The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) will start consulting the public this week on proposed changes to its urban redevelopment scheme, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
Under the proposals, at least 80 percent of the owners must agree to the redevelopment project, up from the current 67 percent requirement, the report said.
The site must be over 400 square meters in land area to ensure it can generate enough income. The authority says all of its current development projects are forecast to make losses.
The authority is also considering revising its current compensation arrangement based on the value of a seven-year-old flat of a similar size within the same district. The plan is to change the benchmark to a 10-year-old flat or simply use market prices.
Since July 2011, the URA has launched nine demand-led redevelopment projects. While a Sham Shui Po project was put on hold, the eight others are expected to incur losses of at least HK$100 million each. The URA said it had no alternative but to suspend the projects and determine if they are still sustainable.
The authority expects to complete the consultation, which will include a session at the Legislative Council in June, and implement the recommendations by the end of this year.
Some people involved in previous redevelopment projects doubted the feasibility of the new proposals, noting that lowering the compensation amount may discourage the residents from surrendering the flats for redevelopment, the newspaper said.
As urban decay worsens, the government needs to come up with new solutions, including injecting capital into the URA for urgently needed projects without considering their market value too much, according to Professor Edward Yiu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s geography and resource management department.
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