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LCQ19: Airport's North Commercial District

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Kwok Ka-ki and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (July 8):


     The Airport Authority (AA) is planning to develop the North Commercial District (NCD) on the airport island.  The site, which has an area of over 10 hectares and is currently used as a temporary golf course and a car park, will be converted for use by retail and hotel development, providing a total floor area of over two million square feet in the first phase of retail development.  On the other hand, a commercial site in Tung Chung Area 3A, adjacent to the airport with a permissible gross floor area of 540 000 square feet, was sold at $2,328 million in 2013, reflecting that the NCD site is very valuable.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether AA has applied to the authorities for waiving the land premium for the aforesaid site; if it has, of the details, and the authorities' considerations for vetting and approving the application;

(2) whether it has charged AA the land premium for the aforesaid site; if it has, whether it has assessed why AA has the financial ability to undertake this commercial development project on the one hand, but, on the other hand, has resorted to methods such as stop paying dividends to the Government for 10 years in order to raise funds for expanding the airport into a three-runway system; if it has not charged any land premium, of the reasons for that, and who made the decision; whether it has assessed if there was any dereliction of duty on the part of government officials, and whether the Chief Executive and the Chief Secretary for Administration were aware of this; if they were, of the reasons why they approved the decision; and

(3) other than the NCD site, of the number of sites under AA with land premiums not fully paid, the total sum involved, the permissible gross floor area of those sites, the expiry dates of their land leases, and their total market value; why the Government did not charge the full land premiums for those sites?



     Our consolidated reply to the various parts of the question raised by Dr Hon Kwok Ka-ki is as follows:

     Under the Airport Authority Ordinance (Cap 483), the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) has to operate and develop the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) in accordance with the objective of maintaining Hong Kong's status as a centre of international and regional aviation.  The HKIA is situated at the Remaining Portion of Chek Lap Kok Lot No. 1 and Extension Thereto (the Lot and the Extension).  The Government granted the Lot and the Extension to the AA under the relevant land lease on December 1, 1995 and March 16, 1998 respectively and the lease will expire on June 30, 2047.  

     Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the land lease, the AA can pursue airport related development (including hotel, office, retail and other commercial premise purposes) and airport support development.  The North Commercial District (NCD), at the north-eastern corner of the Airport Island, is part of the Lot and the Extension.  As set out in the approved Chek Lap Kok Outline Zoning Plan, the NCD is zoned "Commercial".  "Hotel", "Eating Place", "Shop and Services" are uses always permitted within the "Commercial" zone.

     In the past, with the approval of the Town Planning Board (TPB), the AA allocated the NCD for use as interim golf course with ancillary clubhouse facilities with a lease term from May 2007 to August 2013.  In August 2013, the TPB approved the extension of this temporary use for two years.  Before confirmation of the long-term development of the NCD, the AA leased the site to the operator concerned by way of a short-term tenancy, to achieve an optimal use of the land and to maintain the greening ratio at the airport.

     In 2013, a master layout plan study, commissioned by the AA, set out the blueprint of the NCD development.  The study has taken into account the planning of the three-runway system (3RS) at the HKIA and the development of Lantau.  The AA has completed the study, which proposed retail and hotel developments at the NCD by phases.  The first phase of the NCD development includes a hotel with some 1 000 rooms, and retail development of some 200 000 square metres gross floor area.   The AA plans to issue tender document for the development of the NCD this year.  The first phase of retail development is tentatively planned for opening by 2019.  The AA has given a written notice to the operator of the SkyCity golf course, notifying it that the short-term tenancy will expire in mid-August this year.  The AA will recover the site for the NCD development in due course.

     NCD development is one of the most important projects currently being undertaken by the AA.  The Government supports the AA to optimise its land resources and expeditiously take forward the development of the NCD.  The AA will take into consideration the planning of the 3RS and other developments on Lantau, with a view to maximising the economic benefits of the NCD.

     The Government has received from the AA an application for lease modification to facilitate development of the NCD on the Airport Island.  The application is now being processed.  Similar to other cases of lease modification, the AA has to execute relevant land documents if the application is approved.  After the requisite procedures for the execution are completed, the land documents in question will be registered with the Land Registry.

Ends/Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:16


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