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Property acquisition of three early projects

The implementation of the three early launch redevelopment projects in Sham Shui Po, Tai Kok Tsui and Wan Chai has moved a major step forward today (28 March 2002) with the issue of offer letters by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) to the owners concerned to purchase their properties by private agreements.

Earlier, the Board of the URA has decided to adopt the Government policy of a seven-year-old flat as the basis for calculating the Home Purchase Allowance (HPA) payable to domestic owners. (See details in attached handout).

The Authority estimates that about $1 billion will be spent on acquiring properties in the three projects. Total project costs (including development costs, interest, professional fees, etc) are about $2.6 billion.

"The direct investment in the projects, together with knock on effect in the districts, will bring about overall economic benefits and increase in employment opportunities," said a spokesperson for the URA.

The purchase offers are open for acceptance within 60 days including the date of the offer. If owners accept the proposed offer, they should inform the Authority of their decision in writing within the specified time frame.

The spokesperson said copies of URA's acquisition policy pamphlet were enclosed with the offer letters. "If owners have any questions regarding the proposed offer, they should contact the URA staff whose telephone numbers have been printed in the offer letter," she said.

Upon receiving the notification from the owner, the URA and the owner will then have to appoint their legal representatives to follow through the transaction, she added.

To encourage owners of these three projects to sell their properties to the URA, the Authority will also provide them with an incentive scheme under which owner-occupiers of domestic units will receive a minimum of $105,000, or an incentive of $1,250 per square metre of saleable area, whichever is higher, while owners of tenanted flats will receive $80,000.

The URA understands that some owners or tenants may have personal/family problems arising from these redevelopment projects. To address this, the Authority has funded the setting up of three urban renewal social service teams which operated independently.

These teams are Methodist Centre in Wan Chai, the Salvation Army in Tai Kok Tsui and Christian Family Service Centre in Sham Shui Po. They have been geared up to provide assistance and counselling to residents in need, and are actively reaching out to the local communities. Their offices are located in the neighbourhood centres of the URA.

The URA has also set up three neighbourhood centres where its frontline staff will be able to provide prompt assistance to residents concerned. The telephone enquiry numbers of the URA neighbourhood centres are as follows:

Wan Chai 2573 0638
Sham Shui Po 2729 8123
Tai Kok Tsui 2391 2992