CMB expects nod for depot redevelopment

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 December, 2000, 12:00am

China Motor Bus (CMB) hopes to get the go-ahead soon to redevelop its 102,420-square-foot bus depot in Chai Wan.

The company has submitted an application to the Government to change the land use of the site to residential from industrial, vice-chairman Ngan Kit-ling said yesterday.

Surveyors estimated the proposed residential and commercial complex could provide a gross floor area of more than 800,000 sq ft, with a plot ratio up to eight times.

But they said the developer would need to provide environmental evaluations, such as potential noise and pollution impact, as the site was surrounded by several industrial buildings.

CMB's Hong Kong Island bus franchise was not renewed in August 1998 and the company is now a property investor.

Miss Ngan said the redevelopment would need about two years for the land exchange and premium talks with the Government.

The depot has been leased to New World First Bus Services until the end of August next year.

Miss Ngan said the depot would then be leased to Citybus for short terms, pending redevelopment.

Company director Henry Ngan said CMB would also target prime residential sites to expand its property portfolio.

CMB teamed up with Swire Properties in bidding for the Sai Wan Ho waterfront residential site at this week's government tender.

Mr Ngan also expressed interest in another large residential site in Oil Street in North Point.

With about HK$2.4 billion cash in hand, he said the company would seek every investment opportunity in the market.

Separately, CMB is also expanding its investments in Europe and China.

The company acquired an 8,015 sq ft office property in London for HK$150 million in August this year.

Miss Ngan said the six-storey Thanet House in central London commanded a rental yield of 7 per cent.

She said CMB had already bought an office building, Albany House, for HK$380 million early this year.

The company aimed to buy properties with stable rentals for long-term investment, she said.

It is in talks to acquire a prime commercial block in Vienna.

However, no further details could be given.

Miss Ngan said the company's interest in expanding to China included infrastructure and traffic-related business.