Developers face critical shortage
25 February 2005
In a startling development which is likely to have far-reaching implications for real estate development in Hong Kong, Webb-site.com has learned that the developer cartel is running critically short of a key commodity - not land, but nouns for naming buildings.
New World Development Co Ltd (NWD, 0017) and MTR Corp Ltd (MTR, 0066) have reportedly come to the end of the line in Tseung Kwan O, and have resorted to using an adjective for a joint venture residential project above the station to be named "The Grandiose". Future projects are believed to have the working titles of "The Big", "The Enormous" and "The Extravagant", but sources, who themselves wish to remain nameless, expressed concern that without sensible names, the projects may be a hard sell.
One analyst pointed out that "The Grandiose" is an anagram of "I End Shortage" - which is what the use of adjectives will do, for now at least.
The Real Estate Developers Association, reacting to the sudden exhaustion of supply, called upon the Government to release more nouns onto the reserve list. The Government is understood to have commissioned a study on whether nouns can be reclaimed from Victoria Harbour, but Christine Loh said that the Protection of "The Harbour" Ordinance meant that "Harbour" was not an available noun, and Victoria was "too proper" as far as nouns go. "In any case", she added, "there has already been excessive use of 'The Harbour' for buildings such as Harbour Centre in Wanchai, The Harbourside in West Kowloon and The Harbourfront Landmark in Hunghom".
Meanwhile a Housing Authority tenant has filed an application in the Court of First Instance seeking a ruling that all nouns belong to the people and the Government should be prohibited from transferring nouns to the developers. The Government is hedging its bets and is believed to be considering tendering nouns not previously in its vocabulary, such as "democracy" and "competition", although the tycoons say there is little public demand for such things.
The problem is not isolated to building names. Listed companies may soon be running into similar shortages, judging by the latest IPO of a company named after a punctuated pronoun, I.T Limited which is listing under the alarming stock code of "999".
© Webb-site.com, 2005
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