Skipping floors no deception, says Lee
Henderson Land Development's marketing gimmick of selectively numbering the floors on a 46-storey luxury residential project so it could sell units on the auspiciously numbered 66th, 68th and 88th floors did not involve any 'deception', chairman Lee Shau-kee said yesterday.
'There was no deception at all,' he said.
'The more floors we jump, the more interesting it becomes. And it sounds better, mainly because our customers love these numbers.
'This [practice] is not misleading at all.'
Lee spoke yesterday for the first time since the South China Morning Post revealed its residential building at 39 Conduit Road used a floor numbering system that dispenses with 48 floors and labels the top three floors 66, 68 and 88. These are lucky numbers in Chinese numerology.
Lee said the buyer paid a record HK$439 million or HK$88,000 per square foot of saleable area for a duplex on the second-highest level of the development. This was labelled the 68th floor by Henderson but in reality is the 43rd and 44th floors.
Lee said that contrary to a media report, the buyer was not related to Yeung Sai-hong, who has a 32 per cent stake in the project. Henderson has a 60 per cent stake.
Legislator Lee Wing-tat, whose Democratic Party has complained about the floor numbering, said he had been told by the Buildings Department and Lands director Annie Lam that the government currently had no rules covering the numbering practices of developers.
'This is ridiculous,' he said, referring to the lack of government regulation.
He said Lee Shau-kee's explanation was incorrect, pointing out that his office had received complaints from the public against Henderson's practice.
'It is misleading and confusing,' said Lee Wing-tat. 'In Lee Shau-kee's logic, developers can name the first floor as the 888th floor. If there is a fire in the building, the Fire Department or the police will think someone is making a joke when they hear the floor numbers.'
He said he would meet the Real Estate Developers Association today and add pressure to set up laws to stop such numbering practices.
In a statement, the Lands Department said: 'The floor numbers omitted is in line with the information set out in the sales brochures and is not inconsistent with the approved building plans and the occupation permit.'
The Buildings Department said it had no rules to regulate developers' numbering systems and would accept them as long as the floor numbers were in logical sequence.
'I was shocked by the two departments' failure to spot the unusual numbering of floors,' said Lee Wing-tat. 'It shows their negligence in [doing] their job.'
Missing in action
Legislator fumes about failure to regulate developers' practices
Storeys skipped in floor numbering of 46-storey tower at 39 Conduit Road: 48