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114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

Tackling the problem of urban decay

1. At present, there are about 9 300 private buildings in the Metro Area (i.e. Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing) which are 30 years' old and above. In ten years' time, the number of buildings over 30 years' old will increase by 50%. The problem of ageing buildings is most serious in older urban areas.

2. To address the problem of urban decay and to improve the living conditions of residents in dilapidated urban areas, the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance (Chapter 563) was enacted in July 2000. The Ordinance provides a new institutional framework for carrying out urban renewal. The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) was established on 1 May 2001.

Quality of life in our urban area

3. A "people-centred" approach should be used to carry out urban renewal. The purpose of urban renewal is to improve the quality of life of residents in the urban area. The Government has to balance the interests and needs of all sectors of the community without sacrificing the lawful rights of any particular group. The aim is to reduce the number of inadequately housed people.

4. The key principles underlying the Government's approach to urban renewal are -
(a) owners whose properties are acquired or resumed for the implementation of redevelopment projects should be offered fair and reasonable compensation;
(b) tenants affected by redevelopment projects should be provided with proper rehousing;
(c) the community at large should benefit from urban renewal; and
(d) residents affected by redevelopment projects should be given an opportunity to express their views on the projects.

5. The main objectives of urban renewal are -
(a) restructuring and replanning designated target areas;
(b) designing more effective and environmentally-friendly local transport and road networks;
(c) rationalizing land uses;
(d) redeveloping dilapidated buildings into new buildings of modern standard and environmentally-friendly design;
(e) promoting sustainable development in the urban area;
(f) promoting the rehabilitation of buildings in need of repair;
(g) preserving buildings, sites and structures of historical, cultural or architectural interest;
(h) preserving as far as practicable local characteristics;
(i) preserving the social networks of the local community;
(j) providing purpose-built housing for groups with special needs, such as the elderly and the disabled;
(k) providing more open space and community/welfare facilities; and
(l) enhancing the townscape with attractive landscape and urban design.

6. The Government aims to achieve the following targets through a 20-year urban renewal programme -
(a) redevelopment of some 2 000 ageing or dilapidated buildings;
(b) improvement of the environmental quality of 67 hectares of old and run-down urban areas;
(c) rehousing of some 27 000 tenant households;
(d) provision of around 60 000 m2 of open space;
(e) provision of about 90 000 m2 of floor space for use as community/welfare facilities; and
(f) provision of seven new schools.

7. Urban renewal is not a "slash and burn" process. A comprehensive and holistic approach should be adopted to rejuvenate older urban areas by way of redevelopment, rehabilitation and heritage preservation.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Chinese Estates earmarks $1b for Tung Ying project
7 June 2005
South China Morning Post

The 40-year-old Tung Ying Building contributes almost HK$80 million in rental income to Chinese Estates annually. EASTWEEK

Chinese Estates Holdings will spend up to $1 billion demolishing the 39-year-old Tung Ying Building in Nathan Road and turning it into a commercial complex full of glitzy shops.

Work will start next year and yield about 400,000 square feet of commercial space. The redevelopment has been estimated to cost between $800 million and $1 billion and will take about three years.

A source told the South China Morning Post last week the decision to demolish the 17-storey building, which Chinese Estates bought in 2002 for $1.1 billion, had been prompted by a consumer spending boom and the property market revival.

The upper two floors of the three-storey retail podium houses laboratories and medical clinics. The ground floor has a diverse range of small shops.

Ernest Kong

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The impacts of dwelling conditions on older persons' psychological well-being in Hong Kong: the mediating role of residential satisfaction
Phillips, David R; Siu, Oi-ling; Yeh, Anthony G O; Cheng, Kevin H C
1 June 2005
Social Science & Medicine
Volume 60, Issue 12

About 11% of Hong Kong's population of 7 million people are aged 65 and over and many of them live in old urban areas. Many of these areas have been subjected to urban redevelopment and some of the residents have been relocated to newer estates in peripheral new towns. Previous studies have focused on the challenges the urban environment has placed on older persons in terms of capability to cope with the demands that the environment places upon them. This paper suggests that dwelling conditions can act as stressors and become contributing factors that impact on older persons' residential satisfaction and psychological well-being (subjective well-being). This study examines the role of residential satisfaction (satisfaction with dwelling unit, estate and district) in mediating the effects of dwelling conditions (interior environment and exterior environment) on psychological well-being.

