URA's HK$9,986/sq ft offer for Staunton St

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2008, 12:00am

The Urban Renewal Authority has offered to acquire 24 old buildings in Central for HK$9,986 a square foot of saleable floor area for domestic properties - its highest acquisition rate ever offered.

The owner-occupiers of the buildings in Staunton Street and Wing Lee Street are also being offered priority to buy flats after redevelopment at market price under a pilot scheme.

The long-delayed redevelopment scheme, a mixture of residential and commercial blocks, is expected to be completed in 2013-14. It is estimated to cost HK$1.06 billion, of which the acquisition and rehousing cost will be about HK$510 million.

Charles Chan Chiu-kwok, managing director of Savills Valuation and Professional Services, said the acquisition price was close to the market price of properties in the district, which can cost about HK$10,000 per square foot of gross floor area.

He said the booming property market and the location of Staunton Street close to Mid-Levels and Soho had contributed to the high acquisition rate.

Long-time owner and Staunton Street resident Yam Wai-sang said he sold his flat for about HK$6,000 a sq ft just two months before the acquisition rate was disclosed. 'I did not know how much longer I would have to wait at that time. I was also worried that there would be noise pollution if Henderson Land started building Centre Point,' he said.

Efforts to launch the redevelopment project have dragged on for a decade, during which Henderson Land Development mounted a successful legal battle to develop part of the area itself.

Henderson, which had spent about HK$260 million acquiring ownership of 19 per cent of the area, won the right to build a 27-storey block of flats, known as Centre Point.

The Urban Renewal Authority is expected to submit a plan on the project to the Town Planning Board that will preserve at least five tenement buildings, collectively known as tong lau, and a historic market.