Hong Kong’s Urban Renewal Authority (URA) is adopting a new policy to speed up a redevelopment project in Sheung Wan that has been stalled for 12 years.
Instead of waiting until it acquires 80 percent of the entire target property before pushing through with the project, the URA plans to focus its efforts on one site first to start the redevelopment, Sing Tao Daily reported on Monday.
The project, known as H19, is located near the intersection of Staunton Street and Wing Lee Street in Sheung Wan.
The authority started the project in 2003 but has been unable to complete the acquisition of properties on the target land due to lengthy legal proceedings. So far it has only acquired 50 percent of the properties on sites B and C.
In order to speed up the project, which involves the redevelopment of several old residential buildings into a commercial and residential complex, the authority will invoke its power under the Land Resumption Ordinance to enable it to acquire the rest of properties on site B and begin the redevelopment.
Efforts to acquire properties on site C will be put on hold first. The URA is discussing the plan with the government, sources said.
A total of 154 apartment units will be built on sites B and C, which have a combined area of 20,000 square feet.
Issac Ng, a lecturer at the City University of Hong Kong and a former non-executive board member of the URA, said the rate of acquisitions is not the only decisive factor for an urban renewal project to begin.
Other factors such as social gain, quality of properties and financial feasibility should also be considered, Ng said, adding that the H19 project has an excellent location.
The sooner the authority starts the project, the better it will be able to deal with partners, financial considerations such as interest costs, and other projects, he said.
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