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URA issues acquisition offers to Shantung Street/Thistle Street Development Scheme

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) yesterday (10 March 2022) issued acquisition offers to property owners affected by the Shantung Street/Thistle Street Development Scheme (the Project) in Mong Kok.  Eligible owner-occupiers of domestic properties of the Project will be offered $18,378 per square foot of saleable area, which is the unit rate of a seven-year old notional replacement flat situated in the same locality (“Notional Unit Rate”).

The Notional Unit Rate was approved by the Land, Rehousing and Compensation Committee (LRCC) of the URA Board.  In line with the established mechanism, the URA appointed seven independent consultancy firms by open ballot to assess the Notional Unit Rate for the Project.  The Notional Unit Rate was assessed by independent surveyors on 21 February, based on the transaction records over the past 12 months of properties located within nearby districts, with similar features of the properties under acquisition and their access to public transport, for comparison.

The URA’s prevailing acquisition policy for both domestic and non-domestic property interests is applicable to the Project, covering some 170 property interests.  In view of the current pandemic situation, special consideration was given to extend the validity period of the acquisition offers from the usual 60 days to 90 days, providing owners ample time to review the acquisition offers and to make arrangements for property transactions.  Should the owners encounter difficulties during the course of property transactions, the URA will handle on a case-by-case basis and offer appropriate assistance.

In addition, eligible domestic owner-occupiers of the Project will have the choice of a flat-for-flat (FFF) unit in the future development to be constructed on the project site (“Future Development”), or a FFF unit at the URA’s Kai Tak Development Project. The URA will separately provide the details to domestic owner-occupiers in another letter for consideration in due course.

After completion of the property acquisition, the URA will make ex-gratia allowance for the eligible tenants and rehousing arrangement for the eligible domestic tenants.

The Project commenced in October 2020 and was approved by the Chief Executive in Council on 8 February 2022.   Occupying a gross site area of about 2,800 square metres, the Project aims to enhance the livability, accessibility and vibrancy of the community through restructuring and re-planning of the site for improved urban design and the better use of the public facilities.

Through redevelopment, the URA will restructure the layout of the site to open up the Thistle Street Rest Garden towards the junction of Shantung Street/Thistle Street, thereby enhancing its accessibility and maximising the use of the public facilities.  In addition, a small sunken plaza of about 200 square metres will also be provided within the project area connecting the re-provisioned rest garden and shops to inject vitality into the community. 

Subject to the future detailed design of the Project, the URA’s current proposal is to redevelop the site to provide about 12,450 square metres of residential floor area in the Project site for developing about 300 residential flats.  A major portion of the non-domestic floor area of the Future Development will be designated for community uses, with about 2,850 square metres reserved for the provision of Government, Institution or Community facilities, whereas some 2,490 square metres will be designed for commercial/retail purpose.

The URA will arrange briefing sessions via online video platform for the affected owners, residents and shop operators to explain to them the acquisition policy, ex-gratia allowance, as well as rehousing principles and arrangements.  Meanwhile, a subject officer will be assigned to follow up on each case.    Appointed by the Urban Renewal Fund, a social service team staffed by professional social workers from Salvation Army (Tel.: 3586 3095) will provide assistance to owners and residents in need.