A sample of older persons was recruited from a sampling frame of 16 urban sub-areas located in old urban areas and new towns. 518 older persons (224 males, 294 females) aged 60 and over were interviewed and the findings indicated that residential satisfaction was determined by assessment of both the interior environment and the exterior environment, although these were appraised differently. The interior environment had a greater impact on residential satisfaction than the exterior environment. It appeared that environmental dwelling conditions mainly affected older persons' psychological well-being indirectly and, hence, probably influenced their opportunities for successful ageing. However, subsequent tests revealed that dwelling conditions had no direct impact on psychological well-being. In light of these findings, it is proposed that the role of environmental factors and their relation to older persons' psychological well-being depends on the extent to which a person's expectations of residential satisfaction are met. Some implications of these findings for local housing and social care policy are discussed.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Doubters question tourism plan for Wong Chuk Hang
A bevy of new hotels is set to redefine the old industrial area, but some property analysts fear they will not draw the crowds
Sandy Li
18 May 2005
South China Morning Post

The skyline of Wong Chuk Hang, the industrial area close to Aberdeen, will change over the next three years with the $5.5 billion revamp of Ocean Park and developers' plans to raze industrial properties and build hotels.

The change to the area is part of the government's attempt to transform Wong Chuk Hang and Aberdeen into a tourism destination, sparking a wave of redevelopment.

However, some property analysts fear the plan may be too ambitious as there is virtually no customer base to support the new hotels.

The Town Planning Board has approved plans to replace nine industrial buildings in Wong Chuk Hang with hotels.

Chinachem hotel division director George Kuk said: "We see great potential hotel redevelopment in the area because of its proximity to Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay."

But the owner decided to hold on to the property in anticipation of further property price increases.

Mr Kuk said the multibillion-dollar makeover plan for Ocean Park, initiated by park chairman Allan Zeman, would boost demand for hotel rooms.

He said not all visitors would want to stay overnight at Ocean Park. "Some will prefer to check in to hotels nearby."

Mr Zeman unveiled the $5.5 billion plan for Ocean Park in March. The completion date is 2010.

The proposal is for three Ocean Park hotels - the Ocean Hotel on the waterfront near the entrance, the Summit Spa and Resort, and the Fisherman's Wharf in nearby Tai Shue Wan.

"Anything to take away the old and ugly-looking buildings is good [for the area]," Mr Kuk said.

But property consultants said the future of Wong Chuk Hang depended on a strong tourism inflow and land premium talks with the government.

Consultants said the government had recently set up a taskforce to review tourism-type developments on the south side of Hong Kong Island but it had not decided if it would offer loans for the Ocean Park project.

However, other big players such as Cheung Kong (Holdings), Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development have bought factory sites in the area.

The developers are now negotiating land premiums with the government.

Alva To, research director at DTZ Debenham Tie Leung, doubted the area could become a tourist and commercial centre.

"With developers' investments focusing only on hotels, there are no supporting facilities such as shopping malls and offices to create a cluster effect [to ensure a customer base]," he said.

Jones Lang LaSalle regional director Lau Chong-kong expected the first batch of hotels to be in the low- to mid-range segment.

"Hotels will have food and beverage outlets just to serve their guests," he said.

But he said developers would be interested in building office blocks and shopping malls once most of the hotels were built.

If the MTR line extends to Ocean Park, the journey from Admiralty to the park will take about five minutes.

Mr Lau said this would speed up the process of transforming Wong Chuk Hang into a new commercial centre.

"Improving accessibility will encourage more people to visit the area and will enhance the commercial value of existing properties," he said.

Colliers International research head Simon Lo Wing-fai said industrial space in the area rented for an average of $5 per sq ft, although quality buildings could fetch up to $10 per sq ft.

But he said developers would have more incentive to knock down underutilised industrial buildings to make way for hotel projects if high-end hotels in the area were able to rent rooms for $1,000 a night.

Average vacancy rates in the overall industrial sector were 8.7 per cent last year, down from a peak of 10.9 per cent in 2001, according to the Rating and Valuation Department.

Mr Lo said most factory sites in the area, particularly those with redevelopment potential as hotels, had already been snapped up by developers.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yau Tong Bay project at mercy of public opinion; Site development likely to be halted by reclamation concerns
Foster Wong
7 May 2005
South China Morning Post

Developers are unlikely to see much in the way of progress at the $10 billion Yau Tong Bay redevelopment project in the near future as public calls to protect Victoria Harbour from reclamation delay proceedings, according to one of its investors, Henderson Land Development.

