This is the weekly news wrap, featuring the latest real estate stories from Hong Kong. Whether your interest lies in industrial, retail, office real estate or asset investments, we have got the news that matters, covered.

Hong Kong’s Shopping Malls Expect a Warm Christmas with Returning Tourists and Stronger Local Demand

South China Morning Post
From adding restaurants, bars and a yoga centre to hosting arts and crafts events, one of Hong Kong Island’s most luxurious shopping malls has gone all out to attract shoppers and grab a share of the recent growth in the city’s retail sector in the run-up to Christmas. Recovering local demand and returning tourists are likely to keep the momentum continuing through Christmas, according to shopping mall operators and analysts. Retail sales are likely to see a 5% rise from last year, according to Thomson Cheng Wai-hung, chairman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association.
South China Morning Post

Great Wall Pan Asia Holdings enjoyed a double-digit gain on Monday morning, after announcing it would pay HK$3.19 billion (US$410 million) as part of a joint venture purchasing 17 shopping centres in Hong Kong from Link Reit. Great Wall Pan Asia, which is part of China Great Wall AMC (International) Holdings, said it had agreed to purchase a 29.9% stake in the joint venture that will acquire the Link Reit properties.
 
The Standard
Bidding for the Urban Renewal Authority's Reclamation Street/Shantung Street project has closed. At least 16 developers and consortiums, including CK Asset Holdings and Sun Hung Kai Properties, took part in the bidding. It is estimated that about 112,024 square feet of residential area or 187 flats can be provided by the project. Another area of 22,443 sq ft will be for commercial use. The market value is between HK$1.46 billion and HK$1.8 billion, an analyst estimated. 

South China Morning Post
According to a regulatory filing on Monday, Wanda Investment Holding, a company wholly owned by Wang, has signed a non-legally binding letter of intent to buy 65% of Wanda Hotel Development from Wanda Commercial Properties Overseas, which is also majority-owned by Wang. The offer of HK$1.20 per share for the listed company is a 25% discount to Wanda Hotel’s shares before the announcement was made during the midday trading break.

China Daily
FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co., Japan’s second-largest convenience store operator, is considering a sale of its Hong Kong retail business, people with knowledge of the matter said. FamilyMart Uny is working with a financial adviser to gauge potential buyer interest in its three stores in the Chinese territory, according to the people. It is seeking to fetch close to US$100 million from any sale, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Deliberations are at an early stage, and Tokyo-based FamilyMart Uny could decide to keep the business, the people said. A representative for FamilyMart Uny said the company has no plans to sell its Hong Kong stores at the moment.
 

Veteran Lawyer Urges Hong Kong Government Not to Rush Through Land Title Registration Law
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s new land law, which aims to offer greater certainty of property title and simplify conveyancing procedures, could have lasting consequences, so the government should not rush to implement the legislation that the city might come to regret, according to a legal expert. Lilian Chiang Sui-fook, senior partner and head of the property department at the law firm Deacons, supports the proposed legislation as the land registration title law simplifies flat buying procedures, benefiting both property owners and legal professionals. “However, there are a number of contentious issues such as the provisions of the rectification and indemnity schemes that have not yet been resolved,” she said. “The government should ensure that property owners are well protected before implementing the law.”

EJ Insight

On Tuesday, news surfaced that the estimate of the main construction works for the Shatin-Central Link (SCL), a new commuter rail link being put up by MTR Corp, has ballooned to HK$87.3 billion, making it the most expensive rail line ever in Hong Kong history. The revised price tag for SCL puts it ahead of the controversial high-speed rail link to Guangzhou, which until now held the record in terms of the cost for Hong Kong taxpayers on rail projects.

CBRE in the News

 

Hotel Occupancy Rate Unchanged at 87% in September
Hong Kong Business
Features CBRE Research