 30.2 hectares of industrial sites will be rezoned to specified industrial business, columbarium and other uses.

The total existing GFA proposed to be rezoned for non-industrial use is about 920,000 sq m, the board said in an official document.

This is slightly larger than the fall in manufacturing industries' demand for factory floor space by 2020, estimated at 850,000 sq m of GFA, the document says.

If all the rezoning proposals are taken on board, the total purely industrial zones in the territory will slip by about 18.7 percent to 241.6 ha, it said.

Between 2001 and 2003, the board rezoned around 196.5 ha of industrial land for specified industrial business use, and another 48.6 ha for non-industrial use.

Review of the rezoning of a 0.8 ha area in Kennedy Town is expected to be complete in the second half, while the rezoning of a 5.2 ha Fan Ling area is awaiting formal review.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Slow to catch on
The Standard
Thursday, August 11, 2011

Government measures to revitalize industrial buildings have prompted owners to look into the potential of their individually owned industrial buildings that are eligible for wholesale conversion for other uses, or redevelopment under the scheme.

As at June 30, the Lands Department had received a total of 56 applications - 45 of them for conversion and 11 for redevelopment.

The two latest cases involve conversion of the whole block at 71 Hung To Road, in Kwun Tong, for office use and the building at 4 Hing Yip Street, also in Kwun Tong, for retail purposes.

Apart from Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay, San Po Kong will be the next bright spot in the Kowloon East area.

The future new infrastructure development of the Sha Tin-Central MTR Link (upon full completion in 2020, connecting the two districts via Kai Tak) will improve the connection between San Po Kong and other areas.

As San Po Kong will be close to the commercial zone of the Kai Tak development project, industrial premises there will benefit from the infrastructure improvements and the gradual development of the decentralized commercial hub of Kai Tak.

On Hong Kong Island, Aberdeen and Wong Chuk Hang will be given facelifts as a result of the implementation of the Revitalization of Industrial Buildings policy and completion of the MTR South Island Line (East) in 2015.

Several developers have chosen to redevelop their industrial premises in the districts for commercial uses.

Henderson Land and Hing Shing Hong plan to redevelop the plot at 19-21 Wong Chuk Hang Road into a 31-story commercial building, providing total floor area of about 214,300 square feet.

However, the pace of wholesale conversion has been slow, as many owners find difficulty in justifying the cost of conversion and the prospective rental income growth.

Industrial revitalization is still at its infant stage, and the government needs to offer more incentives to encourage owners to revitalize their premises.

Joanne Lee is an assistant manager of research and advisory at Colliers International. The real estate consultancy has integrated teams of specialists to speed up success for institutional and private clients by developing solutions to give their properties a competitive business advantage. E-mail: [email protected]
 
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