Under the redevelopment plan, which has been in existence since 1989, heavily polluted Yau Tong Bay would be transformed into a 22-hectare residential-cum-commercial development. According to blueprints, a total of 12.5 hectares of land would be reclaimed from the sea.

"Public opinion has been strongly against any land reclamation in Victoria Harbour, so we don't expect to see any breakthrough for the Yau Tong Bay project in the foreseeable future," said Colin Lam Ko-yin, vice-chairman at Henderson Land, which owns a 19 per cent stake in the project. Mr Lam was speaking after yesterday's annual general meeting of Hong Kong Ferry (Holdings), a Henderson Land subsidiary.

Approval for land reclamation projects around Victoria Harbour has been difficult to obtain since a 2003 court ruling went against reclamation off Wan Chai. The ruling said that developers had to demonstrate an "overriding public need" to justify reclamation.

Industry observers have suggested that making such a case for the Yau Tong project will prove problematic.

The project, developed by a Henderson-led consortium of more than 10 developers, has already received approval from the Environmental Protection Department with respect to land reclamation but it also needs a green light from the Town Planning Board.

A spokesman for Cornerstone Communications, the public relations firm acting for the developer consortium, claimed that, in fact, reclamation would be positive for Yau Tong Bay as it would involve a clean up of the area's heavy pollution, left over from when the bay was home to a shipyard.

The redevelopment envisages 38 residential blocks with a gross floor area of 9.7 million square feet, of which about 1.72 million sqft would be attributable to the group.

Separately, Hong Kong Ferry said it had brought in more than $1 billion this year from selling 170 residential units at Metro Harbour View in Tai Kok Tsui.

The average price of flats at Metro Harbour grew 20 per cent year on year to $4,500 per square foot, the firm said.

"We plan to sell the remaining 500 unsold units of Metro Harbour View this year," said Mr Lam, who is also chairman of Hong Kong Ferry.

He added the company would start pre-sales at another residential project, 43-51A Tong Mi Road, by the middle of this year while completion for the project was scheduled for early next year.

Henderson Land shares closed down 0.82 per cent at $36.20 yesterday, while those of Hong Kong Ferry were up 0.52 per cent at $9.65.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Kwun Tong impatient for developers to move in
Residents call for more public space, cleaner environment

Chloe Lai
22 April 2005
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority should start redeveloping Kwun Tong as soon as possible to improve the environment for long-suffering residents, the area's district council said yesterday.

It made the call after a University of Hong Kong survey found 70 per cent of people living there wanted redevelopment - and soon.

Kwun Tong is one of Kowloon's oldest and last remaining industrial quarters and is home to a variety of residential buildings, ranging from public housing to middle-class flats.

The District Council's report on public expectations on urban renewal found more than 60 per cent of the residents wanted to stay in a redeveloped Kwun Tong.

HKU's Centre of Urban Planning and Environment Management interviewed 267 people in the past two months and organised a workshop to gather residents' opinions.

It suggested the redevelopment should solve the problem of pedestrians and vehicles competing for space, while adding more public space and improving air quality.

Kwun Tong's redevelopment was first announced by the now defunct Land Development Corporation in 1998. It became one of the Urban Renewal Authority's 25 priority projects when it replaced the corporation in 2000.

The area designated for redevelopment borders Kwun Tong Road, Hong Ning Road and Hip Wo Street. The section between Hong Ning Road and Sau Nga Road also falls under the redevelopment announcement. It is the heart of Kwun Tong and covers more than 5 hectares.

The redevelopment will directly affect 75 old buildings, 1,600 property rights and more than 5,000 residents.

Demands on the authority to start work as soon as possible have grown over the past few years. The Kwun Tong District Council set up a committee on urban renewal and industrial land use to study the issue. The study pointed out that many buildings were poorly maintained because owners had been waiting for the authority to buy their property.

Committee chairman Nelson Chan Wah-yu said: "We hope the authority will act soon to improve Kwun Tong's environment."

The authority said it wanted to start the project as soon as possible, but as it was going to be Hong Kong's biggest redevelopment initiative it required careful planning and public consultation.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Grosvenor office project to cash in on rising rents
Ernest Kong
8 April 2005
South China Morning Post

British property giant Grosvenor plans to develop its first office project in Hong Kong to take advantage of rising rents and property prices.

However, managing director Nick Loup refused to reveal the exact location of the project yesterday, other than to say it would involve the redevelopment of an old office building "close to Central" into 200,000 square feet of commercial space.

"We haven't finalised everything yet," Mr Loup said, adding that its partner in the project, Asia Standard International Group, had already secured ownership of the site.

