The year of 2014/15 proved to be highly productive where in addition to the launch of four new projects, including one in May 2015, seven project sites were cleared and joint venture tenders were awarded for a further five.
Up until 31 March 2015 a total of 57 redevelopment projects, two preservation projects and one revitalisation project have been commenced by the URA under the URA Ordinance. Excluding those projects which have been terminated, these projects provide around 15,000 new flats, about 376,000 square metres of commercial space including shops, offices and hotels, 53,000 square metres of Government, Institution and Community facilities and about 26,000 square metres of open space.
The URA has conducted an in-depth review of the Demand-led Pilot Scheme to ensure its sustainability. This process has embraced the redevelopment programme as a whole including the URA-initiated projects.
The URA has also reviewed the Facilitating Services Pilot Scheme with some refinement and modifications to the application requirements and implementation arrangements. The scope of the Scheme has been extended to cover industrial and commercial buildings.
Rehabilitation is one of the URA’s two core businesses. Integrated Building Maintainance Assistant Scheme (IBMAS)
Following the expansion of the URA’s IBMAS service areas on 1 July 2015 to cover the whole of Hong Kong, the URA has adopted refinements to building rehabilitation strategy with the objective to cater for the needs of different owner groups while focusing our resources and efforts on assisting the aged buildings most needing repair. These refinements include increasing emphasis on promotion and education, integrating the Scheme and refining the package for financial subsidy.
Building Rehab Info Net
A building rehabilitation website (www.buildingrehab.org.hk) was soft-launched in January 2014 to serve as a one-stop
e-platformfor building owners to access comprehensive building rehabilitation-related information. Since its launch, the website has recorded over 22000 visits up to end March 2015.
Revitalisation and Preservation
Shophouse Preservation Projects
The acquisition of interests is continuing for the Prince Edward Road West project. Meanwhile four acquired units have been renovated and leased out to the Hong Kong Council of Social Service as a social enterprise hub. The remaining 14 units have been renovated and leased out at market rent for flower shop, arts and cultural uses. The last batch of the acquired units including the pair at 190-192 Prince Edward Road West will be renovated and leased out in mid-2016.
The Shanghai Street project has now been cleared. In December 2014, the Town Planning Board approved the URA’s section 16 application for the proposed project use and works. The preserved shop houses fronting Shanghai Street will be for restaurant and retail uses to reflect the local character and to meet local needs.
URA’s sustainability vision is to meet our community’s aspirations for quality living and benefit the next generation through environmentally friendly urban renewal. By default our mission of arresting urban decay in Hong Kong is to sustain the growth of the city. In pursuit of this vision and mission, our work has adopted a people-oriented approach and strived for high environmental standards while fuelling the vibrancy of the neighbourhood.
Given that urban renewal involves public interests, our stakeholders are diverse and include those who are directly affected by our businesses and various local groups. When defining the sustainability framework for the organisation, we have to take into account the inputs from stakeholders as well as broader societal expectations. We also have to consider environmental, social and economic aspects that are important at both the global and local levels. In this section, we will discuss our sustainability performance exemplified through our core businesses and different initiatives or programmes.
Care for the EnvironmentPromoting Green Buildings
Care for the PeopleAssisting Displaced Households
Care for the PeopleStewarding Rehabilitation
Engage the Community
Diversify the Uses of Urban SpaceEmbracing Diversified Uses
The problem of urban decay remains daunting, and when set in the context of Hong Kong’s urban decay problem where over 6,000 buildings are now over 50 years old and about 42% are in deteriorating or poor condition, we still have a mountain to climb.
To go forward for a sustainable urban renewal programme, we need to overcome many challenges such as the limited plot ratio gain, the high acquisition costs under the seven-year-old rule and the strong resistance from some existing occupiers.
Looking ahead, the core competencies review will be implemented for all levels. Succession management will continue to roll out to all critical positions within a clear structure of succession planning. The continuous improvement culture will be cultivated through the upcoming introduction of Work Improvement Teams.
The URA’s operating environment is one of continuous change in the financial world, the community at large and our mandate. In the months ahead, whilst commencing new redevelopment projects, several projects are scheduled for clearance and tendering to joint venture partners. Our attention will be focused on overcoming the various constraints to our endeavours, meanwhile we will examine closely the effects of the recently introduced and refined Demand-led Project Scheme, Facilitating Services and rehabilitation strategies.