Luxury services pull in the buyers

INNOVATIVE hotel-style services offered at Cheung Kong's massive Bayshore Towers development have helped draw crowds of potential buyers, local estate agents claim.

Peter Wong Pun-tei, sales supervisor at estate agent Centaline, said he expected the Ma On Shan estate to be 10 times oversubscribed.

Cheung Kong said on Friday the pre-sale was already five times oversubscribed after the first day of registration. Registration ends tomorrow with the pre-sale starting on Wednesday.

While agents conceded buyers were attracted first and foremost to the development's cheap prices, they said Cheung Kong's Lifestyle Plus package was a major drawcard.

Brochures on the Lifestyle package of services offer residents such luxuries as 'a relaxing massage in the privacy of your own home'.

The extensive marketing led people to queue for more than two hours to view show apartments at the 1,102-flat estate last week.

Cheung Kong sales manager David Wan said Lifestyle Plus was the first package of its kind offered in Hong Kong. He said the company would extend it to all future residential projects.

The average flat price at Bayshore Towers is $4,399 per square foot, about 15 per cent below market levels.

Hutchison International Hotels helped sister company Cheung Kong create Lifestyle Plus. It includes services ranging from domestic cleaning and car washing to a limousine service and visiting masseur.

Cheung Kong hoped such 'time-saving' services would enable residents to enjoy the other facilities available at Bayshore Towers, Mr Wan said.

Additional Lifestyle options include a laundry valet service, meal delivery, children's reading room, shuttle bus, household repairs and maintenance, toddlers' playpen and a computer on-line service for financial and entertainment information.

Facilities include adult classes, watersports, fitness training and group events such as karaoke and Dragon Boat competitions.

Residents will be able to use as many of the Lifestyle services as they wish, paying for each one individually. Mr Wan said services would be offered at 'better than market rates', but said the exact costs were not yet decided.

Mr Wong of Centaline warned that one of the major drawbacks to Lifestyle services would be more expensive management fees.

Fees at Bayshore Towers were $1.40 per sq ft, compared to 90 cents at Henderson Land's nearby Sunshine City estate, for example.

A spokesman for Nan Fung Development dismissed Lifestyle Plus as too expensive, saying management fees for residents at comparable Nan Fung residential estates were only 75 cents per sq ft.

Mr Wong suggested people could enjoy Lifestyle Plus-style facilities more cheaply by living on an estate near a hotel.

But Alex Wong Koon-sang, group general manager for estate agents L & D, said the Lifestyle package combined with low prices was attracting buyers to the estate.

The agents agreed other developers were likely to follow Cheung Kong's lead if Lifestyle Plus proved popular with home buyers.

A spokesman for Hutchison Whampoa said the company was considering the introduction of similar hotel-style services at future developments. It might also introduce them at its troubled South Horizons estate, where transport problems have dampened demand for flats.

A Henderson Land spokesman praised the Lifestyle Plus concept but said he did not know if Henderson would introduce a similar scheme.

Spokesmen for developers Nan Fung and Swire Properties said their firms had no plans to introduce such services.

A Sun Hung Kai Properties spokesman said the company was not planning to introduce hotel-style services.