"We expect a rental yield of 5 per cent to 6 per cent," he said.

Grosvenor has a 15 per cent stake in Asia Standard, a property development and investment company. Asia Standard was also one of the joint-venture partners in the British company's first foray into the residential market, Grosvenor Place on Repulse Bay Road, which was sold en bloc to related parties of Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun's fourth wife, Angela Leong On-kei, for $939.8 million in April last year.

Property consultant Knight Frank, which predicted average office rents to increase 35 per cent this year, said rents had already risen 17.5 per cent to $24.63 per square foot per month in the first three months, while grade A office rents in Central had gone up 22 per cent to $42.12 per square foot per month.

Grosvenor is also developing a 200,000 sqft residential project with Asia Standard in Yau Kam Tau, Tsuen Wan, which is expected to be completed in 2007.

Mr Loup said he did not rule out the possibility of selling two new projects en bloc if desirable prices were offered.

"This is a growth market for total return of both yield and capital appreciation," he said.

Grosvenor, which set up its first mainland office in Shanghai in November last year, was also in the process of acquiring a residential site in the city, Mr Loup said.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
HK lowers threshold for urban renewals
31 March 2005
Business Daily, China Daily

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government is going to make it easier for private property developers to press ahead with difficult redevelopment projects by lowering the statutory threshold for compulsory ownership sale by diehard landlords.

As under the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance, a developer is free to apply for a court order to compel remaining owners to sell their units in an enforced auction if it has acquired 90 per cent of the ownership of the building concerned.

The government now plans to lower the trigger point to 80 per cent, a move welcomed by both academics and professionals as instrumental to renewing old urban areas.

Officials at the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau are drawing up a consultation document for release later this year.

In its Report on Building Management and Maintenance Public Consultation published in January, the bureau recognizes the private sector as a major locomotive in urban renewal and believes it should be fully engaged in the renewal process.

In the last two paragraphs of the report, the bureau says some submissions have proposed the 90-per cent threshold, as in the ordinance, should be relaxed if private initiatives are to be encouraged to help arrest the urban decay problem.

But it also admits the need to balance facilitating private redevelopment with the crucial need to protect private property rights.

A bureau spokesperson confirmed yesterday that it planned to lower the 90-per cent threshold to 80 per cent and aimed to consult the public on this later this year. It is still unclear when the consultation will kick off.

Besides, the authorities are also expecting to attach strings to the law to make compulsory sale not as ready though easier. Hygiene conditions, for instance, would be considered.

Associate Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate of Polytechnic University, Francis Wong, said that it had always been difficult for private developers to acquire enough ownership to launch a redevelopment project because the ownership was often divided. In some cases, individual owners have died or moved out of Hong Kong.

Wong agreed that 80 per cent was the optimum point to balance the need to protect private property ownership and public interest.

He said private property ownership was one of the cornerstones for Hong Kong's success and setting the point too low would affect this treasured principle seriously and undermine the SAR.

Wong suggested that apart from the 80-per cent yardstick, officials should also draw up a checklist of factors such as building age and maintenance for the court to consider when hearing an application made according to the ordinance.

He said the lowered threshold should only apply to buildings of dismal conditions such as those without an owners' corporation to ensure the property is properly managed and maintained.

Senior Associate Director of Centaline Surveyors Limited, James Cheung, said lowering the threshold to 80 per cent was welcome for the property market.

Cheung said that it was not uncommon to see a redevelopment project stuck because of opposition from just one owner. "In an old, six-storey building of six units, one single unit makes up 17 per cent of the ownership. It is impossible to move forward under the law at present," he said.

He agreed with Wong that, however, the law must not be relaxed too much to make it too easy to force an individual owner to give up his property. "A balance must be struck."

Cheung found 80 per cent agreeable to him, pointing out that it was only a point to start with as the developer must also convince the court of the benefits redevelopment could bring to owners and community.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
HK-listed Yau Lee wins housing project
23 March 2005
Asia in Focus, Asia Pulse

HONG KONG, March 23 - YAU LEE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LIMITED, a wholly-owned subsidiary of YAU LEE HOLDINGS LIMITED (SEHK: 406), will build 1,983 flats under a contract awarded by the Hong Kong Housing Authority. The project for the redevelopment of Kwai Chung Flatted Factory is valued at HK$360 million (US$46.2 million).

* The project consists of two 41-storey modified New Harmony 1 and one 36-storey modified New Harmony Annex 5 blocks.

* Construction on the project started early this year for completion in August 2007.


