Planners reject Swire ideas for Taikoo Place

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2007, 12:00am

Swire Properties' plan to redevelop three industrial buildings into two skyscrapers in Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, was turned down by the Town Planning Board yesterday as the proposed heights for the buildings far exceed nearby developments.

The developer planned to redevelop Warwick House and Cornwall House into a single tower 270 metres above principal datum (or sea level), and Somerset House into a 246.6-metre tower - 54 per cent higher than developments in the area.

Nearby building heights range between 117 metres and 175 metres.

'It will definitely block the views of existing buildings,' said a Town Planning Board spokesman.

He noted that PCCW Tower is 169 metres and Devon House is 117 metres, while Warwick House and Cornwall House rise 160 metres above sea level.

'Somerset House is closer to the waterfront, where buildings should be much lower,' said the board's spokesman.

However, in 2004 Swire obtained permission to build the 300-metre grade A office development One Island East, within walking distance of the three industrial buildings.

The planning board spokesman said building height had not been a focus of public concern then.

'The board's decision has to reflect market concerns,' he said.

A Swire spokeswoman said: 'We regret the board's decision.'

The developer had hoped the redevelopment plan would provide more open space for the Island East district, she said.

The plan would integrate three industrial buildings into two office blocks, so the buildings would occupy a smaller site, she said.

But she said there was no immediate decision on whether the company would lodge an appeal.

According to Swire's proposal, the first phase of the project would involve redeveloping Somerset House into a 29- to 47-storey grade A office tower with a total gross floor area of 953,281 sq ft.

Cornwall House and Warwick House would be redeveloped in the second phase into a 54- to 59-storey office building with a total gross floor area of more than 1.05 million sq ft.


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