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Henderson to lend brownfield land to govt for housing

Hong Kong

HONG KONG property developer Henderson Land Development will lend 428,000 square feet (sq ft) of brownfield land in the city's suburbs to the government for seven years to build 2,000 transitional housing units.

The move comes after the Hong Kong and Chinese governments asked developers to contribute back to the community, in an attempt to tackle a housing shortage in Hong Kong, where millions of anti-government protesters have taken to the streets for months.

The 428,000 sq ft of land to be lent in Hong Kong's New Territories represents 1 per cent of the total farmland Henderson owns, which was estimated to be 45 million sq ft at the end of last year.

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This is the most among Hong Kong developers, according to a report published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. But some researchers said the actual quantum of land owned could be larger.

The government said separately it is planning to pay HK$1 (17 Singapore cents) as rent to Henderson Land, according to local media.

Another major property developer, New World Development Co Ltd, said in September it would donate 3 million sq ft of its farmland reserves for social housing, while the city's richest man Li Ka-shing said a week later he would donate HK$1 billion to support local small and medium-sized businesses.

In one of the boldest housing policies in recent years, Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam vowed in her policy address in mid-October to take back about 700 hectares of land in the New Territories from developers into public use under what is known as a land resumption ordinance.

The government has also said it aims to provide 10,000 transitional housing units in the next three years. REUTERS