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URA commences property acquisition for Sham Shui Po Project

URA commences property acquisition for Sham Shui Po Project

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Friday) issues purchase offers to owners of 160 property interest affected by the Lai Chi Kok Road / Kweilin Street and Yee Kuk Street development scheme in Sham Shui Po.

Measuring 35,500 square feet, the two adjacent project sites at Lai Chi Kok Road / Kweilin Street and Yee Kuk Street include some 320 households comprising 800 residents, living in 17 buildings that were mostly built in the 1950's. Owner-occupiers of domestic properties will be offered $3,894 per square foot on a saleable area basis.  The owners will have ample time to consider the URA's offers and to accept them within the next 60 days.

"According to the Government's policy approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council in March 2001, owners who actually live there will receive a home purchase allowance on top of the market value of the properties concerned. The total compensation amount will be the value of a notional seven-year-old flat of average quality in Sham Shui Po," an URA spokesperson said.

In addition, an incidental cost allowance (ICA) will be offered as an incentive to owners of domestic properties, serving as a subsidy for the removal and various other expenses normally incurred in the purchase of a replacement flat. For this project, the ICA for owner-occupied domestic property is $ 95,000 or $1,025 per square metre (about $95 per square foot) on a saleable area basis, whichever is higher, whereas for domestic property that is tenanted or vacant, the ICA is $72,500.

Landlords of tenanted or vacant flats, who have no immediate need for a replacement home, will receive a supplementary allowance equivalent to half of the home purchase allowance in addition to the open market value of their properties.

In line with practices for previous projects, the URA has appointed seven independent valuation firms for the valuation of the unit rate of the notional seven-year-old flat. These firms were appointed by ballot draw conducted by the Chairman of the Sham Shui Po District Council, Mr Tam Kwok Kiu; Member of Sham Shui Po District Council, Mr Wai Woon Nam and President of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, Mr Wong Chung Hang.

The lowest and highest valuations are eliminated before averaging the remaining five as the final unit rate for calculating the offers.
 
"This broad-based and objective method of valuation has proved to be well accepted by most owners in previous projects," the spokesman added.

For non-domestic properties, the acquisition offers will include an ex-gratia allowance on top of the open market value.  The allowance for tenanted or vacant non-domestic property is 10 per cent of its market value or one time the government rateable value, whichever is higher.  The allowance for owner-occupied non-domestic property is 35 per cent of its market value or four times its rateable value, whichever is higher.

It is estimated that the total cost of acquisition and rehousing is $654 million. Together with the construction, interest and marketing cost for the future development, the total expenditure on the development scheme will be about $ 1.34 billion.

The URA's initial proposal is to redevelop the sites to provide about 390 residential units, 50,000 square feet of commercial floor area and 4,300 square feet of open space for public use, subject to the endorsement of the TPB.

Following the issue of purchase letters, the URA will hold briefing sessions next week to explain to the owners and tenants the URA's acquisition and compensation/rehousing arrangements.  Residents are also welcomed to contact the URA's Neighbourhood Centre at 68 Bedford Road, Tai Kok Tsui (Tel: 2391 2992) or call the URA hotline at 2588 2333 for any enquiry they may have.

The Authority has commissioned an urban renewal social service team staffed by professional social workers of the Salvation Army (Tel: 2391 6716) to provide counseling service and practical assistance to residents who may encounter personal or family problems.

The URA, together with the Hong Kong Housing Society, have so far launched the following projects in Sham Shui Po: Fuk Wing Street / Fuk Wa Street, Po On Road / Shun Ning Road, Po On Road / Wai Wai Road, Castle Peak Road / Cheung Wah Street, Un Chau Street / Hing Wah Street / Castle Peak Road, Hing Wah Street / Un Chau Street / Fuk Wing Street, Castle Peak Road / Hing Wah Street, Lai Chi Kok Road / Kweilin Street / Yee Kuk Street and Hai Tan Street / Kweilin Street / Pei Ho Street projects. Covering a total site area of about 247,000 square feet, these projects will bring substantial improvement to the district.

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