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Offer letters to property owners affected by the Kwun Tong Town Centre project are ready to be sent off today.

Property acquisition for Kwun Tong Town Centre project commences

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Monday) issues letters to owners of all 1,657 legal property interests of the Kwun Tong Town Centre project on the purchase of their property interests.

A spokesperson for the URA said: "Eligible owner-occupiers of domestic properties will be offered $5,937 per square foot of saleable floor area, which is based on the assessment of the unit rate of a notional 7-year-old flat as at 1 December 2008. The said rate has carefully been arrived at based on a valuation mechanism which is virtually transparent, open and fair.   In view of the large number of property interests involved and the aspirations of the affected residents and the community, the URA has enhanced the valuation mechanism by appointing 11 independent valuation firms instead of the usual practice of commissioning seven to perform the unit rate assessment."

At the same time, the valuation reports compiled by the 11 independent surveying firms appointed to perform the notional 7-year-old flat unit rate assessment, in bilingual versions, and their company profiles will be put on display at the URA Resource Centre at Hip Wo Street from 30 December onwards for owners' information.

Owners will have ample time to consider the URA's offers and to accept them within 90 days after receiving the offers, unlike the normal practice of a 60-day period.

"The acquisition offers for domestic properties are based on the Government's Home Purchase Allowance (HPA) policy in which it is the difference between the market value of the acquired property and that of a notional seven-year-old flat of similar size in a similar locality, " he explained.

In addition to the market value of the acquired properties, eligible owner-occupiers will receive the full HPA amount whereas owners of tenanted and vacant domestic properties will receive a supplementary allowance (SA) up to half of the HPA.

Eligible owner-occupiers of domestic properties will also receive an incidental cost allowance (ICA), where applicable, as an incentive for them to accept the offers within the 90-day period.  The current ICA for owner-occupied domestic property is $111,900 or $111 per square foot ($1,195 per square metre) of saleable floor area, whichever is higher. For domestic property which is tenanted or vacant, the ICA is $87,700.

The acquisition offers to eligible owners of non-domestic properties will include an ex-gratia allowance on top of the market value.  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 whereas 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.

Eligible shop owners who occupy the shops and shop tenants will enjoy an additional ex-gratia business allowance (EGBA) up to three times the rateable value payable at the rate of 0.1 time rateable value for each year of continuous occupation of the premises up to a maximum of 30 years, subject to a minimum amount of $70,000 and a maximum of $500,000.

For a building in single ownership, it is valued either on its existing use value plus relevant allowances for shops and domestic units in the building or on its redevelopment value plus 5% as ex-gratia allowance, whichever is higher.

Over 30 briefing sessions will be held in the coming weeks to explain the acquisition and rehousing arrangements for the affected residents, he noted.

Also beginning from today, the Resource Centre at Hip Wo Street, Kwun Tong will operate from 9 am to 9 pm, seven days a week, to provide one-stop service to residents in need.  Members of the public may also contact URA staff at the Resource Centre via its hotline (2110-5858).

Meanwhile, the urban renewal social service team of the Christian Family Service Centre (Tel: 3580 8841) has also geared up to provide professional and counselling services alongside URA frontline staff for the affected residents.  Residents and owners who want to make enquiries may also call the URA hotline at 2588-2333.