HK-listed Yau Lee to build 1,983 flats under US$46.2 mln contract awarded by Hong Kong Housing Authority

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
$1b Kwun Tong premium
Raymond Wang
18 March 2005
Hong Kong Standard

Henderson Land Development, Hong Kong's third-largest property developer by market value, has paid a land premiumfor its HK$4 billion mega office-retail redevelopment project on the formerNestle/Dairy Farm manufacturing plant in Kwun Tong.

The premium deal, estimated to be about HK$1 billion, was settled ahead of last month's government land auctionof a commercial site in Kowloon Bay, which was sold for HK$1.82 billion, market sources said.

Henderson, which posted a 22 percent rise in net profit for the half-year ended December, said the site at 223-231 Wai Yip Street is now modifiedto office-cum-retail development use, with a potential gross floor area of about one million sqft. However, the premium price has not been disclosed.

Henderson bought the plant site in 1993 for more than HK$1.1 billion. The project requires total investments of about HK$4 billion, including existing land costs, land premiums and constructioncosts, surveyors said.

Henderson said it is preparing for the development plan of this project, which is set to become a landmark project in the Kwun Tong when completed.

Other brand new commercial projectsin Kwun Tong include Sun Hung Kai Properties' Millennium City phase five. While Crocodile Garments, a retail unit of Lai Sun Group, plans to demolishits flagship industrial building in Kwun Tong to make way for a HK$500 million commercial tower.

Henderson said in its interim earningsreport that it acquired various agricultural land lots amounting to over 4 million sqft in the second half last year, which can be converted to developmentland, adding that it will take necessary steps to make application of land-use conversions for these sites.

Henderson posted a 22 percent rise in net profit to HK$1.296 billion in the six months ended December, compared with HK$1.058 billion a year ago. The earnings were in line with analysts' forecasts as the company's property sales were those unsold inventory. The company lifted its interim dividend to 40 HK cents per share from 35 cents a year ago.

Henderson said it did not complete any development project during the half year, and profit from the pre-sale of the Grand Promenade in Sai Wan Ho, the Fuk Hang Tsuen project in Lam Tei and the Royal Green in Fan Ling will be booked in the second half and the next fiscal year. JPMorgan expects full-year earnings ending June 2005 to reach HK$3.943 billion as some of these major developments will be completed in the second half.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Hyatt Regency seeks more room in Kowloon
Talks under way with New World on premium development
Denise Tsang
17 March 2005
South China Morning Post

The operator of the Hyatt Regency hotel on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui that is due to close at the start of next year is planning to move to nearby Hanoi Road.

Chicago-based Global Hyatt Corp is in talks with New World Development over a management contract for a 320-room premium hotel as part of a one million square foot redevelopment project by New World and the Urban Renewal Authority.

The hotelier's desire for a bigger presence in Hong Kong underscored its optimism on prospects for tourism and hospitality.

New World spokesman Kwan Chuk-fai yesterday said the firm was talking to a number of "international hotel companies" about a management contract for the four-star or above hotel project due for completion in 2007.

However, he declined to name candidates. Hyatt Regency marketing manager Henrietta Ho declined to comment.

December 31 will mark the end of the Hyatt Regency's 36 years in Nathan Road as demolition begins in January next year.

The building's owner, Associated International Hotels, decided in October last year to convert the 723-room hotel and shopping arcade into a retail and office complex, which it believes will yield higher investment returns.

Sources familiar with the Hanoi Road project said Hyatt was the front-runner, partly because of the hotelier's long-standing co-operation with New World - the luxurious 570-room Grand Hyatt in Wan Chai is 64 per cent owned by New World and managed by Hyatt.

The Hyatt Regency was the company's first international offshoot when it opened in 1969. A Hong Kong presence also fits the group's mainland strategy, which commits it to opening eight hotels with 2,644 rooms by 2008.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Eaton Hotel turns banquets into a money-maker
Denise Tsang
14 March 2005
South China Morning Post

The four-star Eaton Hotel on Nathan Road has bucked the trend of redevelopment into more lucrative commercial and retailing properties by converting its shopping area into banqueting facilities.

The decision to bulldoze the facilities was part of a $150 million facelift for the 468 guest rooms, restaurants, banquet facilities and façade to raise the hotel's competitiveness in the race to accommodate more visitors, said general manager Bob van den Oord.

The move was a stark contrast to the strategy of other hotels In the neighbourhood, with the five-star Hyatt Regency hotel to be torn down next year for an office-and-retailing complex.

