URA commences the Ma Tau Wai Road/Chun Tin Street project with special measures
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Wednesday) announced
the commencement of a redevelopment project involving two rows of
50-year-old-plus tenement buildings at a site in To Kwa Wan where a
block collapsed on 29 January 2010, as well as adoption of special
measures for this special project in view of the unique
circumstances, the residents' sub-standard living conditions and
their psychological burden after the accident.
The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chairman of the URA, Mr Barry Cheung, and Managing Director of URA, Mr Quinn Law, outlined the development plan and the special measures at a media briefing this afternoon following the announcement by the Financial Secretary (FS) at the annual Budget Speech that approval has been given to URA to include the project in its annual business plan for the current financial year and its implementation under the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance (URAO). They emphasised that the special arrangements and measures are adopted due to its exceptional circumstances. These special arrangements do not apply to URA's current projects and should not set a precedent for its future projects.
The implementation of the project was published in the Gazette right after the FS announcement.
Speaking at the media session, Mr Cheung said the Authority undertook the project after careful consideration of the building conditions, the residents' living condition and the special circumstances following the recent building collapse tragedy.
"We are sympathetic with the residents who are unduly affected by the tragic building collapse incident and have been in close discussions with the Government with a view to having URA involved in helping the residents in the affected buildings and in the immediate vicinity," said Mr Cheung.
"We are prepared to adopt special arrangements and measures, on an exceptional basis, to help these residents in advance of planning approval of the project and issuance of offers for acquisition of the property interests." Mr Cheung emphasised that special measures are taken in view of the unique circumstances and residents' psychological concern about the safety of their premises.
The URA's special arrangements for this unique project are valid for one month from the date of freezing survey. Concerned owners and tenants have to make known their request to the URA within the one-month period. Details of the special arrangements are as follows:
- Domestic Owners-occupiers - if there is no objection against the project, URA can make its general acquisition offer tentatively by end of May 2010. If an owner-occupier indicates to URA that he elects to leave before URA's issuance of general acquisition offer, URA will be willing to acquire his property at an estimated market value with a 30% deposit. When the general offer is made to all owners after planning approval, an owner-occupier will be paid the difference between the compensation based on 7-year notional flat price and the purchase price which he has already received.
- Domestic tenants - if a tenant elects to leave immediately, URA will provide cash compensation or rehousing if he is eligible. If the tenant so requests and URA so agrees, URA will pay the rent on behalf of the tenant, up to the natural expiration of the tenancy agreement or up to the date of his landlord's acceptance of acquisition offer, whichever is earlier.
- Non domestic owner-occupiers - if an owner-occupier elects to cease business and leave before receipt of URA's general acquisition offer tentatively scheduled in May 2010, URA is willing to acquire his property at an estimated market value with a deposit of 30%. After the obtaining of planning approval, the then estimated market value will be re-assessed at the time of the general offer and the owner will be paid the difference between 135% of the re-assessed market value (if adjusted) and the purchase price he has already received.
- Non-domestic tenants - if a tenant confirms to leave immediately, URA will pay a special business allowance to him, which is equivalent to 0.5 Ratable Value (RV) of his tenanted unit.
While the Expression of Interest to Purchase Arrangement (EIPA)
will be offered to eligible domestic owner-occupiers who wish to
come back upon completion of the new development, non-domestic
tenants and non-domestic owner-occupiers on the ground floors will
be offered an opportunity to lease the commercial spaces in the new
development at prevailing market rents.
"We plan to provide smaller flats to the mass housing market. Over 400 residential units with an average flat size of less than 50 square metres will be built. We also do not rule out the possibility to develop the project ourselves this time," said Mr Cheung.
Other special features of this project include re-creation of the existing retail street frontage along Ma Tau Wai Road and Hok Yuen Street by low-rise retail structure, provision of about 1,000 square metres for Government, Institution and Community (GIC) facilities use and around 500 square metres at grade open space/ amenity areas which would help improve streetscape and air ventilation.
"To enhance the awareness of owners on the importance of building management and regular maintenance, we consider providing a major resource centre in the new development," he said.
Covering an area of about 3,377 square metres, the project area is bounded by Ma Tau Wai Road, Hok Yuen Street and Chun Tin Street. The buildings within the project area were built between 1955 and 1957, ranging between 4 to 6 storeys in height.
Some 540 households and 35 shops are likely to be affected by the redevelopment project, involving about 159 property interests.
The unfortunate building collapse incident has heightened the need for regular and proper building maintenance in Hong Kong and triggered redevelopment of this project which, if implemented, could help improve the living environment of residents concerned and generate planning gains, Mr Cheung added.
The acquisition/rehousing cost for the project is estimated at around $1,447 million. A deficit of some $700 million, exclusive of overhead expenditure, will be incurred.
About 130 URA staff members were deployed to conduct the freezing survey to ascertain the actual number of households and the occupancy status. "We will arrange a series of briefing sessions shortly to explain to the affected owners and tenants the special arrangements for this project," Mr Cheung added.
An urban renewal social service team commissioned by the URA and staffed by professional social workers of The Salvation Army will provide counselling and practical assistance that the residents may need. The contact number of the social service team is 3188- 2104. Affected residents can also visit the URA's Ma Tau Wai Neighbourhood Centre, Shop A, Ground Floor, 426-430 Ma Tau Wai Road, Kowloon in person or call the URA's Hotline at 2588-2333 for enquiries.
The project will be implemented by way of a development project under section 26 of the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance (URAO). It will be submitted by the URA under section 24(3) of the URAO to the Secretary for Development for consideration.
In accordance with section 23(3) of the URAO, a description of the general nature and effects of the project and a plan delineating the project boundaries are available for public inspection for a period of two months from today during normal office hours at :-
- the URA Headquarters at 10/F, Low Block, Grand Millennium Plaza, 181 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong (Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.);
- the URA's Ma Tau Wai Neighbourhood Centre, Shop A, G/F, 426-430 Ma Tau Wai Road, Kowloon (Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.);
- the Public Enquiry Service Centre of the Kowloon City District Office, Room 1707, 17/F, One Harbourfront, 18-22 Tak Fung Street, Hung Hom, Kowloon (Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.); and
- the Public Enquiry Service Centre of the To Kwa Wan Sub-office, Kowloon City District Office, Shops 2 and 3, Ground Floor, Jubilant Place, 33 Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon (Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).
Such information is also available on the URA website at http://www.ura.org.hk.
Under section 24(1) of the URAO, any person who considers that he will be affected by the project and who wishes to object to the implementation of the development project may send a written statement of his objections to the URA at 10/F, Low Block, Grand Millennium Plaza, 181 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong not later than 24 April 2010.