Housing Department recovers Kwun Tong Factory Estate (with photo)

     The Housing Department (HD) has recovered all leased units of the Housing Authority's (HA) Kwun Tong Factory Estate (KTFE) today (September 12) ahead of schedule.

     "The whole estate is now enclosed by hoardings. The cleared site will be returned to the government after demolition," a spokesman for the HD said.

     Built in 1966, KTFE comprises two seven-storey blocks without lift service. There are a total of 817 units, each of a standard size of 24 square metres. The clearance of KTFE was endorsed by the Commercial Properties Committee of the HA in October 2006 due to its obsolete design and deteriorating structural condition.

     As more and more local manufacturers move their operations to the Mainland, over 200 KTFE tenants had surrendered about 500 units to the HA under the Early Surrender Scheme introduced in 2000. Only about a hundred tenants were still in active business at the end of 2007.

     Notices-to-quit were issued on November 30, 2007 informing the remaining tenants that the deadline for removal would be May 31, 2008. After taking into consideration the difficulties met by some operators, the HD postponed the deadline to September 18, 2008.  

     The rents for affected tenants had been frozen since the announcement of the demolition. The tenants were also offered ex-gratia allowances ranging from about $80,000 to $630,000, which were equivalent to 104 to 124 months' rent payable. The total amount of allowances payable is about $34 million.

     In March 2005, the HA's Strategic Planning Committee endorsed the clearance of four older factory estates aged between 30 and 46 years. Apart from KTFE, they are Tai Wo Hau Factory Estate (TWHFE), Kowloon Bay Factory Estate (KBFE) and Chai Wan Factory Estate (CWFE). TWHFE was recovered last year. Recovery of KBFE is scheduled for mid-2009 and the date for CWFE is to be decided. All of the cleared sites will be returned to the government.

Ends/Friday, September 12, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:31