Hopewell Holdings is planning to build a residential and retail project worth up to HK$3.6 billion ($459 million) around a reputed haunted house in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district, according to a planning application submitted this month.
Nam Koo Terrace, a grade 1 historic building dating back to 1921, is listed as part of a 30,630 square foot (2,845.7 square metre) site which the builder controlled by tycoon Gordon Wu plans to redevelop into 255 new homes.
“This project is undertaken as part of Hopewell’s comprehensive vision for the continuous urban renewal and revitalization of Wan Chai, as well as implementation of open space for public use,” the developer said in its application to make new use of the heritage building which Hopewell had first acquired in 1993.
Hopewell’s application specifies the development of a 21-storey residential building incorporating a retail podium on the site which merges plots on Hill Side Terrace, Ship Street, Schooner Street and a plot known as Inland Lot No. 9048, as well as an adjoining government land parcel, which would provide up to 152,233 square feet of built area.
Hopewell Homes In
As part of the development plan, Nam Koo Terrace, a 2,200 square foot mansion at 55 Ship Street which was originally built as the home of Shanghai businessman To Chun-man, would be renovated for public use and other “non-profit making purposes,” according to the application. The building is rumoured to have seen use as a brothel by the Japanese in World War II and local legends tell of female voices heard echoing through its abandoned halls.
Upon completion the project could be worth from HK$3.3 billion to HK$3.6 billion, said Cyrus Fong, senior director of valuation and advisory at Knight Frank. With 255 flats in total, the average unit size would be around 470 square feet, with each selling for approximately HK$15 million, said Alex Leung, senior director at CHFT Advisory and Appraisal.
The project is within a 4-minute walk from the developer’s existing headquarters at the Hopewell Centre on Queen’s Road East. That 1980-vintage tower is set to be joined by Hopewell Centre II, a hotel development with a retail podium on a 105,916 square foot site adjacent to the existing project at Kennedy Road and Ship Street.
Although the developer has not yet announced a completion date for that project, Leung predicted the Hopewell Centre II, which sits between the developer’s proposed residential project and its existing Hopewell Centre, would be finished in 2023.
Wan Chai Residential in Demand
Located between the Central office agglomeration and Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay retail hub, Wan Chai presents an attractive target for residential development, said Fong.
The Nam Koo Terrace site is located next to the St. Francis Canossian School and College, and within a few minutes’ walk of a cluster of high-end residential developments including Swire Properties’ Eight Star Street, Fong said, noting that this could be especially attractive for middle class professionals and families.
“(The average selling price) for new homes in Wan Chai is around HK$28,000 per square foot of saleable area, with some reaching over HK$37,000 per square foot,” said Leung, referencing recent transactions at The Avenue, a residential project on Lee Tung Street in Wan Chai jointly developed by Hopewell and Sino Group.
Also in the same district, Swire Properties last month shoved aside 20 competing offers to win a residential site at 269 Queen’s Road East through a government auction. The developer agreed to pay HK$1.96 billion for that plot where it is expected to build a project worth close to HK$3 billion upon completion.