'Secret' report on HQ revamp released

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 April, 2006, 12:00am

A 'secret study' on the feasibility of redeveloping the Central Government Offices was finally released yesterday after two months of condemnation and accusations from the Legislative Council.

The study was commissioned through the Government Property Agency in 1990 to examine the options for redeveloping the Central Government Offices West Wing in Ice House Street.

The existence of such a report was disclosed by the South China Morning Post in February.

The report estimated the cost of the project, including demolition, at $2.25 billion, yielding 100,000 square metres of gross floor area for government use within three years.

The 10,500-square-metre West Wing site, it said, was 'grossly underdeveloped'.

It said the redevelopment would make 'optimum use' of the site to maximise the development potential in a way that was 'practicable and desirable'. It suggested the government invite developers to take part, opening 57,500 square metres of floor space to private use, thus generating $424 million in rent every year.

The report will be discussed by the Legislative Council's panel on planning, lands and works on Monday.

Legislator Kwok Ka-ki said the on-site redevelopment was more viable than the Tamar proposal, which would take $6 billion and five years to finish.

'Despite repeated requests from legislators, the government has never specified how much office space is needed for expansion,' Mr Kwok said.

'It has never explained how much extra gross floor area can be provided under the Tamar project, either.

'One hundred thousand square metres of space is vast - it should be enough to accommodate government staff. And it's more cost-effective to redevelop existing buildings. It is obviously a more viable option.'