Kwun Tong renewal project hits snag

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 January, 2010, 12:00am

The Urban Renewal Authority is having difficulty taking over the remaining properties for the Kwun Tong redevelopment project because some owners are holding on to their shops or flats in the hope prices will rise further.

Authority managing director Quinn Law Yee-kwan told a year-end press briefing yesterday that about 80 per cent of the property interests in the area had been acquired last year but the process was slowing down for the remainder.

The situation was the same at 10 other redevelopment projects.

'Many owners are expecting the property market will continue to do well and they are not willing to sell their units yet,' Law said. The owners are mostly investors who did not occupy the flats or shops themselves.

The slowdown may delay the redevelopment and the authority may have to pay more compensation, but Law said it had adequate cash to cope with the risks. He declined to reveal its cash balance.

Kwun Tong, the largest of the authority's renewal projects, involves 1,657 property interests and will offer 2,000 flats.

The authority is planning to condense the four-phase development into three so that a hawker bazaar and a public transport interchange can be set up as soon as possible after residents move in. The first phase is expected to be finished by 2014.

Asked whether the authority would build more affordable flats for homeseekers in future - some recently completed projects such as the Masterpiece in Tsim Sha Tsui have been marketed as luxury apartments - Law said it was up to the market to determine the sale price.

He added that half of the 1,700 flats the authority would supply in the next 18 months would be smaller than 600 square feet.

Meanwhile, the review of the urban renewal strategy is entering the third phase of consultation.

The authority will hold a forum tomorrow for seven district councils that cover old urban areas to share the initial findings of research it sponsored on areas that residents wish to see redeveloped.