Far East Consortium International (Feci) hopes to generate more than HK$355 million from selling two hotels, one in Australia and another in the United States, to accelerate its land acquisition in Hong Kong. Deputy chairman David Chiu Tat-cheong said the company had signed a letter of intent to sell its Rockman's Regency Hotel in Melbourne for A$40 million (about HK$184.33 million). The Dallas Grand Hotel in Dallas, Texas, would be put on the market at an asking price of US$22 million, he said. The proceeds from the sale of the properties would be used to acquire residential sites in Hong Kong. Feci had already spent about HK$300 million for five development sites and one residential property in Hong Kong over the past 12 months, Mr Chiu said. The company would continue to expand its land bank in Hong Kong amid the market downturn. Its strategy was to focus on property development in Hong Kong and the mainland after generating capital from disposal of non-core assets. Feci needed to spend another HK$180 million in construction costs for the five residential developments over the next three years, he said. The five developments, providing a combined gross floor area of about 213,760 square feet, are in Hunghom, Sai Kung, Yuen Long and Tai Kok Tsui. They should be completed between 2001 and 2003. Mr Chiu was bullish on the residential market, despite recent poor market sentiment. 'We believe a reasonable profit will be generated as long as the development costs can be controlled at below HK$3,000 per sq ft for residential projects,' he said. He said the price of office space in Tsim Sha Tsui had fallen to about HK$2,000 per sq ft, that in Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan was HK$3,900 and space at Nine Queen's Road, in Central, was HK$6,000 per sq ft. Demand for offices was expected to pick up because there would be no new land supply for office development in the next 18 months. Apart from Hong Kong, Mr Chiu said Feci would become more aggressive in expanding into the mainland property market through its property arm New China Homes, which listed on Nasdaq last year. He said New China Homes had committed 200 million yuan (about HK$187.3 million) in a large-scale residential and office project in Beijing. The proposed development will provide 1.3 million sq ft of residential space and 550,000 sq ft of office space. There will be 840 residential units, each measuring 1,100 sq ft, with 343 parking lots. Mr Chiu said residential units would be offered for pre-sale at the end of the year and the sale price could be up to about 700 yuan per sq ft because they were in a prime location.