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Reclaiming costs

Flat land for commercial development scarcely exists in Hong Kong, either on Hong Kong Island proper or on the Kowloon peninsula to the north.

For generations land has been reclaimed from the sea to create room for expansion.

This process continues, although in the harbour area itself reclamation has now been halted. Two of the last major projects are the 8ha Hong Kong Station redevelopment on the north shore of the island and the 13.5ha Kowloon Station development, just one part of the massive West Kowloon Reclamation.

Both projects are focused around major rail transport interchanges. At Hong Kong station passengers can switch between the new Airport Express line, a commuter line, bus stations and road transport. A 350m long subway connects the new station to the existing Central station, which serves the Island and Tsuen Wan lines. To fund the rail works, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation proposed to develop the remainder of the reclaimed site as a mixture of commercial office space, residential blocks and retail.

Given that the adjoining Central District of Hong Kong is home to some of the world's highest property values and that the reclaimed land increased its area by 10%, commercial success is assured. So far a significant proportion of the planned construction programme has been completed - including a 200m tall office tower and the foundations for two hotel towers, and the 88 storey North East Tower is beginning to take shape.

At Kowloon, where the station is already open, the commercial development was originally divided into seven separate packages to be actioned progressively.

Packages 5, 6 and 7 have since been combined into one single $1.1bn package, which includes the recordbreaking 100 storey tower.

Again this is a mixed development with a gross floor area of 500,000m 2. Developer is Sun Hung Kai Properties, also one of the developers responsible for the Hong Kong Station project.

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