Prime site fails to attract expected bids
OF the three sites at yesterday's auction most attention was focused on a 164,151-square-foot residential lot in Tai Po.
The site sold yesterday, next to a similar one bought at auction by Sino Land in March when the local property market was at its peak, had been expected to serve as a good indicator of developers' sentiments.
Accessible to the Kowloon-Canton Railway and in a fast-emerging centre of Hong Kong, the site had been expected to draw a lot of bidding. In the end, CITIC Pacific was the sole developer to come forward.
Sino paid a record price of $2.14 billion - or an accommodation value of $4,480 per sq ft - in March for its neighbouring site when the market was strong.
Yesterday's site was zoned for low-density housing with a potential area of 271,576 sq ft. It was the third lot of Crown land for sale in the newly developed residential district this financial year.
Situated at Ha Wong Yi Au and close to Tolo Harbour, the plot, together with Sino's site, is zoned for medium-rise residential use and described as a new luxury residential area in Tai Po.
The other two sites are zoned for godown and industrial uses - the first time the Government disposed of industrial lots of Crown land at public auction this financial year.
CITIC was again the only bidder for the larger of the two parcels, covering 36,059 sq ft at Kwai Chung. The third site, in Yuen Long, was withdrawn after no bids were received.
These two sites had been expected to be less attractive to developers compared with the residential lot at Tai Po due to the limited demand for industrial space in the territory following the removal of bases by most Hong Kong manufacturers to mainland China.
Demand for godowns in Kwai Chung district is expected to be limited in the short term because it is undergoing a transformation into an industrial and office centre.
Most of the purely industrial developments in the district are applying for a change in land use to industrial/office buildings in order to keep pace with increasing office demand.
Long-term prospects appear promising once the huge infrastructure work of Route Three is completed after 1997.
CITIC can develop a maximum gross floor area of 342,564 sq ft godown on the area.
The third site was a lot on Hong Yip Street in the Tung Tau industrial area, which has 26,210 sq ft for industrial or godown use, excluding offensive trades.
With a plot ratio of eight times, the site provides a total developed area of 209,683 sq ft.
Supply for industrial space in Tung Tau's newly developed industrial area has been huge due to previously limited demand.