Plot ratio wrangle threatens $1b project

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 January, 1997, 12:00am

A $1 billion plan to convert an ageing Tsuen Wan industrial building into a luxury hotel or commercial complex may be scrapped unless the Government offers more incentives to entice redevelopment of old industrial premises, developers say.

The 44 owners of the Young Ya Industrial Building, including businessman Lim Por-yen, have proposed to redevelop Young Ya into a four-star hotel or a commercial development.

The Government has approved a reduction in its plot ratio from 15 to 9.5 times for rezoning purposes which would cut the 618,806 square feet of gross floor area by about 50 per cent.

Stephen Moh, manager of the building's incorporated owners, said they were trying to convince the Town Planning Board to increase the plot ratio to 13 times.

'We will be satisfied with a plot ratio of 13 times or 551,330 square feet in gross floor area which is still lower than the original,' he said.

'At least it will save us from losing too much if we decide to construct a new development on the site.

'The new development would provide plenty of open spaces and improve the environment as well.' He said such a large-scale development would not be feasible unless the owners could persuade the board to increase the plot ratio. He said unless they were granted more gross floor area, the owners would be forced to scrap their plans.

The Government needed to offer more incentives to encourage developers to speed up redevelopment of the ageing industrial buildings in Tsuen Wan, Mr Moh said.

The Young Ya owners' two proposals are to convert the site into a 743-room four-star hotel or build two 40-storey commercial-office towers. Both projects would cost about $1 billion.

A third alternative was to retain the existing 25-storey structure and turn it into a budget hotel or a commercial building, Mr Moh said.

This would allow the owners to maintain a higher plot ratio and lower investment costs to about $400 million, he said.

'But the community will not benefit because we will just be renovating an old building,' he said.