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Weekend Property

Discovery Bay draws expatriate families to thriving plaza and expanding infrastructure

Enclave attracts families to improved travel facilities, community events and a greater range of accommodation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 9:40am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 6:26pm

Less than an hour’s ferry ride from Central, Discovery Bay offers a pristine lifestyle to those who love nature and golf.

Developed and managed by HKR International, Discovery Bay , or “DB”, as residents call it, is a large residential development with a shopping mall, a regular ferry service to Central and several restaurants.

DB residents are proud of the enclave’s sense of community. The DB Main Plaza is their focal point and provides a space for community-wide events and activities.

At Lunar New Year, Easter, Dragon Boat Festival or Christmas, for example, family-friendly activities with different themes are also staged there and at Tai Pak Beach.

According to HKR International, the theme for this year’s festive season is “musical Christmas”. The main piazza will be filled with musical delights and the residents and visitors can enjoy their favourite Christmas songs.

The D’ Deck and the Main Plaza have been generously decorated, and live music shows will be held during the festive season.

A Sunday market on December 11 will also feature over 140 booths selling arts and crafts, eco-friendly clothing and baby products that make delightful holiday gifts.

With lots of green, open spaces, biking and footpaths, DB is a preferred residential destination for expatriates seeking resort-style family homes, says Nina Schulte-Mattler, manager at OKAY.com, and a long-time DB resident.

DB offers many playgroups and schools, including international and local options, with a variety of sports and creative activities, including arts and crafts. All these elements cultivate children’s sense of belonging, and allow parents to network with each other, Schulte-Mattler says.

“DB has a conducive environment that enables kids to grow up more independently as opposed to those living in the city,” she says. “Their school is nearby, so they have all their classmates and friends living around them.”

DB has a conducive environment that enables kids to grow up more independently as opposed to those living in the city
Nina Schulte-Mattler, manager, OKAY.com

Besides families with children, DB also appeals to couples expecting babies and those with pets. That’s why it’s dubbed as “Dogs and Babies” Bay, Schulte-Mattler says.

“Step out of your front door and you always find yourself near a green area where you can easily walk a dog or push a stroller,” she says.

Within easy reach of the airport, DB has long been home to airline cabin crew and professionals working at or near the airport.

There is a great range of rental choices depending on the family composition and lifestyle, starting with the smallest studio apartments at 430 sq ft (gross) to detached houses measuring 5,170 sq ft (gross).

“However, most tenants are looking to rent three- or four-bedroom accommodation. Rents start from HK$25,000 for an older flat in a high-rise to about HK$110,000 to HK$140,000 for three- and four-bedroom semi-detached houses,” Schulte-Mattler says.

While DB is very much a world of its own, it’s easy to commute to Central and other parts of Hong Kong. Shuttle buses, including double-decker buses, run through DB to Sunny Bay and Tung Chung stations as well as the airport.

To meet greater demand for bus services, six double-decker buses were added to the enclave’s fleet last year, and four more will be introduced by the end of this year to increase passenger capacity, according to HKR International.

High-speed ferries transport commuters to Central in under 30 minutes, with internal buses connecting to and from the ferry pier in line with departure and arrival times. There is also a taxi stand at the North Plaza.

“DB does not allow private cars and offers golf carts instead as an alternative to commuting internally. Sadly, most of the golf carts run on petrol and I would like to see more run on green alternatives, such as battery or solar power,” Schulte-Mattler says.

To improve external bus services, an upgrade project will begin in early 2017 to expand the local bus terminus. The retail podium will also be expanded to cater to a larger variety of shops and dining outlets.

Most of the units in Positano, the most recent residential project on sale in the area, comprising 102 duplexes across 17 low-rises, were sold earlier this year.

The latest development under construction is in DB North, and consists of three mid-rise buildings with a total gross floor area of 187,000 sq ft. It will provide about 196 units on completion in the first quarter of 2018.

A villa development next to the DB Golf Course will comprise six garden houses and is earmarked for completion in the final quarter of 2017. Another villa development, with approximately 43,000 sq ft of gross floor area, will also be built near the reservoir.

The developer has also filed applications for planning permission to build more new residential developments within the area in the future.