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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 11:05am
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HOUSING

Henderson tycoon Lee Shau-kee's donation of land for youth housing rejected

Government turns down Lee Shau-kee's offer of land to build flats for young people, suggesting developers should work with non-profit groups

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 2:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 9:47am
 

The government has turned down property tycoon Lee Shau-kee's offer to donate land for homes and urged landowners with similar plans to work with non-profit organisations such as the Housing Society instead.

The announcement was made yesterday by Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po, five months after Lee's company, Henderson Land Development, first said it was in talks with the government about the proposal, which involved farmland in Yuen Long and Fanling.

Lee wanted to build 300 sq ft flats for sale to young people at HK$1 million each - enough to cover costs, provided the government waived its usual land conversion premium. Following Lee's offer, Henry Cheng Kar-shun, chairman of New World Development, said his group was also willing to donate land.

Lawmakers were speculating last night whether the government rejected Lee's offer to avoid being accused of colluding with the developers.

A government source had disclosed last month that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was in a dilemma over Lee's proposal.

Chan said: "Different donors have different ideals and impose different conditions on their proposals to donate land.

"In such circumstances, we think that it would be best for these interested donors to approach non-profit organisations to explore the possibility of donating land to them to take forward the projects and realise their ideals."

The minister cited the Housing Society - seen as the government's partner in the construction of affordable flats - as an example.

Chan added that if such bodies accepted land donations, the administration would work with them on issues that touched on government policy.

Lee said he had contacted the Housing Society following the government's decision and would now rethink his plans.

He said last night: "It was my dream to build 10,000 flats for young people ... But some sites do not fulfil environmental and planning requirements." New World Development did not reply to requests for comment.

Housing Society chairman Marco Wu Moon-hoi said the organisation would be willing to explore the proposal "as long as it fits in with government housing policy".

But he said it was up to the developer to provide more information, including whether the infrastructure necessary to support housing development was in place and whether relocation of residents would be an issue.

A government source had previously said officials were worried that Lee's proposal to designate the flats for young people would cause controversy by excluding older potential buyers living in subdivided flats.

Also, it is not usual to waive land premiums for developers.

Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said the government should not rely on non-profit-making bodies.

"At the end of the day, the government has to bear the responsibility for providing the infrastructure," he said.

Lawmaker Chan Yuen-han, who represents the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, wondered whether the proposal to donate land was intended to further the interests of the developer - and also wondered what those interests were.

She urged the government to set up a transparent committee to define conditions for accepting land donations.

Lee dismissed any suggestion he was colluding with the government and said Henderson Land Development had always followed rules on land premiums.

 

 

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This article is now closed to comments

daily
Hhaahah............ a slap in the face to that old fartt Uncle 4...........the so-called Buffet of Asia.......About time the government stopped paying attention to these ty - boons........
Baggy
why doesn't Lee shau kee, donate his own house and luxury properties to the poor, and he can live in a 300sq ft house happily with his humble family. That would be the best idea ever!
mymak
Would be more impressed if he had donated some urban land for building affordable homes. Agricultural land? Cheapest land in Hong Kong! Can't normally build on it!
HK-Explorer
Because the land premium is 5X the cost of the agricultural land. He is offering land that is worth HK $200 mill at most (he paid about $40 mil). The land premium would be over HK 1 Bill $.
It is like saying I will donate $1 to charity for every $10 you donate but I will take all the credit for the $11 donated because it is my idea. Here is even worse as HK government on top of everything would have to build roads, water, electricity etc..
It is pretty much $1 to $15!! Thus pretty much Mark six win if you get the cheap house and then turn around and sell it at 5X what you payed.
aplucky1
why doesnt he build a few hospitals or schools
vile creepy slime bag has evil intentions, glad government rejected this giant POS
Giwaffe
This isn't such a bad idea. If Lee is willing to sell the flats at cost, then I don't see why the land premium cannot be waived or substantially reduced.
Giwaffe
I apologize for the confusion. What I intended to say is if Lee was willing to "sell" the flats at cost.

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