Wheelock Properties is on its way toward developing another luxury project on Hong Kong Island, having gained approval for a compulsory sale of Ventris Court, a residential tower in the Happy Valley area valued at HK$1.73 billion ($222.4 million), according to Lands Tribunal documents seen by Mingtiandi.
While a date has not yet been set for the sale, should Wheelock win full ownership of the 59 year old apartment tower, the Hong Kong developer controlled by billionaire Peter Woo would be set up to develop up to 87,975 square feet (8,173 square metres) of high-end housing on the site.
“We expect the property to be redeveloped into a high-rise luxury residential building, with views of the Happy Valley race course”, said Alex Leung, senior director at CHFT Advisory and Appraisal, who noted that the new project could yield as many as 90 units, with a total development value of around HK$3.5 billion.
The approval for the forced sale came two months after a home at Mount Nicholson, jointly developed by Wheelock and Nan Fung Development, sold for HK$639.7 million in November, setting a new record for Asia’s priciest apartment by price per unit of area.
Happy Valley High Rise
The compulsory sale was arranged by a private company controlled by long-time Wheelock director Sit Kien Ping Peter, as first reported by the Hong Kong Economic Times after the entity had accumulated ownership of some 83.82 percent of the space in the Ventris Court. The Wheelock affiliate successfully applied for the forced sale of the remaining units in the property after prices for luxury homes on Hong Kong Island rose by 10 percent in 2021, according to a Savills report published last week.
Currently occupied by a nine-storey residential tower, the site at 15 Ventris Road is located less than a 5-minute drive from the Hong Kong Jockey Club in Happy Valley and covers a site area of about 17,594 square feet. At the compulsory sale’s reserve price of HK$1.73 billion, the property is valued at approximately HK$19,687 per square foot.
“Upon completion, the average selling price for new homes in the project would reach at least HK$45,000 per square foot, while units on higher floors may sell for over HK$55,000 per square foot, given the building’s prime location”, said Leung.
This was in line with other analyst predictions, with Vincent Cheung, managing director of local brokerage Vincorn, estimating selling prices for new flats to fall in the HK$50,000 and HK$60,000 per square foot range.
Construction costs for the project could range between HK$6,000 and HK$8,000 per square foot of gross floor area, depending on the quality of the development, according to Cynthia Li, senior director of projects strategy and consultancy with JLL.
Wheelock Bulks Up
While transactions of luxury homes in Hong Kong worth HK$100 million or more in Hong Kong declined 20 percent in the fourth quarter from the preceding three months, Wheelock and its partners at Nan Fung’s Mount continued to set new price records at their Mount Nicholson luxury project located 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) uphill from Happy Valley on Victoria Peak.
Following the sale of Asia’s priciest apartment at Mount Nicholson in November, the posh project was back in the news this month when a similar unit sold for HK$583.2 million, which made it the second most expensive apartment in Asia.
With cash coming in from its Peak project, Wheelock has been shopping for more sites around town, including besting 11 competing bids in July last year to win a residential site in Fanling’s Kwu Tung area for HK$4.19 billion.
Three months before that purchase, the developer won the right to build apartments at the Wong Chuk Hang subway station, beating five competitors including CK Asset and Sun Hung Kai Properties, to grab one of the last remaining plots of land around the city’s mass transit nodes.
In December of 2020, Wheelock’s Wharf Holdings unit agreed to purchase the city’s priciest residential site on The Peak’s Mansfield Road for a record-breaking HK$12 billion.
Nan Fung Development, Wheelock’s partner in the Mount Nicholson project, has also been actively acquiring on Hong Kong Island in recent weeks, buying up 17 out of 24 units at a set of lane houses in Jardine’s Lookout for more than HK$1 billion.