Revitalization scheme relaunch in the cards

Top News | Jane Lam 17 Aug 2017

A program that will facilitate the redevelopment of industrial buildings is being considered for relaunch, says Development Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun.

The threshold for the compulsory sale for redevelopment of industrial buildings will also be reviewed, Wong added.

The issue of industrial and subdivided buildings was thrust into the limelight when three young people died in a fire in an industrial building in Kwai Chung at the weekend.

Wong said it will take six to nine months for the government to review the revitalization scheme for industrial buildings - an exercise that was stopped in March.

But the Development Bureau along with the Fire Services Department will tackle a scheme to revitalize the lower levels of industrial buildings following a suggestion by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

While Lam was development secretary in 2010, she started a scheme to facilitate the redevelopment and wholesale conversion of old industrial buildings. But the initiative stopped in March last year.

To prevent another catastrophe inside an industrial building, the Development Bureau and the Home Affairs Bureau will look at ways of coming up with cultural events while ensuring compliance to safety standards inside industrial buildings.

The government will also consider refining the threshold for the compulsory sale for redevelopment of industrial premises. This will help the majority owner of an industrial building to redevelop his property. The threshold now stands at 80 percent ownership of an entire building.

"Since the compulsory sale rule for redevelopments was launched in 1999, fewer than 5 percent of compulsory sale cases involved industrial buildings," Wong said. "We will review whether it is the plan itself that troubles industrial buildings' owners from getting a larger ownership of a building to have it revitalized or whether other methods are preferred."

Wong made the remarks while attending the opening of Kai San Road, which runs across Prince Edward Road East and will become a major link between the Kai Tak development area and San Po Kong.

With government plans to turn Kai Tak into the SAR's second central business district, the new road will help link Kai Tak to neighboring districts.

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