City to get its own Central Park

Sophia Wong

Leading property and infrastructure group Hongkong Land's first large-scale luxury residential project in Beijing is expected to help the developer establish itself at the top end of the market.

Executive director Robert Wong Yau-chung said he hoped that Central Park, comprising a mix of low- and high-rise apartment blocks, would become a new landmark residential development in Beijing.

He said the project could take about six years to complete.

The project is a joint venture between Hongkong Land and Vantone Group, one of the major developers in Beijing, Mr Wong said. Hongkong Land holds a 40 per cent stake in the alliance, while the partner holds the remainder.

Central Park is located near the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing's Chaoyang district, where there is a high concentration of residential and commercial properties. It will provide in excess of 300,000 sq m of residential space with more than 2,000 flats. 'Well-established developers could benefit from the relatively stable property market in Beijing as they are experienced in developing quality premises,' Mr Wong said.

He estimated that higher margins could be achieved by developing high-end residential buildings in Beijing rather than in Hong Kong.

Central Park will be developed in four phases and is subject to further planning and building approvals. The average flat will be about 150 sq m and penthouses about 300 sq m.

While sales potential is high, he said it would be difficult to forecast take-up. 'Development for sale will be the future strategy of Hongkong Land in the residential sector,' he said.

Mr Wong said existing Beijing residential developments were large projects of low-to-medium density, whereas the group's focus was on the high-end and luxury segments of the market. This approach distinguishes Hongkong Land from others. The group was exploring further investment opportunities in the residential and office sectors in Beijing and Shanghai.

The group also has an interest in Beijing Riviera, phase three, where it has some luxury townhouses for long-term leasing. This residential development, comprising apartments, town houses and villas, is situated near the airport expressway, 15 minutes from the Chaoyang business district and 10 minutes from Beijing International Airport.