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Go-ahead given on office penthouse
19 August 2006
South China Morning Post

Rendering



By 鄧麗欣之戀 from skyscrapers.cn :







The Town Planning Board has given Kerry Properties the green light to build a one-storey penthouse on a proposed commercial high-rise building in Quarry Bay.

The 12,001 sq ft penthouse will be the residence of a senior company executive, documents submitted to the board's metro planning committee show.

But the committee demanded that the government examine imposing a height restriction on the proposed 45-storey redevelopment in Quarry Bay when it negotiated with the developer on lease modifications.

Committee members regarded the building as "exceptionally tall" compared with those in the neighbourhood, which are mainly lower than 30 storeys.

To ensure the property developer will not sell the penthouse for profit in future, it also decided to add a non-alienation clause to the lease.

Greg Wong Chak-yan, the committee's vice-chairman, said he was worried that other developers might apply to build penthouses on their office towers if the application succeeded.

He was also concerned that permitting a penthouse on the top floor of the office tower would run against the spirit of the area's commercial zoning.

Kerry wants to redevelop the Hong Kong Tobacco Company Limited site at King's Road. It houses a 12-storey industrial building with a penthouse.

The penthouse will have its own car parking space, vehicular drop-off point and lift lobby.

It will have two bedrooms, a wine cellar, gymnasium and a study.

Kerry Real Estate Agency executive director Chu Ip-pui said: "There is a penthouse on the top floor of the existing building. We respect the original design, so we decided to build a penthouse in the redevelopment."

He said the company had not decided on the use of the penthouse.

The redevelopment will be completed in 2009.

Mr Chu said that as the lease was for industrial development, the company would have to negotiate with the government to change it for commercial use.

Kerry Properties is part of the Kerry Group, the largest shareholder in SCMP Group, publisher of the South China Morning Post.
 

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Office market on the move 80pc of new commercial units will be outside the CBD
8 March 2006
South China Morning Post

The office market in Hong Kong will enter a new phase from this year until 2010, when about 80 per cent of new units will be located outside of the traditional districts that offer grade-A office space, property consultants said.

In the next five years, 23 projects comprising 10.8 million sq ft of office space will be built.

Only five of these would be in the core areas [of Central, Wan Chai/Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui], Jones Lang LaSalle said.

"This will be the first time that any development cycle in the grade-A commercial market will provide such a high proportion of accommodation in non-core areas," said Gavin Morgan, head of Jones Lang LaSalle's Hong Kong commercial department.

In the last cycle, much of the new office space was in Central developments such as Two IFC and Chater House.

Experts said the increase of supply in non-core areas reflected the decentralisation of the office market.

David Holdsworth, managing director of Pamfleet (HK) said: "Central rents are obviously rising because [of] the absence of space.

"As all the major buildings fill up, there isn't just any choice. You either have to [be] able to pay those high rents in prime buildings or you [have] got to start moving.

"Decentralisation will continue to offer comparatively attractive rental deals for those people who cannot afford to pay Central rents."

Major buildings to be completed this year include the 112,000 sq ft Landmark East extension in Central and the 360,000 sq ft Nina Tower in Tsuen Wan.

In the next two years, Sun Hung Kai Properties will complete its twomillion sq ft International Commerce Centre at Kowloon Station, and Swire will complete its office project, One Island East, in Westlands Road, Quarry Bay.

Knight Frank executive director Mark Bernard was optimistic about Island East.

"The quality of office buildings is very good - even better than in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay," Mr Bernard said.

"Quarry Bay has traditionally provided a lower-cost option for tenants looking for prime office space outside of the Central business core. Strong demand for space in the area has driven up rents, particularly over the past few months."

According to Knight Frank, Quarry Bay office rents have more than doubled over the past year to average $31.21 a sq ft a month. The average rent in Central is $75.21 a month and about $38 a sq ft in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.

In the next 12 months, rents in Quarry Bay were expected to increase by 30 per cent.

Mr Bernard expected Swire Properties to set the rent for One Island East at 10 per cent to 15 per cent below the market price to attract tenants.

But Swire would push up rents in the area once One Island East was occupied, he said.

Mr Bernard said the area would continue to attract interest from end users and property investors.

His comments come as an Australian fund Allco is in talks to buy Hongkong Land's office building at 1063 King's Road.

Also, the family of Charles Ho Tsu-kwok, a tobacco tycoon who owns the Sing Tao Group, is selling its 450,000 sq ft headquarters at 865 King's Road, estimated at $700million.

The industrial building could be redeveloped for office use.

But Desmond Poon, associate director at Chartersince Realty, said fringe Central areas such as Wan Chai and Sheung Wan would benefit the most from the relocation trend because office rents would obviously go up.

He said it was difficult for Island East to compete with Admiralty and Wan Chai as many companies that had been located in the CBD for a long time would be reluctant to move to Quarry Bay.

"They will relocate to places still close to the CBD, then move back to Central once the office rents ease again," he said.
 

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