Hong Kong’s Urban Renewal Authority on Friday announced a new redevelopment plan aiming to build 300 small private flats with new community spaces in Mong Kok – one of the city’s most densely packed districts – by 2030.
The authority previously promised to build fewer studio apartments, and the flats in the latest planned project on Shantung and Thistle streets in Mong Kok are expected to be around 450 sq ft in size on average. Two 2,000-square-metre (6,562 sq ft) areas on the site would be reserved for community and commercial use.
Lawrence Mak Chung-kit, the authority’s general manager for planning and design, said on Friday it wanted to restructure the neighbourhood, where the oldest buildings date back to 1958.
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“There are issues about the existing buildings; some are in relatively poor building condition,” Mak said, adding the project would make the neighbourhood more liveable by revamping a garden on Thistle Street.
“The Thistle Street Rest Garden is surrounded by a lot of buildings, so by opening up the garden towards the corner of Shantung Street and Thistle Street, the environment would be greatly improved.”
A 200-square-metre (656 sq ft) plaza would also be built to connect the garden and shops nearby.
An estimated 170 property owners and 280 households – some living in subdivided flats – would be compensated or rehoused if the plan got approval from the chief executive and the Executive Council, according to the authority.
Mak added that the new project was planned for the 2019-20 financial year, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At present, the authority is unable to estimate the acquisition and development costs, but it says it will make sure the project will run in a stable financial situation.
Meanwhile, the authority has simultaneously been studying the feasibility of redeveloping Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok since 2017 – a plan involving 3,300 buildings, 80 per cent of which are three decades old or more – to make better use of the land and generate more housing.
The authority previously said the study would be finished by the end of this year.
Three options are currently being considered: one in which the post-renewal population stays around the current level of 220,000, another in which the population falls by 14 per cent and a third in which it drops by 28 per cent.
URA managing director Wai Chi-sing previously estimated the cost of the project could reach HK$1.1 trillion, and even if the authority picked the plan where the population remained the same, it could still incur a loss of nearly HK$100 billion to redevelop the area. For the other two plans, the authority estimated there would be losses of HK$200 billion to HK$300 billion.