Redevelopment set for the Mid-Levels

The Young Reporter (1979, December 15), 12(05), pp. 1, 8.
Author: Patrick Chan.
Permanent URL - https://sys01.lib.hkbu.edu.hk/bujspa/purl.php?&did=bujspa0013105


PROPERTY developers, landlords and tenants of flats and buildings on the Mid-Levels are engaged in vigorous struggle, each trying to get the best deal out of a redevelopment project as possible.

A number of properties along Macdonnell Road and Kennedy Road, are attracting developers who are out to make a killing while the property market is hot.

But it isn’t a simple matter at all, for everybody in a block has to agree — the tenants, the property owners.

If a single owner refuses, the project cannot proceed.

It is quite common thing therefore, for a developer to be at the end of a successful negotiation, only to have a rival developer sneak in and offer a single owner a better deal.

As for the tenants, they are demanding what they believe to be ^reasonable compensation.” If rejected, they would refuse to move out until the contract expires which may thereby delay redevelopment

Several redevelopment projects are being considered on blocks built about 15 years ago in the Kennedy-Macdonnell areas.

These properties are not affected by building restrictions imposed last June, when the Government began conducting a study on mid-level slopes.

With the demand for luxury flats remains unsatisfied, and with most areas in the Mid-Levels already built up, estate companies began turning to redeveloping old buildings in unrestricted areas.

These are the five to six-storey blocks and they will soon be replaced by 30-storey highrises.

These redevelopment projects, if carried out extensively, will bring a fresh supply of luxury flats on the market.

A tenant of a block on Macdonnell Road told TYR that last June, tenants were told to move out early next year for redevelopment by Cheong Kong (Holding) Ltd.

In this project, the developers expected to gain 20 flats after returning 40 as compensation to the 20 owners of the building.

“But things got held up because one owner later sold her flat to Henderson Developments Ltd., who had made an offer of $ 6 million,” she said. Henderson, now owner of this flat, wants to develop the project too.

Negotiations are still going on between Henderson and Cheong Kong.

But the property owners are undeterred. They, according to another tenant of the building, had fought back telling the dissident tenants that they could be evicted if they refused to move out.

“If they evict us before our contract expires,” the tenant said, “we will demand $400,000 compensation.” He had been renting the flat for more than 10 years.

“The flat owners have been trying to keep us in the dark about the whole project. They want us to move out, forgetting about the contract and not knowing the whole deal,” he said.

This tenant claimed that the owners were promised an additional flat by Cheong Kong after the new apartment block is completed, plus $200,000 “moving fees.”

In another building on Macdonnell Road, redevelopment is being delayed because some tenants have refused to move out until their contract expires in 1982, a resident there said. And developers are keeping tabs on this prospect.

Not only are the old buildings attracting attention of the developers, some of the new ones also have been approached.

But most of them did not agree to developers1 terms.

“We were offered only one additional flat, and $750,000 in cash as compensation, Ma flat owner of a 16-storey apartment block said. This, evidently, wasn’t enough.

Most offers by developers in Kennedy Road had failed — either because the offer was not attractive enough or the owners could not agree to the overall redevelopment deal.

Macdonnell Road is the prime target for the developers. The whole stretch is expected to change in a few years time.

“I believe land prices there will continue to rise. Last year, the average price per sq. ft, was $600. Now it’s more than $1,300, one developer said.

But the major estate companies refused to comment on their redevelopment projects in the Mid-Levels.

A spokesman for the projects division of Sun Hung Kai Properties said some flat owners had approached them.