The four-star Kowloon Hotel, which a Li Ka-shing-controlled consortium bought from Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels for $1.93 billion in December last year, is also destined for redevelopment in three years, sources said.

Keeping the hotel operation running for three years on the completion of the deal last month was a key condition, they added.

Analysts said the redevelopment trend underlined the shortage of shopping space in Nathan Road and Tsim Sha Tsui as the mainland's relaxed travel policy has opened the floodgates for visitors to Hong Kong.

"We are sandwiched between Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui and Langham Place in Mongkok, and felt the shopping mall here would never be big enough, exclusive enough or different enough to compete," Mr van den Oord said.

"The conversion of the shopping mall into banqueting and meeting facilities took the market by storm because we can do seven wedding banquets on one night and on one weekend alone, we can do 21 weddings."

Eaton Hotel, part of property developer Great Eagle Holdings, which also owns two five-star Langham hotels in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok, earned $17 million from three ballrooms and 10 meeting rooms last year, he said.

The hotel's renovation - spanning two years to the end of this year - would keep the property more competitive given that 47,000 new tourist beds, or 10 hotels, have come on to the market in the past 15 months, Mr van den Oord said.

He welcomed the nearby 64-room boutique hotel, The Minden, which opened its doors earlier this month saying it was "a good thing for Tsim Sha Tsui. We are not worrying about the competition".

Last year, about 60 per cent of Eaton Hotel guests were leisure travellers, mainly from the mainland, and the remaining 40 per cent were business travellers.

As the number of tourist arrivals to Hong Kong was expected to break last year's record of 21.36 million, Mr van den Oord is optimistic about the prospective occupancy and room rates at Eaton Hotel.

With the market expected to be buoyed by the opening of the Disneyland theme park on Lantau in September, Hong Kong hotels were looking at an average 20 per cent increase in room rates this year, he added.

However, the situation had caused an undersupply of human resources and higher labour costs, Mr van den Oord said. Disneyland expects to have 5,000 staff by the time it opens.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
$1b plan to revamp Shamshuipo site
Elaine Wu
12 March 2005
South China Morning Post

The Urban Renewal Authority has proposed demolishing 17 old buildings in a rundown area of Shamshuipo in a $1.1 billion project that would create 390 flats.

Most of the buildings were built in the 1950s and include shops and restaurants on the ground level with walk-up residential buildings. The area is home to many new migrants from the mainland, with some flats housing up to seven families.

Nearly 300 households, with about 800 residents, would be forced to move. But authority executives did not expect much objection from the public because the area needed redevelopment.

Eddie So Shuen-yee, the authority's general manager of external relations, said: "From our past experience from projects in Shamshuipo and similar old districts, our offer of development has always been a popular decision {hellip} with the owners and the tenants. I hope this won't be an exception."

The 36,000 sq ft site - on Lai Chi Kok Road, Kweilin Street and Yee Kuk Street - is the authority's seventh redevelopment project in Shamshuipo.

Authority executives said the area was chosen because of the age of the buildings and the need to revitalise the community.

Mr So said it would have been difficult for private companies to acquire enough ownership on the site to redevelop it.

Hui Siu-hung, who owns a 1,100 sq ft flat in Yee Kuk Street, said a private developer had offered $3.3 million six years ago for his flat, which he bought for $500,000 in 1990. But because his neighbours did not want to sell, the developer abandoned its attempt.

Mr Hui welcomed the move to redevelop the area because of the poor condition of the buildings. He often saw fragments falling from the ceiling and water dripping from pipes. There was no management in his building and his family had to sweep the staircase themselves.

Ms Lau, a cleaner from Dongguan, moved into a room in a seven-bedroom flat with her husband and daughter after they arrived in Hong Kong in 1997, paying $1,700 a month and sharing the bathroom and kitchen with other families.

She stayed on alone after her family got a public housing flat in Yau Tong because it was closer to work.

"I like it here because people here are less complicated. Most of them are from the mainland."

The authority will have to get approval from the Town Planning Board and Executive Council on the proposed plan before starting to acquire ownership of the land.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Sheung Wan Revitalisation Project : Sheung Wan Fong

Project objective:

The project aims to create a new hub for community activities in the Western Market and Morrison Street area.

Project content:

* a major refurbishment of the venerable Western Market shopping mall that serves as an anchor to the project,
* construction of a multi-purpose public square to be named Sheung Wan Fong,
* re-paving, widening and beautification of sidewalks around the Western Market and the square,
* beautification of a footbridge linking Western Market to Gala Point and Shun Tak Centre, and
* re-designing a nearby MTR structure and a tram station into streetscape features.


