URA commences the first two projects in the second round of demand-led pilot scheme
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Friday) commenced the planning procedures for two redevelopment projects in the second round of demand-led pilot scheme, the first batch of four projects selected to be launched in its 2013/14 business plan. The other two demand-led projects are expected to be kicked start in the next few months.
Speaking at the media briefing this morning, Director (Planning & Design), Mr Michael Ma, said the demand-led model, which provided an opportunity for owners to initiate redevelopment of their own properties, received an overwhelming response from property owners as a total of 34 submissions had been received in the second round of applications.
"Among the applications received, four projects which have fully met the set of selection criteria determined by the Board of the URA have been chosen for inclusion in the 2013/14 business plan of the Authority and duly approved by the Financial Secretary," said Mr Ma.
The first two projects selected for implementation are located at 270-286 Tung Chau Street/1-5 Kweilin Street and at 1-3B Kowloon Road/1-5 Kiu Yam Street in Sham Shui Po, having some 2,200 square metres in aggregate, and bringing the total number of redevelopment projects in the district by URA to 19.
Though URA has commenced the planning procedures for the two projects today, Mr Ma cautioned that whether the URA will continue to implement the projects after the freezing surveys depend on the fulfillment of the following conditions:
- Owners of not less than 80% of undivided shares of each lot in the two project sites accept the URA's conditional acquisition offers and sign the sale and purchase agreement within 75 days after URA has issued the conditional acquisition offers; and
- The granting of authorisation by the Secretary for Development for the URA to proceed with the projects.
If any of the two conditions is not met, the projects will cease automatically, Mr Ma added.
"Any rights and obligations whatsoever between URA and the owners, tenants and occupiers within the projects will cease to exist, irrespective of whether they are residing in the buildings within the project boundaries at the time of the freezing surveys," he said.
Mr Ma noted that the two demand-led projects have met the threshold of 67% of the undivided shares in each lot of the buildings under application. Both are also over 400 square metres in area and are able to generate planning gains for the community. Moreover, the buildings involved are in a varied or poor condition and are beyond economical rehabilitation.
He emphasised that financial viability is not a factor in the deliberations of projects for commencement.
Mr Ma went on to analyse the reasons for submissions that failed to meet the selection criteria. "Some submissions do not fulfil the 67% undivided shares threshold while some are either too small in site area to bring about any planning benefits to the community or are not dilapidated."
The two demand-led projects, involving a total of 251 property interests, if implemented, will help improve the living environment of some 420 households who are currently living in buildings of about 50 years old.
In accordance with Section 23 of the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance, URA notices announcing the commencement of the two projects are published in the Gazette today, to be followed by a two-month publication period. The URA will then consider written objections received during the publication period and submit the two applications to the Secretary for Development within three months at the end of the two-month publication period.
Also speaking at the briefing session, Director (Acquisition & Clearance), Mr Ian Wong, said about 140 URA staff members have been deployed to conduct the freezing surveys to ascertain the actual number of households and the occupancy status of the properties within the two project sites.
The URA will arrange public meetings shortly to explain to the affected owners and tenants the planning approval procedures and the prevailing acquisition and compensation arrangements for demand-led projects.
"We shall issue conditional offers to the owners of both demand-led projects soonest possible after the two-month publication period. The offers will be valid for 75 days," said Mr Wong.
"If the conditional offer threshold is fulfilled and the projects are approved by the Secretary for Development, the URA will then complete the acquisition with owners and offer the domestic owner-occupiers the flat-for-flat option. If not, the projects will not proceed any further," said Mr Wong.
The URA's current proposal is to redevelop the two projects to provide around 270 residential units of small to medium size, including some at the lower levels for flat-for-flat option. It is tentatively scheduled for completion by 2019/2020.
The total development cost for the two projects is estimated at about $2.3 billion at current prices.
During the two-month publication period, site plans delineating the boundary of the two projects plus a general description will be put on display for public inspection at:
- The URA Headquarters, 26/F COSCO Tower, 183 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong;
- The URA's Sham Shui Po Neighbourhood Centre, G/F, Shop C, 182 Fuk Wa Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon;
- The URA's Urban Renewal Resource Centre, 6 Fuk Tsun Street, Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon; and
- The Public Enquiry Service Centre of the Sham Shui Po District Office, G/F, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Such information is also available on the URA website at www.ura.org.hk.
In accordance with the Urban Renewal Strategy, the URA will make the Stage 1 Social Impact Assessment (SIA) reports available for public information at the above venues from 12 April 2013. The Stage 2 SIA reports will be made available for public information at the above locations from 30 May 2013.
An urban renewal social service team staffed by professional social workers of Salvation Army, which has been appointed by Urban Renewal Fund Limited, will provide counselling and practical assistance that the residents may need. The contact number of the social service team is 3586 3094 / 3586 3095. Affected residents can also visit the URA's Neighbourhood Centre in Sham Shui Po in person; or call the URA's Hotline at 2588 2333 for enquiries. Members of the public can also visit the URA website at www.ura.org.hk for project information.
Mr Ma added that the next round of applications for demand-led redevelopment projects from owners would be open around mid-year, after the commencement of the second batch of demand-led projects.