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Property acquisition for Ma Tau Kok projects to begin soon

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) will issue offer letters to owners of 122 property interests at Chi Kiang Street/Ha Heung Road and Pak Tai Street/Mok Cheong Street projects in Ma Tau Kok within a week from today (Wednesday).

Eligible owner-occupiers of domestic properties of Chi Kiang Street project will be offered $5,173 per square foot of saleable floor area while the Home Purchase Allowance (HPA) unit rate of Pak Tai Street project is $5,492 per square foot of saleable floor area.

The Land, Rehousing and Compensation Committee (LRCC) of the URA met today (Wednesday) to decide on the acquisition offers of the two projects.

Commenting on the acquisition offers, the Chairman of the LRCC, Mr Walter Chan, said: "In accordance with established mechanism, the URA has appointed seven independent valuation firms for the assessment of the unit rate of the notional seven-year-old flat for Chi Kiang Street project while another seven surveying firms for Pak Tai Street project.  Hence, the HPA unit rate for the two projects is different."

"The acquisition offers for domestic properties are based on the Government's 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," said Mr Chan.

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, he added.

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.

Apart from cash compensation, the URA has decided to extend the "Expression of Interest in Purchasing Arrangement" pilot scheme to these two projects so that owner-occupiers of domestic properties can express to the URA their interest in getting an opportunity to purchase a new flat in the new development at market price when the project is offered for sale. This is designed for those who will have a need to move back to the same location for personal reasons such as to maintain their social networks.

Owners will have ample time to consider the URA's offers and to accept them within 60 days after receiving the offers.  They will also receive an incidental cost allowance (ICA), where applicable, as an incentive for them to accept the offers within the 60-day period.  The current ICA for owner-occupied domestic property is $111,900 or $98 per square foot ($1,055 per square metre) of saleable floor area, whichever is higher. For domestic property that is tenanted or vacant, the ICA is $87,700.
For non-domestic properties, the acquisition offers to eligible owners will include an ex-gratia allowance on top of the market value.  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.  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.

Eligible shop owners who occupy the shops and shop tenants will enjoy an additional Ex-gratia Business Allowance (EGBA) up to three times 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. This allowance is intended for alleviating the possible business loss due to redevelopment.

Upon completion of the property acquisition, the URA will make ex-gratia payment or rehousing arrangement for the tenants concerned, if eligible. The total compensation and rehousing cost is estimated at about $586 million.

The URA will organise a series of briefings for the affected owners, residents and shop operators to explain to them the acquisition and compensation and rehousing arrangements.  It has also appointed an urban renewal social service team staffed by the Salva1tion Army to provide professional and practical services alongside URA frontline staff for the affected residents.  Residents and owners who want to make enquiries may also call the URA hotline 2588 2333.

The two project sites at Chi Kiang Street/Ha Heung Road and Pak Tai Street/Mok Cheong Street cover a total area of about 18,300 square feet (1,700 square metres). Each is presently occupied by five buildings that were all built in the 1950's and are in a generally dilapidated condition. The buildings are mostly served by single staircases with no lifts and there are unauthorized structures causing concerns on safety and environmental hygiene.

The URA's initial proposal is to redevelop the sites to provide about 210 residential units and 27,600 square feet (2,560 square metres) of commercial floor area, scheduled for completion by 2014.  The community is also able to benefit from the redevelopments as building set-back design will be adopted in both projects to facilitate pedestrian flow and introduce street greening.