MTR Corporation Ltd (0066) received 23 files of interest for its West Rail Yuen Long Station site yesterday despite the prospect of litigation hanging over the eventual project on the land.
Some of the big Local developers including Cheung Kong Property Holdings (0001) and Henderson Land (0012), mid-size players such as Far East Consortium International (0035), and mainland firms China Overseas Land (0688) and Vanke Property (Hong Kong) have all expressed their willingness to develop the site.
Shopping mall manager The Link REIT (0823) also registered interest in the residential-cum-commercial project. Estimates of the lot’s land premium vary from HK$3.4 billion to HK$7.43 billion, or HK$2,300 to HK$5,000 per buildable square foot an unusually wide range for plots in Hong Kong.
This is because of uncertainties, surveyors say, arising from possible judicial reviews filed by environmental activists against development, which could impede air flow of the neighborhood.
There are concerns that the project could be killed should a court order put off developers.
But Far East manager Chu Po-lam said this should not be a problem. “Hong Kong needs land [for building homes]. Developing the site would be in the public’s interest.” The 420,868-sq-ft site will yield 1,876 apartments from a maximum residential gross floor area of 1.36 million sq ft. Six buildings are to be erected on it by 2022, and another 124,162 buildable sq ft will be earmarked for a mall.
“There are several large estates nearby, making Yuen Long’s housing market a robust one,” said Lesly Lam Lik-shan representing Vanke Property (Hong Kong). “And a new shopping center should create good synergies with existing malls around it.”
Yoho Town, a development by Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) in the district, cost some HK$10,000 pbsf to build, meaning the original plot was valued at HK$5,000 pbsf, said Centaline Surveyors director James Cheung King-tat. “The Yuen Long Station site is in a better location.”