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URA issues acquisition offers for Po On Road/Shun Ning Road Project

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) issues offer letters to the owners affected by the Po On Road/Shun Ning Road redevelopment project today (10 October) to acquire their properties by private agreement.

A URA spokesman said that about $170 million would be used to purchase all the 72 interests involved in this project, which affects about 200 households. A total cost of $465 million is expected for the development of the project.

"The owners will have ample time to consider our offers and to accept them within the next 60 days," he said.

Purchase offers of the URA are based on the Government's Home Purchase Allowance (HPA) policy that reflects the market value of a notional, seven-year-old replacement flat in a similar locality as compensation to owner-occupiers of domestic properties. 

For the valuation of the current market value of a notional, seven-year-old replacement flat in a similar locality, the URA has adopted a new method that incorporates the independent valuations of a total of seven reputable surveyor firms appointed by the Authority by open tender.

"Obviously, the new method is more broad-based, objective and credible than the previous method of using two surveyor firms. This will inspire even greater confidence of the owners in our offers," the spokesman explained.

The purchase offers also include an incidental cost allowance, where applicable, as an incentive to encourage owners to sell their domestic properties to the Authority within the 60-day period. This allowance will serve as a subsidy for the removal cost and various expenses incurred in the purchase of a replacement flat. 

For an owner-occupied domestic property, the incidental cost allowance is $1,085 per square metre of the saleable area and, in any event, will not be less than $96,000. For domestic property that is either tenanted or left vacant, the allowance is $73,250.

The incidental cost allowance is kept under constant review and adjusted for each individual project as and when appropriate.

As for non-domestic premises, the existing valuation and compensation arrangements will remain unchanged.

"We have begun sending out the offer letters to individual owners today. The letters contain all the details of the offers, the valuation method and the incidental cost allowance," the spokesman said.

In addition, the Authority will organise a series of briefings for both the domestic and non-domestic owners shortly on details of the offers and the acquisition procedure. The staff of the Authority's hotline service (telephone no. 2588 2333) and its neighbourhood centre in Sham Shui Po are prepared to answer any enquiries that the residents may have.

The Authority appreciates that some residents may experience personal or family difficulties during the process of acquisition and removal. Therefore, an urban renewal social service team based in Sham Shui Po has been designated to provide counselling service and practical assistance to these residents.

Spanning a site area of 1,380 square metres, the project will yield 180 residential flats and some retail units with an area of over 2,000 square metres. Open space of 250 square metres will also be provided for the enjoyment of the local community.