New World donates almost a fifth of its farmland reserves towards building public homes to ease Hong Kong's housing woes

By Lam Ka-sing kasing.lam@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3030317/new-world-development-donates-3-million-square-feet-farm-land-ease-hong?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | September 26, 2019 10:38 AM SGT
New World Development said it would donate nearly a fifth of its farmland reserves to Hong Kong's government and to non-profit organisations for building public homes, stepping up with a tentative answer to the city's housing crisis.
The company will hand over 3 million square feet (278,700 square metres) of farmland, equivalent to 27.8 hectares, said New World's Executive Vice-Chairman Adrian Cheng Chi-kong.
The company, whose property portfolio includes the Rosewood luxury hotel and shopping centres, will donate three pieces of land totalling 28,000 sq ft next to the Tin Shui Wai subway station to Light Be " a non-profit specialist in social housing and tenant development that New World had been working with " for building 100 homes each measuring 300 sq ft, Cheng said.
Construction on the land, which will be released to Light Be for a token sum of HK$1, is expected to be completed by 2022. New World will gift 1 million sq ft in total to Light Be, and is open to donating more land to other non-profit organisations, he said.
Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, Executive Vice-chairman of New World Development, during the announcement of the 2018 interim results at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on 27 February 2018. Photo: K.Y.Cheng alt=Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, Executive Vice-chairman of New World Development, during the announcement of the 2018 interim results at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on 27 February 2018. Photo: K.Y.Cheng
"We are very concerned about the housing problem in society," Cheng said at a press conference after announcing the company's annual financial results in Hong Kong. "We hope this can relieve the housing problem [where] about 10,000 people can benefit."
The donation, equivalent to 17.8 per cent of New World's farmland reserves, could compel the rest of Hong Kong's landowning families " the Kwoks of Sun Hung Kai Properties, the Lees of Henderson Land Development, and the Lis of CK Asset Holdings " to contribute toward the city's land supply to alleviate a housing problem that has Chinese state media has blamed for fuelling the biggest public unrest in the city's history.
Hong Kong's economy is on...