Ah Pak

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2009, 12:00am

Luxury villa project dead and buried

A vast, three-storey villa/tomb in the town of Tangxia, Wenzhou, in Zhejiang has sparked fierce debate on the internet.

The local Xu family began construction of the eight-metre-high villa-style tomb in 2007, the Wenzhou Daily news website 66wz.com reported.

Together with their mother, three of the four Xu brothers, who jointly run a garment business in Italy, transmitted the necessary foreign currency back home to build the tomb for their 84-year-old father, who is under intensive care at home.

But when an impression of the villa-style grave was posted on the internet, a heated debate was immediately triggered, and at the latest count more than 130,000 users have hit the website on which it was posted.

Some criticised the tomb as a waste of the country's land resources and said such extravagant spending habits should be discouraged.

Others remarked that the whole affair was the business of the rich and nothing could be done to stop it.

But when the debate hit the pages of mainland newspapers last Friday, concerns were expressed by the Tangxia town authorities. It appears that in response to the mounting controversy, government officials conducted a site investigation and found the villa/tomb development was divided into five rooms reserved for the dead.

So they decided the development should be demolished, because no valid building permits were obtained for its construction.

The owner agreed to demolish the villa/tomb.

Ah Pak says the moral of the story is that the rich on the mainland should keep a lower profile.

Building three-storey tombs is just asking for trouble.

Developer takes different view

Does Wu Kai Sha deserve to be called a 'lake'? The answer is a definite 'yes', according to developer Sino Land, which began marketing its special units at Lake Silver in Wu Kai Sha last Wednesday.

Salenda Lau, a general manager of sales and marketing at Sino Group, said six units in the development, each commanding 'lake views', were sold at between HK$7,500 per square foot and HK$8,000 per square foot. The six are among the 53 units in 'Lake Garden' that are billed as having either a sea view (Tolo Harbour) or a lake view. Some property agents remain unconvinced and say those lake views are views of a lake-style swimming pool rather than a natural lake.

When it comes to marketing brochures, Ah Pak advises, read the small print.

Huge premium sign of optimism

While most developers remain tight-lipped about land premiums payable to the government for the conversion of land use for development, China Overseas Land & Investment sets a good example of transparency and disclosure.

The developer announced on Sunday it had agreed to pay a bill of HK$1.18 billion or HK$3,104 per square foot for the land premium for the redevelopment of a site in Sheung Shui into a low-density residential project.

It said the estimated total investment for the 260-villa development, due to be completed in the middle of 2012, would amount to HK$3 billion.

Ah Pak reckons that the mega land premium agreement between China Overseas and the government signifies the developer's optimism about the immediate future of Hong Kong's property market.