Chinese Estates Holdings, a mid-tier developer run by tycoons the Lau brothers, has paid HK$304.41 million land premium to the government to convert the Bauhaus-style Wan Chai Market into a residential project. The 70-year-old Wan Chai Market at the junction of Queen's Road East and Wan Chai Road, is part of the Urban Renewal Authority project that comprises the already completed Zenith residential projected developed by Chinese Estates. According to the Lands Department, the developer paid a premium of HK$2,044 per square foot to convert the complex from office use into a residential and commercial project. The premium is 5.6 times more than the HK$365 per square foot, HK$168 million in total, that the company paid to add more floor area to Zenith's first phase in 2003 when the property market slumped. Knight Frank Petty executive director Alnwick Chan Chi-hing said the premium that Chinese Estates paid for the latest development is reasonable because property prices for new projects in Wan Chai have reached HK$6,500 per square foot. The Wan Chai Market will be developed into a 46-storey residential block as Zenith's second phase with retail outlets. The project will provide about 252 residential units with a total gross floor area of 148,963 square feet. Zenith is the newest project in Wan Chai and released in the market at the end of September. More than 190 of the Zenith's 652 units have been sold, assistant sales and leasing manager Jeffery Leung said.