URA commences a new redevelopment project in Yau Tsim Mong District
The statutory planning procedures for a new redevelopment project of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) at Reclamation Street/Shantung Street in Mong Kok commenced today (Friday). This is the 10th redevelopment project being implemented by the URA in Yau Tsim Mong district.
At a media briefing this morning, Executive Director (Operations & Project Control) of the URA, Mr Calvin Lam, said the project was undertaken in view of the dilapidated conditions of the majority of the buildings within the project area. While providing synergy of URA's renewal efforts in the district, this project will help some 300 households improve their living environment.
"The URA has been contributing to the renewal of the district. Its nine commenced development projects altogether have helped some 3,500 residents improve their living environment. The Authority's rehabilitation work has also helped owners of some 31,000 units living in 350 buildings. Besides, the Authority is preserving and revitalising two clusters of shophouses on Shanghai Street and Prince Edward Road, and revitalisation work of five themed streets in the heartland of Mong Kok is making headway," said Mr Lam.
In accordance with Section 23 of the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance (URAO), an URA notice announcing the commencement of the project is published in the Gazette today.
Located at the junction of Reclamation Street and Shantung Street in Mong Kok, the project is about 1,640 square metres in site area. Built in 1959 and 1963, the 20 street numbers of buildings within the project area are in a generally poor condition. The buildings are six to eight storeys with no lifts and unauthorised rooftop structures are found.
The project affects a total of 172 property interests. It is estimated that there are about 300 households, but the actual number has yet to be ascertained in a freezing survey conducted by the URA today.
The URA's initial proposal is to redevelop the site to provide about 168 residential units with flat sizes of around 35 square metres to 65 square metres, including some at the lower levels for flat-for-flat option. It is tentatively scheduled for completion by 2019/2020, said Mr Lam.
The acquisition and rehousing cost for Reclamation Street/Shantung Street project is estimated at about $1,023 million at current prices. Adding construction, interest and other costs to the budget, the total development cost is projected to reach $1,760 million.
A two-month consultation period will begin under Section 23 of the URAO. Within the period, a site plan delineating the boundary of the project plus a general description will be put on display for public inspection at:
- the Urban Renewal Authority Headquarters, 26/Floor, Cosco Tower, 183 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong;
- the Urban Renewal Authority's Mong Kok Neighbourhood Centre, G/F, 12-14A Yim Po Fong Street, Kowloon; and
- the Public Enquiry Service Centre of the Yau Tsim Mong District Office, G/F, Mong Kok Government Offices, 30 Luen Wan Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon.
In accordance with the new Urban Renewal Strategy, the URA will make the Stage 1 Social Impact Assessment (SIA) report available for public information at the above venues from 10 February 2012. The Stage 2 SIA report will be made available for public information at the above locations from 26 March 2012.
Should there be any written objections to this project received during the two-month consultation period, the URA will consider and deliberate them individually. Included in its submission of the development project to the Secretary for Development for consideration will be the URA's deliberation on the objections, unwithdrawn objections, and an assessment of the likely effect of the implementation of the project. Under Section 24 of the URAO, the Secretary for Development shall then consider the development project and any objections which are not withdrawn and determine whether to authorise or amend or decline to authorise the development project.
If approval to implement the project is eventually granted by the Secretary for Development, the URA will commence acquisition of the properties and re-housing for the tenants in accordance with the prevailing acquisition and rehousing policies, said Mr Lam.
Also speaking at the media briefing, Director (Acquisition & Clearance), Mr Joseph Lee, said some 100 URA staff members were deployed to conduct the freezing survey to ascertain the actual number of households and the occupancy status of the properties within the project area. "The URA will arrange public meetings shortly to explain to the affected owners and tenants the planning approval procedure and the prevailing acquisition and compensation arrangements."
"Like other new redevelopment projects commenced after 24 February 2011 under the new Urban Renewal Strategy, the flat-for-flat option will be offered as an additional option to cash compensation to the domestic owner-occupiers subsequent to the project authorisation. Such owners can consider taking cash compensation or using it to buy a new flat in-situ in the new development or in the Kai Tak development," he said.
The flat-for-flat option is only an additional option and the amount of cash compensation and ex-gratia payment offered to a domestic owner-occupier will not be affected by his/her choice in joining the flat-for-flat arrangement. Neither is it a direct exchange of an old flat for a new one.
Mr Lee said the URA would, in exceptional circumstances, adopt a compassionate approach on assessing the eligibility for ex-gratia payment of elderly owners of tenanted domestic units who relied on the rental income from their properties for a living.
An urban renewal social service team staffed by professional social workers of Salvation Army, which was 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 2117 8672. Affected residents can also visit the URA's Mong Kok Neighbourhood Centre, G/F, 12-14A Yim Po Fong Street, Kowloon 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.