Press Statement by URA on Pine Street/Anchor Street Redevelopment Project
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Tue) issues the
following statement in response to press inquiries:
The Pine Street/Anchor Street redevelopment project involves 167 property interests (of which 24 are ground floor shops) and 213 tenants (of which 30 are shop tenants). The URA initiated property acquisitioning and tenants compensation/relocation arrangements in March 2005. In May 2006, Government resumed all properties that URA had failed to acquire, under the Lands Resumption Ordinance. In June 2006, Government made offers of compensation to the ex-owners concerned, such offers being based on the prevailing market conditions on the date of reversion of these property rights to Government. To date, only five ex-owners and seven ex-tenants are still refusing to hand over their premises occupied by them.
To enable the project to proceed in the public interest without further delay, the URA has on behalf of Government resorted to the judicial process to repossess the concerned premises whose property rights have already reverted to Government. The URA has been in constant touch with all the ex-owners/tenants affected in an attempt to ascertain their needs and assist their relocation. The URA also welcomes any requests from them for assistance in their negotiations with Government.
As regards the claims by some ex-owners that the compensation offered by the URA or Government does not adequately reflect market conditions, there is no reason why these ex-owners cannot accept provisionally the statutory compensation provided by Government in the first instance, while continuing their negotiations with Government. They may also apply to the Lands Tribunal for adjudication as to the fair and equitable compensation payable.
Currently, there is a proper mechanism to deal with compensation issues in relation to URA's redevelopment projects. Concerning suspicions allegedly harboured by some that illegal means is deployed by URA staff to threaten residents or shop owners into submission, the URA appeals for concrete evidence to be produced. Upon production of such evidence, the URA will spare no efforts in carrying out a thorough investigation and other necessary follow up action.