Kerry revives yacht plan at Ap Lei Chau

Projects, Slider 21 May 2013
Kerry revives yacht plan at Ap Lei Chau

Danny Chung

Kerry Property Management Services, a subsidiary of mid-sized developer and logistics operator Kerry Properties (0683), is reviving plans to revamp a shipbuilding yard eyesore at Ap Lei Chau into a yacht centre.

The Town Planning Board announced last week a public consultation for the company’s section 16 planning application, nearly 20 months after the board threw out the last application by developer Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016).

According to the application details, Kerry plans to develop a “yacht centre-led mixed development”.

The application site, of area about 23,835 square metres (256,560 square feet), is not Kerry’s or any other developer’s private land but is actually government land that was and still is leased out on short-term tenancies to shipbuilders.

With a plot ratio of about 0.57, the non-domestic area of 13, 611 square metres (146,509 square feet) would comprise of shop and services, an exhibition or convention hall and a place of recreation, sports or culture.

Shipbuilding will not entirely disappear from the scene as the developer plans to reserve about 4,806 square metres of floor area for ship-building, ship-breaking and ship-repairing yard.

“Given the temporary land use status of the Site, the existing buildings are mostly dilapidated, or poor build quality and typically constructed of steel with corrugated roofing,” the company’s planning statement said.

Immediately to the west of the site is the high-end residential development, the Larvotto, which was completed in April 2011.

The Larvotto was developed by a joint venture of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Kerry Properties and Paliburg Holdings (0617) after a development process that dragged on for about 15 years.

Kerry Property Management Services hopes to revamp the shipyard sites at Ap Lei Chau into a yacht centre while retaining some shipbuilding capability.  (Danny Chung)

Kerry Property Management Services hopes to revamp the shipyard sites at Ap Lei Chau into a yacht centre while retaining some shipbuilding capability. (Danny Chung)

Kerry said the proposals would beautify the waterfront and stimulate a waterfront promenade while also accommodating the boatyard repair industry.

“The development will not only make a positive contribution to enhancing the appearance of the site and locality, but will also increase vibrancy and vitality in the area,” the planning statement said.

MTR Corporation (0066) is currently building a new station at Lei Tung at Ap Lei Chau as part of the South Island Line project.

Eyebrows were raised last year when news reports surfaced claiming that Sun Hung Kai was helping shipyard tenants at the site relocate after compensating them.

Some shipyards were still operating when Construction Post visited the site last week.

It appears though that success is not guaranteed for the developer even after getting the green light from the Town Planning Board.

“As the land is 100 percent government land and is obviously capable of separate alienation, assuming the Town Planning Board says okay, then the District Lands Officer will say ‘thank you’ and have another site to sell by tender, [there is] no realistic chance of a private treaty grant,” a former senior official at Lands Department said.

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