The URA, Highways Department, Home Affairs Department and the Central & Western District Council.

Supporting organisations:

The MTR Corporation, Hong Kong Tramways Limited, Transport Department, Lands Department and Telford Recreation Club.

Sheung Wan Fong Project Logo:

Design of the Sheung Wan Fong project logo, in the form of a square, reflects its Chinese literal meaning. The compass motif signifies the important history of this part of Sheung Wan where stands a historical building of Western style and goods from the East were shipped in for trade. Circles spinning around the compass represent the incessant and enriching impact of the revitalisation project to promote and enhance socio-economic activities in the area, from near to far away.

Sheung Wan Fong Project Area:

(A) Western Market and the surrounding footpath

Western Market will be refurbished and the footpaths immediately surrounding Western Market will be widened and repaved with a special pattern to reflect the architectural style and colour of Western Market. Special lighting and bollards of a similar style will also be provided to enhance attractiveness.

The Present Look of Western Market

New Paving Pattern

(B) MTRC vent shaft

MTRC vent shaft in front of Western Market will be beautified.

(C) Morrison Street Open Space

Re-alignment and renovation of open space between Morrison Street and Sheung Wan Complex to form a multi-purpose public square – Sheung Wan Fong.

The compass motif of the Sheung Wan Fong signifies the importance of old trades in the area, as this is a point where Chinese and Western cultures converge. It also serves as a direction guide pointing out the locations of various prominent local features in the district.

(D) Footbridge

The footbridge linking Western Market and Sheung Wan Gala Point will be beautified.

(E) The Tram station at Des Voeux Road Central

The tram station at Des Voeux Road Central will be beautified to reflect the style of Western Market.

More information & renderings :

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Sino Land to pay $160m premium
Raymond Wang
4 March 2005
Hong Kong Standard

Sino Land is expected to pay a premium of HK$160 million for converting an agricultural site in Tai Po to residential use, market sources said.

They said the Lands Department has issued a land premium offer of about HK$160 million, or HK$1,600 per square foot, for the 58,824 sq ft site.

Sino was not available for comment on Thursday on whether it would accept the premium.

With a plot ratio of 1.7 times, the project could generate a total gross floor area of about 100,000 sq ft.

Sino bought the site for about HK$60 million last September.

The project will feature low-rise residential towers containing 80 units.

Prevailing price levels for the secondary market in the district range from HK$2,700 to HK$3,400 psf, real estate agents said.

Surveyors estimated total investmentat about HK$340 million or HK$3,400 psf. The selling price is expected to be more than HK$4,000 psf after two years, representing a potential profit margin of about 20 percent.

Sino was aggressive in land acquisitionslast year and secured at least eight development sites in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Apart from the Tai Po site, the sites included a luxury residential site on Conduit Road, Mid-Levels, two housingprojects on Yeung Uk Road in Tsuen Wan and Wan Chai, another two in Sham Shui Po, and two residential projects in Shenzhen and Sichuan.

More than half of Hong Kong's currenthousing supply comes from land use conversion and redevelopment by private developers, according to Centaline Surveyors.

The remaining potential supply comes from property projects above railway stations and government land auctions.

According to the Lands Department, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Henderson Land Development sealed land premium deals in the second half of last year for residential projects in Yuen Long and Sheung Shui for HK$215 million and HK$170 million, respectively.

Sino won a 50,752 sq ft site in KowloonBay with a bid of HK$1.82 billion at last week's government land auction, far more than analysts' estimates and almost triple the government's minimumprice.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Garley Building owner to sell redeveloped premises
Ernest Kong
6 April 2005
South China Morning Post

China Resources Enterprise, having secured full ownership of Garley Building after a seven-year battle, plans to sell the site which it is in the process of rebuilding.

The company is redeveloping the building, which was heavily damaged in a tragic fire in 1996, into a 12-storey Ginza-style shopping mall. It was seeking about $1 billion, or about $9,000 per sqft, for the property, an agent said.

While construction of the 101,332 sqft project will not be completed until the end of 2007, most potential buyers are local investors who are confident in running a shopping mall near Jordan MTR station.

Colliers International director of Investment Antonio Wu said: "Most foreign investors eye retail property that is already generating a stable rental yield, while [this] property is only in pre-sale status. Interested parties are mostly local investors and developers."

The property, at $1 billion, can generate a rental yield of about 4 per cent if it is leased for about $30 per sqft per month, which is similar to rents at Ginza-style shopping malls in Causeway Bay.

