The company competing with the Urban Renewal Authority to buy up properties in Graham and Peel streets, Central, will petition the chief executive not to deny it a role in redeveloping the area if it gains the support of enough property owners. Graham Street Community Builders, which claims to be offering owners better terms than the authority, was set up by Chung Chor-ho. He says the company would be happy to redevelop the area, which includes the oldest wet market in Hong Kong, jointly with the authority. 'If we can get 40 per cent of owners to support us within 50 days, we will write to the chief executive asking him to clarify whether the government will invoke the Lands Resumption Ordinance to stop us,' Mr Chung said. The authority began buying affected properties on Wednesday. Owners have 60 days to consider its compensation offer. Mr Chung said it would be a shame if Donald Tsang Yam-kuen ignored public opinion by exercising the law to declare the redevelopment area government property. The authority and the Lands Department have an understanding that if the authority can acquire 70 per cent of the affected properties, it can apply to the chief executive and Executive Council to have a redevelopment site declared government property. Mr Chung, who bought a block on Graham Street five years ago, said he had taken the lead in forming the company to compete with the authority for the purchase of the 360 properties within the 57,240 sq ft redevelopment area. He said the company would offer participating owners a property of the same type and size in the area after the redevelopment. He would pay those owners wanting cash for their properties 5 per cent more than the authority offers. The authority offers cash compensation to flat owners according to the value of a seven-year-old flat in the locality. Mr Chung, 45, said he had teamed up with partners to form the company, but would not say who they were or how many owned properties in Graham and Peel streets. Responding to doubts about whether the company has adequate financing to compensate owners, Mr Chung said it could 'easily take out' HK$100 million to HK$200 million in cash. 'A bank has also promised to lend us HK$1 billion.' One shop owner said he was very happy with the authority's offer of HK$17,000 per sq ft in compensation for his 800 sq ft ground floor shop, which was much higher than he had expected. The owner said he would definitely sell to the authority.