Church files writ to oust HK Central Hospital

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 April, 2011, 12:00am


The Sheng Kung Hui Foundation has issued a writ to force Hong Kong Central Hospital to move out of Anglican Church property so it can redevelop the prime site in the heart of the city.

Provincial secretary general Peter Douglas Koon described the lawsuit as 'standard procedure' and said the church and the hospital were on good terms. 'What we wish for the most is a happy ending,' he said.

The hospital said it did not want to comment at this stage.

In a writ filed in the Court of First Instance, the Sheng Kung Hui Foundation is claiming possession of the property on Lower Albert Road, Central, and damages for breach of the tenancy agreement.

The private non-profit hospital is housed in a single building, with an endoscopy centre, a special care unit with four beds and four operating rooms.

In October 2009, the church announced plans to convert four historic buildings into a museum and gallery, opening up the long-enclosed site to the public.

The HK$800 million development was expected to be completed by 2014. Koon said yesterday it was now hoped work on the project would start at the end of the year and would be completed in five years.

Koon said the hospital had not yet found a new site, adding that it was difficult to move a hospital because it needed to meet traffic and other impact assessments.

The writ says the parties signed a tenancy agreement in June 2009 for a monthly rent of HK$262,900. That was reduced to HK$87,633 in March last year.

Koon said the hospital had sought the reduction and the church had been happy to accommodate it.

In March last year, the church gave the hospital three months' notice to vacate its premises, the writ says. Up to earlier this month, three more notices had been served but the hospital had failed to vacate the church's property.

The church's headquarters have stood on a hill shared with Government House since 1848 and are enclosed by a fence and wall. The Bishop's House was built first, but other facilities, including the hospital and a kindergarten, were added later.