China Resources Enterprise has been offloading its non-core properties in Hong Kong. The firm recently sold an office tower with a retail podium - CRE Building on Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, for $41 million.

Last October, it sold an office project near the Central escalator for $1.33 billion.

A property agent said: "The firm is selling its properties in a low profile. It welcomes price negotiation but will not put properties on tender."

The Garley Building name would probably change when the new building was completed, a property agent said.

After being badly damaged by the fire, the abandoned building became an eyesore on bustling Nathan Road. Despite strong redevelopment merit and keen interest from majority owner China Resources Enterprise, which owned about 68 per cent in undivided shares before the fire, the building went through a long land-assembly process.

In 2000, the firm had amassed an undivided share ownership close to 88.5 per cent, but it could not force an auction until 2003, when its ownership rose to more than 90 per cent, the minimum level required to force an auction according to the compulsory sale for redevelopment ordinance.

China Resources Enterprise secured full ownership from the five remaining owners in an auction for $19 million.

China Resources Enterprise said it had spent about $300 million to raise its ownership to more than 90 per cent before the forced auction.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
July 15, 2005
Government Press Release
4 Sham Shui Po sites to be redeveloped

The government will resume four sites in Sham Shui Po for redevelopment, the Lands Department says.

The Urban Renewal Authority will implement the project in association with the Hong Kong Housing Society, helping to rejuvenate the old district and improve residents' living conditions.

Mixed-use development is permitted on the sites and the current proposals are for residential developments with commercial use on the lower floors.

A total of 147 interests of the four sites - in Castle Peak Road/Cheung Wah Street; Castle Peak Road/Hing Wah Street/Un Chau Street; Un Chau Street/Hing Wah Street/Fuk Wing Street; and Castle Peak Road/Hing Wah Street - will be resumed under the Lands Resumption Ordinance.

The affected interests will revert to the Government three months after the date of the Gazette Notice to be posted on the site. Details of the private land affected are contained in the Gazette published today.

Upon completion of resumption and clearance, the four sites covering a total area of about 7,157 square metres will be granted to the Hong Kong Housing Society at a nominal premium for redevelopment.

114,707 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
^ Check post #11 for a little more info on the Hyatt. The following article has a small part about the Hyatt redevelopment :

Tung Ying joins the demolition queue
Quirky landmark to be torn down and replaced by glitzy mall
Ernest Kong
1 June 2005
South China Morning Post

After standing sentinel at one of Tsim Sha Tsui's busiest intersections for 39 years, the Tung Ying Building at Nathan Road is set to be bulldozed for a flashy new shopping centre.

A source at Chinese Estates Holdings, which bought the 17-storey property from the Hotung family in 2002, said the decision to demolish the building was prompted by the consumer spending boom and the revival of the retail property market.

"In such a keenly competitive retail market, renovation is not enough," the source said. "The entire building is likely to be redeveloped, with retail space taking up a much higher proportion of gross floor area."

The planned demolition will be the latest in a series of key redevelopments that, combined with massive transport infrastructure enhancements, will radically change the architectural landscape of Hong Kong's premier shopping district.

Market observers have been speculating over the future of the ageing shopping centre since Chinese Estates bought the building for $1.1 billion, or $2,956 per square foot, just months before the Sars epidemic decimated the retail economy.

The company shelved plans to demolish and redevelop the property during the height of the epidemic in 2003, when the building was identified by public health officials as a site of infection.

According to the source, existing tenants would be given six months' notice under a break clause in the lease.

Surveyors said soaring retail property prices and rents had made redeveloping the project an imperative.

"When the premises were bought a few years ago, the redevelopment value was quite low as the office space in Tung Ying was generating stable rents comparable to newer office buildings in the district," one surveyor said.

"With retail rents surging by more than 50 per cent in a year, redeveloping {hellip} became the obvious option."

The upper two floors of the three-storey shopping podium - which stretches along Granville Road between Nathan Road and Carnarvon Road - are occupied with laboratories and medical clinics, some of which have been there since the building opened in 1966. The ground floor is a quirky collection of shops selling wigs, used cameras and curios.

The surveyor estimated development costs for Chinese Estates could exceed $1 billion, or $3,000 per square foot. But he estimated the valuation of a new building could easily reach $3 billion.

The Hyatt Regency hotel site on Nathan Road will be redeveloped into a building to consist mainly of retail space, according to Colliers International.

The hotel and retail operations in the building will cease on January 1 next year. The new building is expected to be completed in 2009.
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