Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Straits Times: 46-storey building, but it has levels 68 and 88

21 Oct, 2009
46-storey building, but it has levels 68 and 88

HONG KONG: A Hong Kong developer which sold an apartment for a world-record
price was yesterday condemned for selectively numbering the 46- storey
building's floors to attract Chinese buyers.

Henderson Land Development sparked a debate over developers' ethical standards
with its latest project, 39 Conduit Road, when it numbered the two highest
levels of the building 68 and 88, lucky numbers for Chinese people.

The number 'eight' sounds like 'fortune' in Mandarin and Cantonese. Chinese
people like the number '88' as it symbolises 'double fortune' and '68' as it
sounds like 'continuing fortune'.

Mr Albert Ho, chairman of the Democratic Party, said the government would be
encouraging unscrupulous property marketing practices if it did not intervene.

'The developer has crossed the line. This is a classic incident to show how
powerful big developers are in Hong Kong,' he said, adding that he would meet
officials today to discuss the issue.

Another legislator, Ms Miriam Lau, said it was important that buyers were not
misled by developers' floor-numbering systems.

Last week, the supposed 68th floor of the luxury duplex - a combination of the
43rd and 44th floors, according to media reports - was sold for what Henderson
said was a world record HK$88,000 (S$15,800) per sq ft.

That translated into a price tag of HK$439 million.

Henderson said it was hoping to charge HK$100,000 per sq ft for the 88th floor
duplex - on the 45th and 46th floors - which has not yet been placed on the
market.

'We are not the only developer using this marketing ploy. It is nothing
special,' a spokesman said.

Many buildings in the city do not have a 14th floor because the number sounds
like 'definitely dying' in Cantonese, while some are missing a fourth floor as
the figure resembles 'death'.

Some blocks have no 13th floor as the number is considered unlucky in Western
traditions.

Developers have been criticised for other marketing strategies, such as the use
of 'Peak' - which refers to one of Hong Kong's most expensive residential areas
- to name properties which are nowhere near there.

Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
93833992/ 98444400
www.marshe.net
www.smart-home.webs.com

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