Hong Kong property

Wong Chuk Hang Station draws few bids from property developers as site requires huge investment

Five bids have been submitted to the MTR, compared with the 36 expressions of interest received in June

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2018, 9:28pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2018, 11:13pm

A major land site in Hong Kong’s Wong Chuk Hang area has received lukewarm response from developers as it will require as much as HK$37.65 billion (US$4.79 billion) to develop and could become the city’s most expensive real estate on the railway line by 2024.

Five bids were received for phase three development of the site next to the Wong Chuk Hang Station when the tender closed at 2pm on Tuesday, according to the MTR Corporation.

Sun Hung Kai Properties, CK Asset Holdings, Henderson Land Development, Chinachem Group and a consortium consisting of New World Development, Wheelock Properties, Sino Land, China Overseas Land & Investment and K. Wah International submitted bids for the site.

“The number of bids is disappointing and out of expectations,” said Thomas Lam, senior director at Knight Frank.

In June, a total of 36 players had submitted expressions of interest for the tender.

The lack of interest was due to reasons including the high investment costs involved, the need to form consortiums and recent housing policies that hurt sentiments, said Midland Surveyors director Alvin Lam.

“The financial risk of a big project like this is high,” said Lam. “The formation of consortiums also reduces the number of bids.”

The winning bidder is required not only to pay an estimated HK$12.9 billion in land premium to the government in a one-time payment, the highest in railway development projects, but also to implement a profit sharing ratio of 25 per cent with the MTR.

The financial risk of a big project like this is high
Alvin Lam, Midland Surveyors

With a total gross floor area of more than 1.5 million square feet, or the size of 21.7 soccer pitches, the total development cost of the site could reach HK$37.65 billion, or HK$25,000 per sq ft, according to Pruden Group.

Flats could fetch HK$45,000 to HK$50,000 per sq ft, said Pruden’s corporate development director in valuation and property management Leo Cheung.

The site, the closest to the station, will be developed into a project with 1,200 units in four towers and a shopping centre of 505,908 sq ft.

The shopping centre, to be financed by the winning developer at a cost of about HK$4 billion to HK$6 billion, will be sold to the MTR after the construction completes.

Midland Surveyors’ Lam noted that China’s credit tightening measures might also have dampened mainland developers’ interests. Goldin Properties Holdings and Citic did not submit bids on Tuesday despite expressing interest in June.

The entire residential property development around the Wong Chuk Hang Station is expected to accommodate 4,700 flats.