China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong has paid HK$480 million for an entire residential building in Sai Ying Pun, apparently to be used as staff quarters, the Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
The building is owned by property tycoon Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd., who is believed to have offered the buyer a 20 percent discount for the bulk purchase.
The deal is the largest single property purchase made by the Liaison Office since it paid HK$1.1 billion to acquire its existing headquarters in the Western District in 2011.
Since the 1997 handover, the Liaison Office spent about HK$2.5 billion to acquire 13 properties, including residential and commercial units and shops. It has bought 172 residential units for staff accommodation.
Legislator Albert Ho of the Democratic Party said the HK$480 million it spent in the latest deal is only a small sum for the central government, adding that the high-profile purchase shows that Beijing intends to increase its presence in the territory.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing declined to comment, saying he did not understand the arrangements for the property deal.
Ivan Choy, political commentator from Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the Liaison Office is taking a role similar to that of a ruling party in the parliament in the western world, helping the government in terms of political work and election strategies.
It is therefore understandable that it is beefing up its staff in Hong Kong, Choy said.
The building, which is still under construction, has 26 storeys with a gross area of of 26,112 square feet. It offers at least 48 two-bedroom units.
The deal translates to a per-square-foot price of HK$18,382, representing a 20 percent discount when compared with new property projects in the area, which are priced at over HK$20,000 per square foot.
– Contact us at [email protected]