Restoring former glory
Historically, The Peak has always been about exclusivity. Residents were privileged senior officials, diplomats and taipans of major 'Hongs' (trading companies). They were not only wealthy, but enjoyed supreme social status.
But today, privilege gets a facelift. The former official residence of the Consulate General of France at 8 Pollock's Path has been bought by Ryoden Development for HK$580 million, with the market eagerly awaiting its new look.
The former taipan house of Swire, at 53 Stubbs Road, has just been built into the glorious OPUS. The project was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, who created the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
'This site has a special place in Swire Group's history,' says Martin Cubbon, chief executive of Swire Properties.
'The building has been designed to enhance and reflect Hong Kong's distinctive landscape, and is custom made for the city it overlooks,' Gehry says.
Elsewhere on The Peak, a consortium formed by Wharf Holdings and Nan Fung Development is working on a major site at Mount Nicholson Road bought for HK$10.4 billion at public auction in 2010. The group is planning to build town houses measuring from about 5,000 to 10,000 sq ft each, plus two 13-storey apartment towers.
'It is rare to see this sort of scale at The Peak, where there is no new land supply.
'The level of privacy at this residence will be very high, and it could be put to the market in 2014,' says Donald Choy, managing director of Nan Fung Development.
Wheelock Properties and its affiliate Wharf are also planning to redevelop some of their luxury properties, including 1 Plantation Road, 11 Plantation Road and 77 Peak Road.
'The location of 77 Peak Road is superb. The project will include eight opulent townhouses which match their natural setting,' says Ricky Wong, managing director of Wheelock Properties.
'Luxury home prices in The Peak and Mid-Levels area have recovered quickly after a brief dip at the start of the year, supported by sustained demand,' says Louis Ho, director for The Peak, Island South, Central and West Mid-Levels at Centaline's StatelyHome.
'Larger-sized luxury homes are particularly in demand and can sell at higher prices. Spacious mansions and houses on The Peak are even selling at a price of HK$50,000 to HK$80,000 per square foot.'
Halfway up The Peak, the Mid-Levels is a well-established upmarket residential district and, for many people, is an ideal place to live with everything in the vicinity. The appeal of elite schools such as Island School, St. Joseph's College and St. Paul's Co-educational College also add to the district's attraction.
New projects include AGENTA by Swire Properties at 63 Seymour Road, providing 30 simplex units, each occupying an entire floor. AZURA, at 2A Seymour, has 126 units for sale.
Cheung Kong will launch a 50-unit luxury project at 2A, 2B and 4 Kennedy Road, with apartments ranging from about 2,000 to 2,500 sq ft each.
The Signature, developed by New World, on 8 Chun Fai Terrace, will have 66 units, starting at 2,016 sq ft.
Also, Wing Tai's boutique-style luxury development at Coronation Terrace, The Pierre, will provide about 70 flats of about 400 to 900 sq ft.