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LOFTER GROUP rolls on acquisition

The Tsim Sha Tsui area, which sits at the point of Kowloon peninsula closest to Hong Kong island has been hard hit by the pandemic, with US developer Hines having picked up the Butterfly on Prat Hotel for HK$925 million in November of last year.

That hotel, which is located four blocks east of the Hankow Road project had suffered from the same lack of visitor traffic which led Hong Kong’s Watsons chain of personal care stores to close its location next to the Star Ferry last October after more than 20 years in operation.

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) intends to supply 22,000 flats in the coming five years under a new holistic approach that would see the statutory body also help build public infrastructure to improve Hong Kong’s living environment.

URA managing director Wai Chi-sing revealed in a blog post on Sunday that its entire slate of projects would cost about HK$120 billion and cover more than 200,000 square metres.

“As for the redevelopment projects planned to commence this year, they will include two large-scale ones which cover a total of 200 old blocks, involving 1,500 residential units and 200 ground floor shop lots,” he said.

In February of this year a mainland investor walked away from an opportunity to acquire a building in Tsim Sha Tsui via compulsory sale, after values in the area had dropped well below levels anticipated when the sale was applied for in 2019.

Lofter Rolls On

For Lofter Group, which was set up 10 years ago and has taken on projects in the residential, industrial and commercial sectors, the Tsim Sha Tsui project marks the latest cooperation with major fund managers.

In February Lofter announced a joint venture with Singapore’s SC Capital to develop a project in Ap Lei Chau after acquiring more than 90 percent ownership of the properties occupying that site. The partners plan to build a 35,000 square foot residential project with a retail podium at the location.

In March of last year, Lofter tied up with local fund manager Alphalex Capital Management to buy up 57 properties on Ki Lung Street in Kowloon’s Prince Edward area for HK$1.1 billion. The partners plan to develop a 67,500 square foot commercial and residential tower on the site.

Hong Kong’s property buyers mostly stayed on the sidelines over the weekend, buying up less than 15 per cent of the 200 apartments on offer at three locations across the city.

Country Garden sold 15 of the 70 flats at its Allegro project in Kowloon City, while Henderson Land Development sold eight of 15 of The Quinn apartments in Tai Kok Tsui, according to sales agents. Over at the former airport site at Kai Tak, Wheelock Properties sold six of 115 Monaco Marine units on offer.

“The buying sentiment appeared to be extremely weak,” said Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of Midland Realty’s residential division. “A bunch of negative factors are still weighing on homebuyers who are still taking a wait-and-see attitude.”

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