Housing in the Cheung Sha Wan neighborhood of Hong Kong can be loosely divided into two residential neighbourhoods. Around Sham Mong Road, where houses are built on a long stretch of reclaimed land, including newer developments such as The Pacifica, Aqua Marine, Liberte, Banyan Garden and One West Kowloon.
In the inner part of Cheung Sha Wan is a mix of modern high-rise apartments and old residential buildings, including walk-up tenement buildings. New supply in this area mainly comes from redevelopment projects such as Trinity Towers. A new demand-led redevelopment strategy is helping to bring new resources to housing renewal in the area.
One of the two conditions precedent for the demand-led project scheme is that owners of not less than 80 per cent of undivided shares of each lot in the project shall accept the URA’s conditional offers within 75 days.
Given this requirement, he says the majority of owners of an old building must agree to sell the site in its entirety and must accept the conditional offer made by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
“If the building is owned by a relatively large number of landlords, getting 80 per cent of them to agree on the decision to sell is already a big challenge. Second, when there are many voices, they may eventually expect a price more than what the URA or a developer is willing to pay for the site,” says Chris Hui, director of agency (development and investment) at AG Wilkinson & Associates, a professional firm of surveyors.
Wai Chi-sing, the new managing director of the URA, admits that there’s plenty of room to improve the effectiveness of the demand-led redevelopment model.
For example, the “bottom-up” approach, in which the URA responds to owners’ requests for redevelopment, will be complemented by the “top-down” approach that factors in district-level, community-based planning.