Swire moves to expand Island East complex

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 12:00am

Swire Properties' commercial empire in Island East is poised to expand further as the developer moves to acquire the Aik San Factory Building in Westlands Road for an office redevelopment.

An official said the developer had more than 90 per cent of the Aik San Factory Building, an industrial tower close to its Taikoo Place development in Quarry Bay.

It would soon apply to the court for a compulsory purchase of the whole building to allow assembly of all land titles, the official said, referring to the legislation which enables majority owners to pursue a full acquisition of a property.

The redevelopment can provide about 400,000 square feet of grade-A office space in yet another Swire commercial block in the area.

The company is among the first developers making use of the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance - enacted to resolve deadlocked redevelopment of old properties.

The law allows an owner with 90 per cent of the land titles in an old building to apply to the Lands Tribunal for an order to sell the whole building through an open auction.

The major owner can bid for the whole lot in the open auction.

There are five applications for compulsory sale orders with the Lands Tribunal waiting for judgments.

The Aik San Factory Building, at the junction of Westlands and Taikoo Shing roads, is surrounded by old industrial buildings and residential complexes, including the massive Taikoo Shing housing estate, also built by Swire. It is located at the inner end of Taikoo Place.

Agents said Swire's acquisition of individual units at the building dated back to 1997.

If the property was rebuilt, the surrounding environment would be improved, providing a better exit for Taikoo Place, especially its three 'techno centres' - Somerset House, Warwick House and Cornwall House - in addition to its King's Road frontage.

In May, Swire acquired the Haking Wong family's commercial site at 981 King's Road for HK$435 million and is building the 32-storey, 270,000 sq ft Cambridge House as part of its expansion of Taikoo Place.

It also is developing offices in its neighbouring Cityplaza complex - including the redevelopment of Mount Parker House into the 34-storey Cityplaza Two office tower and a plan to add 16 floors for a total of 448,000 sq ft on top of Cityplaza One.

Settlement of Swire's full ownership of an aged building in Wan Chai has enabled the company to enlarge the scale of its development at Queen's Road East by 100,000 sq ft and combine two buildings into a single tower with more than 600,000 sq ft of floor area.