Hong Kong churches now prime locations for real estate development

Global Business

Land allocated to churches during British colonial rule has become prized real estate in Hong Kong. Soaring real estate prices have led churches in the city to redevelop its prime properties, either on their own or in partnership with the city’s biggest developers. CCTV’s Cathy Yang reported this story from Hong Kong.

Construction at Hong Kong’s Methodist International Church is in full swing. The church is building a 22-story tower in the heart of Hong Kong, taking advantage of soaring property prices as the city runs out of space.

“The new church will have 22 floors, which we as a church will have 10, for our worship,” Reverend Howard Mellor of the Methodist International Church said.

Another house of worship, the Union Church in Hong Kong, has teamed up with billionaire Lee Shau-kee, the city’s second richest man, to transform its two-story brick church into another 22-story tower, this one with 17 floors of apartments.

In the city’s financial district, an Anglican cathedral plans to build two towers as part of a redevelopment near the city’s nightlife district. Back in 1993, the cathedral made a property deal that earned around $141 million.

“In terms of margins, I would think these kinds of developments might not generate as much as from their own developments, but still there is money to be made,” David Ji, director of real-estate consultant Knight Frank Greater China said.

The churches plan to use the income from their real estate ventures to repair or replace aging buildings and expand and support their outreach programs.