Date
8 December 2016
The floor plan (inset) of K One Harbour shows a high-density co-working space. A wokstation costs as little as HK390,000. Photos: HKEJ, YouTube, Centaline Commercial
The floor plan (inset) of K One Harbour shows a high-density co-working space. A wokstation costs as little as HK390,000. Photos: HKEJ, YouTube, Centaline Commercial

No such thing as a bargain here

How many small new offices can one floor of an old industrial building have?

Consider K One Harbour, the new name of a Kwun Tong office building which is currently selling “workstations” for a starting price as low as HK$390,000.

The price is eye-popping because it’s very cheap given that a carpark typically commands a seven-digit figure. 

Scribes in the Hong Kong Economic Journal are quite familiar with the place. It is only a 10-minute walk. Some ladies in mini-skirts have been hanging flyers around the area this week, saying a particular a unit is a bargain at just HK$2 million (US$257,881).

But price is not everything.

On the eighth floor of the International Industrial Building in Hoi Bun Road, there are 97 newly renovated units between 57 square feet and 507 square feet gross area.

It might not even make the Guinness World Records. Most Hong Kong property developers know the wisdom of making big money out of smaller units.

But one cannot help thinking how many people will wait for the lift during lunch hour.

When you look more closely, you find out why it was so priced.

First, despite its modern-sounding, gimmicky name, the building is 50 years old.

Yes, it is being marketed as co-working space but the 100 square-foot units are mostly for storage.

Altogether there are 71 workstations, 16 storage rooms and 10 workstations with washrooms.

These work stations are mostly between 100 and 200 square feet and a back-of-the-envelope calculation showed that the sellers could manage make HK$200 million if all the units were sold.

Not bad under further government tightening that are forcing developers to offload their industrial units or carparks. These are not subject to the 15 per cent stamp duty.

Kwun Tong is Hong Kong’s next boom town but the building is between Ngau Tau Kok and Kwun Tong. Google map shows it is closer to Ngau Tau Kok than Kwun Tong.

Despite its proximity to Victoria Harbour, it is a good 10-minute walk from the nearest MTR station.

It is not a problem in the lovely autumn weather but it is probably too long a walk on a hot summer day.

There would be light rail through one of the most unfriendly districts for public transport but no one can say when it will be completed.

The renovated place is also about 10 minutes from the Amoycan Industrial Center, which figured in a 108-hour fire just five months ago.

Of course, the owner wasted no time pointing out that they are in full compliance with Fire Department regulations.

But because of the lingering fear, these units were priced at some 20 per cent below market price of around HK$8,000 per square foot.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch — let alone a bargain commercial unit, is there?

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BK/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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