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LCQ7: Railway property development projects

Following is a question by the Hon Michael Tien and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (April 30):

Question:

The Secretary for Development said earlier that railway property development projects (projects) in the past several years concentrated on sites along the West Rail and it was disappointing that the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) had not granted by tender the development rights of any project (unsuccessful tendering) in the past three years.  There are views that the granting of development rights of railway projects by MTRCL in accordance with its plan is vital to achieving the target of producing 470 000 flats in the next 10 years, as proposed by the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the details of each of the projects the development rights of which were granted by MTRCL by way of tendering from 2003 to 2013, including (i) the year of tender, (ii) the project name, (iii) the developer, (iv) the land premium per square foot of floor space, (v) the residential gross floor area (GFAs), (vi) the number of residential flats, (vii) the average number of residential floors, (viii) the GFA of the shopping mall, (ix) the area of community and recreational facilities, (x) the number of parking spaces, and (xi) the completion date or the expected completion date (set out in table form);

(2) whether it knows the details of the projects for which MTRCL conducted tender exercises between 2003 and 2013 with the result of unsuccessful tendering, including (i) the years of tender, (ii) the site locations, (iii) MTRCL's expected land premiums per square foot of floor space during the tender, (iv) the areas of construction sites, (v) the residential GFAs, and (vi) the numbers of residential flats (set out in table form);

(3) given that MTRCL did not grant the development rights of any project in the past three years, and according to the Secretary, "the Government should make more effort and MTRCL should try hard", whether the Government has conducted a review with MTRCL in this respect; if it has not, of the reasons for that; if it has, the main reasons for unsuccessful tendering, and whether MTRCL will relax the tender conditions to increase the prospects of granting the development rights;

(4) given the recent unsuccessful re-tendering of the project above Tin Wing Light Rail Transit Station, whether the Government will resume the site for production of Home Ownership Scheme flats; if it will, whether the plot ratio of the project concerned will be higher than those of existing residential buildings in the vicinity; whether it will consult the local residents on the development of the site; and

(5) of the details of the projects the development rights of which are currently held by MTRCL, and whether the Government has set any timetable for reviewing the development rights concerned?

Reply:

President,

I reply to the five parts of the question as follows:

(a) The information about the property development projects owned by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) and successfully tendered in 2003-2013 is at Annex A.

(b) The information about the property development projects owned by the MTRCL and unsuccessfully tendered in 2003-2013 is at Annex B.

(c) The above property development projects are planned and implemented by the MTRCL, including the setting of the tender conditions on its own (except the government land grant conditions).  The Government will continue to communicate with the MTRCL on the implementation of its property development projects, and prepare the terms and conditions of the land grant documents with reference to the development schedule of individual projects.  The market response to the property development projects tendered by the MTRCL may be affected by a couple of factors, such as the bidders' development strategy, outlook for the property market, commercial considerations, etc.

(d) The development right of the property development project at Tin Shui Wai Light Rail Terminus is owned by the MTRCL.  We understand that the MTRCL is exploring the way forward for this project.  The Government will consider any proposal involving the Government based on its merits.

(e) The information about the property development projects owned by the MTRCL and being planned is at Annex C.

The granting of property development rights to the MTRCL by the Government in the past is to provide funding assistance to the MTRCL for its construction and operation of railway projects (i.e. "Rail + Property" model).  Under this model, the MTRCL is responsible for the development costs of the property development project concerned as well as the costs of construction and operation of the railway project concerned.  The MTRCL has to bear the long-term risks of financing the project and operating the railway.  Apart from this model, the MTRCL also acquired property development projects from the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation under the property package in the rail merger in 2007.  The development rights of the property development projects set out at Annex C were obtained by the MTRCL through the above means.

As mentioned above, the Government will consider any proposal involving the Government based on its merits.


Ends/Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:30

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