(Extract of Paragraph 71 to 73 of The Chief Executive's 2018 Policy Address)

Revitalisation of Industrial Buildings

71.  Under the previous revitalisation scheme for industrial buildings, the Government has so far approved a total of 124 applications for wholesale conversion and redevelopment of aged industrial buildings. The scheme provides more floor area to meet Hong Kong’s changing social and economic needs, and makes better use of our valuable land resources. Having reviewed its effectiveness, we have decided to reactivate the revitalisation scheme for industrial buildings. The new scheme has been expanded to include wholesale conversion of industrial buildings for transitional housing use.

72.   The new scheme will include the following measures:

(i)
the Lands Department will accept owners’ applications, on a three-year time-limited basis, and exempt the waiver fees incurred, for wholesale conversion of industrial buildings aged 15 years or above in “Commercial” (C), “Other Specified Uses” annotated “Business” (OU(B)) and “Industrial” (I) zones into permissible planning uses. Compared with the previous scheme, we propose incorporating a new condition that the applicants should designate 10% of the floor area for specific uses prescribed by the Government upon completion of such conversion works;

(ii)
to encourage owners to redevelop industrial buildings constructed before 1987, we will extend the application of the present planning policy about suitably increasing the maximum permissible domestic plot ratio within certain “Residential” (R) zones, so as to allow relaxation of the maximum permissible nondomestic plot ratio by up to 20% for redevelopment projects of these pre-1987 industrial buildings located outside “R” zones in Main Urban Areas and New Towns. Individual applications have to be made to the TPB within three years, and the modified lease should be executed within a specified period after the town planning approval; and

(iii)
we will allow revitalisation of industrial buildings to provide transitional housing. In practice, the Government will exercise flexibility in the application of planning and building design requirements, and charge a nil waiver fee for the specific use of transitional housing, if owners provide transitional housing in portions or entire blocks of industrial buildings located in “C”, “Comprehensive Development Area”, “OU(B)” and “R” zones which have already undergone or will pursue wholesale conversion into non-industrial uses. We would encourage owners to collaborate with non-government institutions to provide transitional housing, so as to provide more suitable accommodation for those yet to be allocated PRH or other grassroots citizens with housing needs. A task force under the THB will provide one-stop, co-ordinated support to facilitate the community in pursuing transitional housing.

73.  Owing to multiple ownership of some industrial buildings, owners may not be able to reach a consensus in the immediate future over wholesale conversion or redevelopment of the buildings. As such, we will also introduce the following measures to optimise the use of existing industrial buildings:

 
(i)
relaxing the waiver application policy on a time-limited basis (for five years initially) to permit the arts and cultural sectors and creative industries to operate at individual units of existing industrial buildings without the need for making separate waiver applications and paying waiver fees, so long as such uses are permitted under the planning regime;

(ii)
with due regard to public safety, widening the permissible uses of buffer floors to cover telecommunications exchange centres and computer/data processing centres, so as to facilitate conversion of lower floors of industrial buildings into non-industrial uses; and

(iii)
promulgating a wider definition for “godown” uses under lease provisions of industrial buildings to cover cargo handling and forwarding operations and recyclable collection centres.

The DEVB will announce the specific details of the above measures in due course, and launch the measures progressively by the end of this year.