All businesses are slump due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The founder of the Bridgeway Shop Property Fund, Dr. Edwin Lee, had launched a plan of " HKD1 leasing" in the early time to help the grassroots people fight against the epidemic. Tenant inquiries are enthusiastically. There have been five shops, including one under his name have participated or rented out. Currently, he pays the owners each for HKD10,000 monthly, and then rent out for HKD1 monthly to the tenants. He urges the owners not to leave the shops unused and does not rule out that he would increase the monthly rent to HKD20,000 or more to attract the owners.
The payment to the landlord is HKD10,000, and collection from the tenant is HKD1.
The founder of Bridgeway Shop Property Fund, Dr. Edwin Lee, expresses that shops of this plan would be rented to social welfare organizations or shops of anti-epidemic supplies. The plan is to rent the shops from the owner for HKD10,000 and undertake all miscellaneous fees and land rent, with a minimum of 3 months. Then sublet them by rent of HKD1 to the social welfare agency.
Dr. Edwin Lee bluntly states that there are very few landlords willing to participate, but there are a lot of leasing inquiries. Inquiries are from hundreds of tenants, 80% of which are profit-making tenants, and 20% are social welfare industries. He believes that the approval time of some social welfare industries is too long, resulting in missing opportunities. It seems that landlords, who join the plan accepting the monthly rent of HKD10,000, are lost. But Dr. Edwin Lee points out three significant benefits. The first is the landlords do not need to reduce the rental value, the second is they can establish a good relationship with the tenant, and the third is the landlords rent the shops out with rent received.
At present, five shops have participated in the plan. Shop 19, Prince Ki Lung Street, in the construction area of about 800 sq ft, connecting an attic of about 800 sq ft, is at market rent of about HKD60,000-70,000 and has been rented to Lotus International Charity Fund by HKD1 for the use of "Hong Kong Anti-epidemic Station, "which has opened. The Secretary-General Woo Wing-Cheung points out that the station will resell or distribute masks to the neighborhood at cost, and to pass on a present of supplies donated by citizens, etc. Asked whether he would renew the rent to the landlord at the market price after three months, Woo points out that it is still under consideration.
Tenants must be social welfare agencies or sellers of anti-epidemic products.
Ground shop on No.362, Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon City, with an area of about 600 sq ft and market rent of about HKD55,000, had been rented by Hong Kong Wing Wah Medicine Group Limited to sell masks and anti-epidemic products at a cost. The shop was opened yesterday. The company emphasizes that it will not make a profit, and will sell the goods at a cost price plus HKD1. Chairman Chang Kin-Chi expresses that the Group has found in Hong Kong for fifty years and understands the principle of "helping people as a pharmacy." It intends to take the opportunity of anti-epidemic to promote family business. The Group will study pharmacy operation modes such as expanding online business, introducing central procurement, and reducing costs to benefit the neighborhood.
One tenant is the Neighborhood Advice-Action Council. The shop in No.212, Shau Kei Wan, with an area of about 450 sq ft and market rent of about HKD50,000, was owned by Dr. Edwin Lee privately, and it will open after the Restriction of Gathering is relieved. The Planning Officer Chung Ka-Yee points out that the shop will be used as a non-profit making coffee experience hall, gifting coffee sachets that made by 5 to 6 young volunteers to the neighborhoods, and it also teaches coffee-making skills. Lee points out that the operation of the shop could be more flexible, and he will extend the " HKD1 leasing" plan depending on the situation since he owns the shop.
The owners of the other two shops have negotiated details with tenants. They are shop F on Hop Yick Rd, Yuen Long, and No.30, Lee Tak St, Tai Kok Tsui, respectively. The former is rented by the mask factory, while the latter is still under negotiation.
Dr. Edwin Lee points out that the landlord's response to the " HKD1 leasing" plan is cold, and he may raise the rent depending on market conditions in the future, with HKD20,000 or even higher in the first stage. It does not matter that the shop is remote, and there is at least one person walks by every minute. He emphasized that shops should not be dead corners, upstairs, or separated space, no matter what size it is, to avoid the suspicion of supporting the market.
The budget is HKD500,000 to rent ten shops.
Dr. Edwin Lee frankly says that the budget is about HKD300,000-500,000 to rent ten shops, with the support of his family, and he will not interfere with the operation of the stores. He hopes to take the lead and encourage owners in Hong Kong to follow using the shops against the epidemic.
Regarding the market conditions of shops, Lee points out that the catering and retail industries will face a trend of close down due to the Restriction of Gathering, and commercial tenants of shop area above 1,000 sq ft would most probably be affected. He also points out that the current market conditions have not yet reached the worst. It is expected that the negative market factors will gradually appear after June to July, and many owners will soften on attitude by then.