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  • Jul 10, 2014
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Sun Hung Kai Properties

Sun Hung Kai Properties is one of Hong Kong’s largest property groups, with revenue of HK$68.4 billion in the 2011-2012 financial year, and profit attributable to shareholders of HK$43.08 billion. The company has been shaken in recent years by disputes between family members, with chairman and chief executive Walter Kwok being forced to step down in a dispute with his brothers Thomas and Raymond. In March, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) arrested senior officials as part of a corruption probe that also included former chief secretary Rafael Hui. 

PropertyHong Kong & China
PROPERTY

Sun Hung Kai plan for residential towers sent back by Town Planning Board

Residential project in North Point differs so much from original brief that public outcry forces officials to send the plans back to developer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 3:27am

The Town Planning Board has asked a developer to improve the design of a residential project on a prime waterfront site.

Critics said the 10 towers look like a "fat wall" that would block wind flow, while planning officials described it as "distinct and interesting".

Board members are concerned that the Sun Hung Kai Properties project on the site of the former North Point estate features towers that are too close together, some just 5.2 metres apart.

It differs widely from a 2009 brief by the Planning Department that called for four, taller towers with wider spaces between them.

Several residents' groups and political parties presented a petition yesterday morning before the board met.

Board spokesman Edward Lo Wai-ming said members decided to defer making a decision on the project.

"Members considered there was room for improving the visual permeability and widening the two 5.2 metre gaps between buildings, and they asked the Planning Department to work out a solution with the developer," he said.

Sun Hung Kai submitted the project to the board in February after buying the 29,280 sq m site for HK$6.91 billion last year. It plans to build 10 blocks of eight to 18 storeys, yielding 710 flats. It is also required to provide 6,800 sq m of public open space.

During the meeting, senior town planner Irene Lai Wai-shan told the board the scheme complied with the government's building design guidelines.

"The project will have a special outlook in the area. The differing [building] heights carry a sense of superiority," Lai said. She cited the department's view that the "curvilinear arrangement" created a "distinct and interesting" form, and that the developer's proposal was better than the department's original concept as it created a large unified public open space.

The developer had conducted an air-flow assessment and found its design satisfactory.

Board member Laurence Li Lu-jen asked why the developer - just a day before the meeting - had explained why it built 10 towers instead of four.

Lai replied the department was not aware of public concerns about the site layout until media reports last week and it then asked the developer to elaborate. The 2009 scheme was only "indicative", she said.

In a letter, the developer said it needed 10 towers because non-opening windows had to be used for the facade facing the noisy Island Eastern Corridor.

This meant it had to build only two flats on each floor in four of the buildings, so bedrooms and living rooms could have the opening windows to the south. To meet the minimum requirement for 700 flats, it had to build more blocks.

Sun Hung Kai Properties said last night that it respected the board's decision, adding there might have been a "misunderstanding" among green groups and residents. "It is a balanced option and has gone beyond government requirements in facilitating air ventilation and noise reduction," a spokeswoman said.

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johnyuan
1. I remember a US architectural magazine in the 70s in an article debated and concluded that the Mei Fu Su Chuen a private housing estate developed by a subsidiary of US Mobil Oil, despite its US connection, judged the estate not warranted any architectural merit. I recalled the article mostly decried of its undesirable density. I also think that the unimaginable design may have more to do with the adverse verdict. It was in the 60s that the staged development gave an immense success in solving a severe shortage of habitation after the devastating hill fire that left tens of thousands homeless – all at once. The unfortunate thing is how an administratively successful Mei Fu had set the design standard henceforth for Hong Kong regardless later Hong Kong has the wealth to do better. In fact, housing units since Mei Fu has gotten smaller from 600 square feet to 300 square feet for a flat.
johnyuan
2. As a whole, Hong Kong people have spent accumulatively uncountable among of money for poorly designed housing of little investment by developers. Housing has by and large to been seen as an investment for both developers and buyers. Previous administration boosted Hong Kong as an international city but unrecognized so for its housing by US at least. The skewed housing development can’t really see straight when finally a luxury residential design by Frank Gehry, an American architect, his twisted building nothing really resembles anything in Hong Kong or even of his other designs elsewhere in the world. No matter what, investment for profits keeps its own kind of friends and there are plenty of ugly buildings in such a small place. So it is reported that FG's building is not renting out well.
sino.capitals@gmail.com
hong kong is too small and environmentally too limited to afford bad or ugly designs, only the best can apply to hong kong
babyhenry
The might aswell just a build a freakin wall.......... that land wouldv'e been a perfect place for a park which residence of all kind rich and poor can enjoy and leave some air for NP residence.
Have anyone tried waiting for a bus or tram in Kings road in summer? Its like freakin central - SUFFOCATING.
rpasea
SHKP....was this site part of a deal with raphaelhui and donald?
John Adams
Correction : the more greedy the better
johnyuan
The IQ content for these ten resident towers is a far cry from North Point Estate -- the resident complex they have replaced. The demised residence was designed by government architects probably in the 70s or earlier. The architects fully understood and responded to the subtropical climate condition to make living there comfortable. Each flat with windows on two sides for light and air bundled with another flat as a block that stringed and staggered on opposite sides of the corridor which opened to light and free air circulating throughout the entire complex. I can go on to sing all its intelligent features it contained that a limited comment here wouldn’t do justice. My conclusion drawing from the story and photo here is that these ten hermitically sealed and compactly packed towers are a product of property developer IQ – more flats the better.
 
 
 
 
 

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