Developer eyes six more towers at Small Taipa Hill

Friday, May 20, 2011
Issue 1311, Page 4
Word count: 568
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Companhia de Investimento Predial Ka Fai (‘Ka Fai Building Investment Company’) has requested approval from the government to build six additional residential towers at the Lisboa Gardens complex at Small Taipa Hill, in place of the original construction plan for villas and a four-star hotel.

The developer presented the proposal to the Advisory Group for Land Development in a meeting at the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) yesterday.

The Lisboa Gardens project began in the 1980’s on a 25,797 square-metre land site and included residential units, villas, commercial areas, clubhouses, a four-star hotel as well as a private car park.

However, after only nine residential buildings and an education centre were built, the remainder of the project was suspended in October 1994 due to a lawsuit. The land concession expired in December 2005 but the legal problem was only finalised in 2009.

On February 3, 2009, 10,412 square metres of land were returned to the government for public road construction, while the remaining 15,385 square metres were leased to the same developer for 25 years along with two smaller blocks occupying 46 square metres.

Ka Fai paid a land premium of almost MOP 112.3 million and was granted a four-year deadline to develop the site at Estrada de Sete Tanques.

However, after a delay of nearly 16 years the large presence of hotels in Cotai made a four-star hotel “unnecessary and inappropriate” in an already well-established residential area in Lisboa Gardens, said the developer’s representative, Tam Chi Wai.

The developer therefore applied to adjust the construction plan and build only three residential towers on block 1 and block 2.

Blocking the hill

According to the preliminary proposal, the towers which include a multi-level car park and a clubhouse would stand 36-storey’s high on block 1 and 29-storey’s on block 2.

In addition, the buildings will stand about 154 metres (block 1) and 139 metres (block 2) above sea level, while the Small Taipa Hill itself is about 110 metres tall.

Also, 609 residential units and 640 private parking spaces will be built in block 1, while block 2 will house 486 units and 300 parking spaces.

Tam told reporters that the company has not yet confirmed the total investment budget or how much profit it could make from the residential project.

However, president of the Cultural Affairs Bureau and advisory group member Ung Vai Meng, quoted a study from the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau which manages the Small Taipa Hill, that suggests that construction would ‘block the sunlight on the south of the hill’ and affect the healthy growth of vegetation.

Although there’s no listed heritage locations in the area and no building height limits, Ung said the two groups of residential towers are ‘completely walled buildings’ which should not be built on the Small Taipa Hill.

On the contrary, group member and lawmaker Fong Chi Keong said he supported the proposal as long as it fulfils related construction and city planning regulations.

Individuals can submit their opinions of the proposal to DSSOPT within the next two weeks.

After the meeting, DSSOPT director Jaime Carion disclosed to reporters that the new calculation method of land premiums has already been completed and will be announced “shortly”.

He said the updated premiums will be “a lot higher” than they are currently adding that he would not rule out the possibility that it could be “eight times higher”.

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