Monday, November 30, 2015   

Development plan for Hilton site passed

Joshua Fellman

Saturday, September 16, 1995

Joshua Fellman

Most of the 1.6 million-square-foot building will be on the existing Hilton site at the corner of Queen's Road Central and Garden Road.

PLANNING authorities have approved Cheung Kong (Holdings) plans to redevelop as an office building the combined sites of the Hilton Hotel and government-owned Hilton car park and Beaconsfield House.

However, the planning approval from the Urban Planning Committee of the Town Planning Board does not reflect any progress in Cheung Kong's acquisition of the two prime Central sites from the government, under negotiation with the Lands Department.


A planning committee source said yesterday the developer had received permission, with conditions, to put up a 60-storey office building on the combined site with the maximum allowed floor space of 15 times the site area.

Most of the 1.6 million-square-foot building will be on the existing Hilton site at the corner of Queen's Road Central and Garden Road, with the surrounding area given over to park space and public amenities.

"While the base of the building will be narrow in relation to the overall 9,900-square-metre site, the building as currently planned would be shorter than the new Bank of China Tower," he said.

The existing Hilton car park will not be knocked down until the replacement car park for 800 vehicles beneath the new building is completed.

Unusually, the 376,740 sq ft car park is charged against the overall amount of floor area allowed to be built on the site, rather than being allowed over and above the overall plot ratio.

"Because this will be a fee-paying car park, it will have to be included in the allowed plot ratio," the planning source said.

Cheung Kong has also included plans to reprovision the existing Beaconsfield House post office in the new building.

The committee had decided to grant the approval as it would provide open space in Central, as well as providing views of St John's Cathedral and the Former French Mission building from Queen's Road Central.

"The French Mission Building, which is the future home of the Court of Final Appeal, is currently tucked away in a corner, not visible from the road," the source said.

While the committee thought the overall plan was a "good scheme" it had, as usual, given approval only with conditions, which the source would not disclose.

"The conditions did not strike me as being particularly onerous, I am not Cheung Kong, and don't know whether they will appeal," he said, adding that the full Town Planning Board would hear any appeal.

The approval does not affect Cheung Kong's negotiations with the Lands Department, which proceeded slowly during summer.

As of very recently, the government had not given Cheung Kong asking prices for the two sites, which together are larger than the Hilton site.

If Cheung Kong can't cut a deal with the government to acquire the sites, it will not need planning approval to redevelop the Hilton site alone, as the land is zoned commercial. While Cheung Kong subsidiary Hutchison Whampoa owns the Hilton site, its parent is managing the project.

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