URA offers Hong Kong developers concessions in Kwun Tong redevelopment
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has offered a series of concessions - including dropping the HK$8 billion minimum requirement - to woo developers to bid for its single biggest project that will turn Kwun Tong's rundown town centre into a "mini Taikoo Shing".
The concession could lower the estimated original investment cost of HK$18 billion.
The URA revised the terms and requirements for the proposed development, a week after the authority withdrew the tender because the bids failed to meet its requirements.
One of the major hurdles for the project, according to market sources, was requiring the winning developer to pay an entry fee of HK$8 billion.
"Now, the URA will allow bidders to propose how much they are prepared to pay for the entry fee plus profit-sharing," said a developer, who is with one of the 10 firms invited by the URA to bid for the project under the revised tender conditions.
"It gives us more flexibility and a lower cost will also reduce the investment risk. For such a massive project, it will take several years to complete."
In June, the URA - which recorded a deficit of HK$2.3 billion in the last financial year - said it would focus on bigger and more profitable projects.
Any speeding up of the Kwun Tong project will also show support to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's pledge to supply 20,000 new flats a year as part of his plan to ease the housing shortage.
The Kwun Tong redevelopment is the largest project undertaken by the URA and covers an area of more than 5.35 hectares. The authority awarded the first phase of the project in 2009 to Sino Land, which developed the Park Metropolitan estate.
The latest phase is a 234,160 sq ft site located at Yue Man Square and Hong Ning Road, which could yield a total gross floor area of 1.65 million sq ft and 1,700 flats. It has a non-residential floor area of 357,580 sq ft for shops, a two-level public transport interchange and a hawker bazaar.
Besides scrapping the minimum HK$8 billion entry fee, sources said the completion date for the non-residential and public facilities above the podium would be extended from the previous 56 months to 72 months. There was no change in plans for the URA to buy back the retail portion for HK$1.8 billion.
The tender will close on August 26. The result will be announced by late next month.