December 30, 2019 / 10:27 AM / 3 months ago

Hong Kong Wheelock Properties says to lend land for transitional housing

HONG KONG, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong property developer Wheelock and Co Ltd said on Monday it will use 500,000 square feet of its land to build 2,000 transitional housing units, following a similar move by larger rivals in the last few months.

It will lease each land parcel, which are located in three rural districts, to two non-profit organisations for HK$1 ($0.1284) for eight years. Wheelock will also be in charge of the early-stage development.

Hong Kong and Chinese governments have 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.

Major property developers New World Development and Henderson Land Development have said they would donated 3 million square feet in September and 428,000 square feet in November, respectively.

The city’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, has donated HK$1 billion ($128 million) to support local small and medium-sized businesses.

“Wheelock Properties understand the social demand of increasing housing supply. As part of the society, we can be a bridge to assist Hong Kong,” said its chairman Stewart Leung.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam vowed in her policy address in 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 aimed to provide 10,000 transitional housing units in the next three years. ($1 = 7.7879 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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