Urban planning

Swire Properties gets Hong Kong government’s support to build new pedestrian bridge for Pacific Place complex

City authorities grant land premium waiver to developer for project which will link complex to MTR station, Legislative Council Building

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 11:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 11:09pm

Hong Kong’s Pacific Place complex will get a new pedestrian bridge, linking it to nearby Admiralty MTR station and the Legislative Council Building, after the government’s approval of a land premium waiver for its developer.

It is not known how much Swire Properties will save, with the project likely to cost HK$100 million.

Planning professionals welcomed an additional pedestrian bridge in the area, but a district lawmaker said he was surprised he was not told about the project.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Chief Executive in Council confirmed it had approved a bid by Swire Properties to get a waiver on premium payable for modifying a lease in allowing the construction of the bridge.

An inquiry to the Development Bureau about the exact amount of the waiver was not answered by press time.

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The statement also said the proposal was in line with a pilot scheme announced in the 2016 Policy Address, which encouraged land owners in Kowloon East to construct pedestrian links by waiving premiums.

Plans which improve walkability and connectivity in other districts would also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Spanning roughly 100m across Queensway, the proposed bridge will allow pedestrians direct access from Pacific Place to Rodney Street, where they can find an exit – yet to be opened – for the MTR’s South Island Line and the future Sha Tin to Central link.

It will also be joined to an existing footbridge network to the central government offices and the Legislative Council.

Ivan Ho Man-yiu, vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design, said the project had obvious merits. “It definitely improves connectivity for offices around the Admiralty area, which is very busy,” he said.

Asked if Swire Properties would benefit from the deal, Ho said since Pacific Place was already very popular at the moment, adding another bridge would make little difference in terms of business.

Raymond Chan Yuk-ming, a former president of the Institute of Surveyors, estimated that the bridge could cost roughly around HK$100 million. He said the complex location of the site and the proximity of the MTR station added to the costs.

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Lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung, who represents the district, said the District Council would usually be consulted first, but it was not in this case. “That is a little strange ... but people usually welcome projects which give them more convenient access,” he said, pointing to the MTR exit, which when opened will see a significant flow of pedestrians.

A Swire Properties spokesman welcomed the move. “A concrete timetable will come only after the footbridge’s design is confirmed at a later stage,” he said, adding that Swire would work closely with authorities to fulfil the relevant statutory procedures.