Building industry looks forward to mini-boom
THE construction industry is looking forward to a mini-boom when the Government disposes of the 25 military sites not wanted by the Chinese Government.
The 15,428 flats the Government says could be built at the bases are equivalent to 60 30-storey apartment blocks, roughly the size of the Taikoo residential complex on Hong Kong Island.
Consequently, architects, engineers, contractors and building material suppliers will all benefit from the plans. The only question is when.
''The sites will be made available piecemeal as and when the British military withdraws, so it is difficult to predict when we might feel the benefit,'' said KA Construction managing director, Carl Chu Ka-shing.
One area, the Burma Lines complex in Fanling, which the Government says could be redeveloped into 4,735 flats, has already been returned by the military and is occupied by the police.
Other important sites, including the British Military Hospital, which could be redeveloped into 2,171 apartments, and Perowne Barracks in Castle Peak Road, which the Government estimates could provide 3,970 flats, are not due to be returned until next year or later.
Mr Chu also said many sites could be retained by the Government because they are in remote areas which will be harder to dispose of.
Mr Chu said Mount Austin Mansions, which could provide 26 flats, Mission Road, where 256 flats are planned, and the British Military Hospital were in prime locations and could be sold off first. But Burma Lines and Perowne Barracks were in less attractive areas, he said.
Builders want to know what type of work will be involved and whether the bases will be completely redeveloped or just renovated and redecorated.
The Government will consider a report in the next few weeks on how the bases should be secured and maintained until they are either sold off or taken over by the People's Liberation Army.
The review, by First Pacific Davis, was commissioned by the Government Property Agency which believes many of the sites could be used temporarily by community groups and other organisations.