URA cash injection to speed up development of 'small Taikoo Shing'

URA to fast track HK$17b Kwun Tong town centre redevelopment by taking a bigger role

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 4:16am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 4:16am

The Urban Renewal Authority is to inject HK$1.7 billion into its Kwun Tong town centre redevelopment to speed up the creation of what it calls "a small Taikoo Shing".

The money will go towards the HK$16 billion housing and commercial project for which expressions of interest are being invited today.

The announcement comes amid government efforts to attain a housing target of 470,000 flats in the next decade.

"The authority will have more control in both the timing and quality of the project by investing in the construction," said the authority's director of property and land, William Wan Shiu-wah.

Asked if the cash injection was a result of government pressure, he said the authority had "consensus" with the administration that flats in redevelopments should be made available as quickly as possible.

The project will consist of a four-storey podium, on which four residential tower blocks will stand.

The podium will accommodate a public transport interchange, a market for 120 traders, car parks and a public open space of about 4,000 square metres.

The project, which represents the second and third phases of the HK$40 billion Kwun Tong town centre overhaul, would require an investment of at least HK$16 billion from the winning consortium - the most costly tender in the authority's history.

It is set to provide 1,700 units of about 600 sq ft saleable area by 2019. In a next phase of redevelopment, offices and a 60-storey hotel are expected to be ready by 2021.

"The variety of development in the project makes it a small Taikoo Shing, where flats, offices and hotels are readily accessible," Wan said, referring to the Swire development in Quarry Bay.

There will be a viewing area on top of the hotel, the tallest building in the district.

Wan said the authority had studied an option that divided the podium and flats into separate projects, allowing smaller developers to participate, but felt this would cause delays. "Building it in one go means the project will need to be built by a consortium," he said.

Despite a pledge that the new flats would have an environmentally friendly design and would not use extravagant materials, Wan said they were likely to be more expensive than those in Park Metropolitan, an estate in phase one of the redevelopment.

With these selling at an average of HK$13,000 per sq ft of saleable area, a 600 sq ft flat in the new project would cost HK$8 million or more.

Kwun Tong district councillor Nelson Chan Wah-yu said the flats should have been designed to be within the reach of those who could not afford a luxury home.