Hong Kong developer Swire Properties said on Wednesday it will put its Eight Star Street residential project on sale in the fourth quarter this year at the earliest.
The site in Wan Chai, formerly known as 21-31 Wing Fung Street, is being redeveloped into a 24-floor, 34,000 sq ft residential building with retail outlets on two base levels. Work is in progress on its superstructure.
Swire Properties is among major developers in the city that are actively building up their land banks through the acquisition of old buildings for housing projects in urban areas amid a limited supply of fresh plots.
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“In some prime locations, where vacant sites are generally unavailable, site [combination] is likely to be the only way to acquire plots for redevelopment, which also helps speed up Hong Kong’s urban renewal process,” a spokesman said. But the acquisition of old buildings is not necessarily a cheaper alternative to land tenders, he added.
“Acquiring and developing old buildings can be a prolonged and complicated process. In this case, it took us over 15 years to unify the titles of the site,” the spokesman said.
Swire Properties started its acquisition of 21-31 Wing Fung Street as early as 2001. The Eight Star Street project is just one among a vast portfolio of redevelopments by the company around Admiralty. These include Pacific Place, which was redeveloped from the Victoria Barracks.
The drawings for the redevelopment of old buildings in Wan Chai into two office blocks by Swire Properties were approved by the Buildings Department this year. Another of its projects involves the acquisition of an old building in Chai Wan, in the Eastern district of Hong Kong Island.
Eight Star Street will have 37 flats, ranging from one-bedroom units measuring about 430 sq ft to penthouse duplex units of up to 1,200 sq ft. It will be marketed in October and November, and is expected to be completed by 2022. The units have not been priced yet.
Workers from the business district are likely to be interested in the project, Adrian To, director of residential at Swire Properties, said. He said that although the coronavirus pandemic might have made home prices a little volatile of late, he felt that “housing demand was great”.
“Swire Properties has full confidence in Hong Kong’s economic prospects,” he added.
In other instances of developers acquiring old buildings to boost their land banks, Henderson Land Development, Hong Kong’s third-largest developer by value, applied for the compulsory auction of 94, 94A and 96 Robinson Road in Mid-Levels this month. The project is worth about HK$353 million.
Elsewhere, the city’s Lands Tribunal in late August approved an application by New World Development to force a compulsory sale of the 68-year-old State Theatre Building in North Point, which also includes residential and commercial units, at a reserve valuation of HK$4.77 billion. The developer said it will preserve the essence of the theatre. Chuang’s Consortium International, meanwhile, acquired old buildings at 16-18 Gage Street in Central in mid-July for HK$332 million.
Swire Property’s announcement comes as six projects with 726 flats go on sale this Saturday, in what is expected to be the biggest weekend sale in a year.
On Wednesday, Chevalier International Holdings priced the first 50 flats at its Sablier project in Tai Kok Tsui at HK$20,934 per square foot after discounts, 13.7 per cent cheaper than the first batch of flats at the Aquila Square Mile development nearby.
More from South China Morning Post:
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- Sun Hung Kai Properties makes massive changes to West Kowloon project, drops one tower and adds more open space
- Hong Kong property transactions sink to lowest level since April as third wave of coronavirus weighs on sentiment