HKR International plans Discovery Bay, USA

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 August, 1996, 12:00am

HKR International plans to take its successful Discovery Bay concept abroad, transforming 3,500 hectares of agricultural land in California into a large-scale, self-contained and up-market residential development.

HKR, with more than $3 billion cash on hand, entered into an option agreement last week with Castro Valley Properties in Santa Clara County, California, either to purchase or jointly develop the Castro Valley Ranch.

The estimated land cost is $162.33 million.

About 1,458 hectares, or 40 per cent, of the Castro Valley Ranch site area can be used for low-rise residential development while the remainder can be used for recreational facilities such as a golf course, an HKR official said.

'We hope to build luxury town houses combining with a 18-hole golf course on the huge site,' she said.

'The concept will be very much similar to Discovery Bay.' The United States government is processing the application to change the land use to residential through HKR's US partner.

Both companies had started to work out the development plans in detail, she said.

The US Government was more concerned over whether the proposed plan complied with or improved the nearby environment than just talking about the land premium, she said.

She said it would take time to draft the development plan and it was too early to estimate construction costs.

The site was expected to provide sufficient area for five to 10 years of development.

The official said completion of the project was five to 10 years off, and that the US property market should have recovered by then.

'There are only a few such massive residential developments in the area,' she said.

'The project will be aimed at the US market. We will also consider the overseas market, including Hong Kong, subject to the situation.' She said the land bank in Discovery Bay could last only for 10 years and it was the right time for expansion, given a suitable site.

Analysts said the group's rich financial resources had pushed it to be more active in looking for investment opportunities.

In Hong Kong, HKR and New World Development's residential project, Discovery Park in Tsuen Wan, would be offered for sale next month if it received pre-sale consent this week, she said.