Merry Court owners split over price

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am

Half the flat owners in Merry Court in Mid-Levels have voted in favour of a collective property sale but are divided over an offer of HK$10,556 per square foot from Henderson Land Development.

The developer has offered prices ranging from HK$12 million to HK$14 million for each unit in the 140-unit Merry Court, in order to acquire the block and combine it with the neighbouring block of Merry Terrace to create a site for a new luxury residential development.

Flat owners in Merry Court met to discuss the offer last Friday and 81 owners voted in favour of selling their units. However, some owners could not agree on the price on offer from Henderson.

Some owners of units on higher levels wanted higher prices, while eight owners present voted against selling. The remaining flat owners were not present at the meeting.

'Some flat owners feel it is unfair of the developer to offer the same price whether the units are on higher floors or lower floors,' one homeowner said. 'And some owners feel it is unfair that the offers are 28 per cent lower than those made for units in Merry Terrace.'

Flat owners in favour of selling have now established a committee to handle a collective sale.

The committee would continue to negotiate with the property agent appointed by Henderson, said one of the owners, but its main target would be to try to get 90 per cent of owners to agree to put their units up for collective sale.

The committee members believe that with at least 70 per cent of owners in agreement, they could succeed in attracting other offers from developers for acquisitions.

However, Jones Lang LaSalle international director Lau Chun-kong had a different view on the issue and warned that developers might not be attracted to making offers on the property if only 70 to 80 per cent of unit owners were in agreement to proceed with a collective sale.

'Developers have to suffer higher investment risks if they fail to secure 90 per cent agreement to sell,' Mr Lau said.

'The other reason is that they may not gain extra gross floor area through the redevelopment of Merry Court due to the limitation of the development plot ratio.'

Meanwhile, Henderson has acquired about 90 per cent ownership of Merry Terrace, according to sources.

'Merry Court offers an inducement to Henderson Land as it is next to Merry Terrace, which will allow it to develop a larger residential project,' Mr Lau said.

But he said acquiring Merry Court was not a 'must' for Henderson since the site on which Merry Terrace stood was large enough to develop a large-scale residential project.