For discussion PWSC (95-96)97
on 7 February 1996


New Subhead “Purchase and fitting-out of office accommodation for the Legislative Council”

Members are invited to approve a new item in Category A of the Public Works Programme for the purchase and fitting-out of office accommodation for the Legislative Council, and minor renovation of the Legislative Council Building, at an estimated cost of $895 million at current prices.


The general office accommodation currently available for use by Members, and the Legislative Council Secretariat, is housed in several different locations, which is inconvenient to Members, and is insufficient to meet present operating requirements and to cope with the increased activities of the Legislative Council.


2. We propose to purchase and fit out some 5 850 square metres net of general office accommodation in Central, and refurbish part of the Legislative Council Building, at a total estimated cost of $895 million at current prices.


3. The Legislative Council facilities are currently housed in four separate locations which together comprise some 6 000 square metres net of owned and leased accommodation, some 3 400 square metres of which are located outside the LegCo Building. Details are at the Enclosure.

4. Even without the difficulties created by the different locations, the present area of accommodation is inadequate to meet the requirements of Members and the LegCo Secretariat. We estimate that a further 2 450 square metres net of additional space is necessary to meet the demand from Members and the LegCo Secretariat staff for general office accommodation, and for ancillary accommodation including conference, research and library facilities.

5. The Administration is, separately, considering the question of long-term, purpose-built accommodation for LegCo. In the interim, to meet the present shortfall as far as possible, and to allow us to reprovision all LegCo facilities outside the Legislative Council Building in one centralised location, we propose to purchase 5 850 square metres net of general office accommodation in Central. Once the new accommodation is ready for use, we plan to terminate the leases on accommodation used by the Legislative Council Secretariat in Swire House and the Club Lusitano Building. We will also release for other uses the space currently occupied by Members in the Central Government Office (CGO) West Wing.

6. The accommodation that we propose to purchase will be grade A office space which benefits from excellent public access and proximity to the Government Secretariat and major government departments. We recognise the need to provide space in very close proximity to the Legislative Council Building so as to ensure the efficient operation of the LegCo Secretariat and LegCo Members’ convenience in attending to their LegCo duties. We will not purchase any accommodation without consulting the Legislative Council Commission.

7. We have considered the feasibility of leasing additional accommodation, but we have not pursued this as we believe that it is not cost effective. We estimate that rental and fitting out cost could total some $85 million per year over a three-year term.

8. We will fit out the accommodation to be purchased using new style furniture and open plan layouts in order to maximise space utilisation. We will also take the opportunity presented by the additional space, to refurbish the general office accommodation in the Legislative Council Building so as to optimise utilisation and cater for the increasing volume of Council business, particularly meetings with large numbers of attendees.


9. We estimate the total cost of the project to be $895 million made up as follows -

$ million

(a) Purchasing 5850 square metres net of accomodation


(b) Fitting out accommodation to be purchased


(c) Renovating LegCo Building


(d) Reinstating Swire House and Club Lusitano premises


(e) Renovating space in CGO West Wing




10. With regard to (c) above, the cost of renovating the Legislative Council Building includes converting some space into larger conference/press rooms in the light of practical needs.

11. Subject to approval, we will phase expenditure as follows -

Year $ million

1995 - 96


1996 - 97


1997 - 98



12. We estimate the additional annually recurrent expenditure arising from the proposals to be $2.3 million.


13. We consulted the Legislative Council Commission in November 1995 and January 1996 and it agreed that the Administration should pursue the proposal to purchase suitable accommodation for LegCo quickly, subject to the approval of the Finance Committee to the necessary financial commitment.


14. The Legislative Council facilities are now housed in four different locations: the Legislative Council Building itself (which contains the Council Chamber, conference rooms and offices for the Secretariat staff), Swire House (which houses conference rooms, the Complaints Division and the Finance Committee and Panels Divisions), the Club Lusitano Building (which houses the Accounts Division and the authentication team of the Legal Services Division) and CGO West Wing (which houses Members’ offices, the Translation and Interpretation Division, and the Research and Library Division). The annual rentals for office accommodation in Swire House and the Club Lusitano Building are $8.5 million and $1.5 million respectively. The Government charges no rental for the use of accommodation in the CGO West Wing but office accommodation of comparable size in Central district would entail annual rental of some $20 million.

15. In February 1995 the Town Planning Board did not support a proposal to build an Annex to the Legislative Council Building in Charter Garden. Subsequently, in May 1995, the Legislative Council Commission decided not to pursue this option and requested the Administration to consider other possibilities.


16. We must be able to confirm the purchase of accommodation quickly when buying property of this nature, or an otherwise suitable deal might be lost. We would, therefore, like to secure funding approval for this project as soon as possible. Subject to Members’ approval, we intend to submit this item to Finance Committee for consideration at its next meeting to be held on 9 February 1996, rather than at the meeting on 1 March 1996 according to our normal timetable.

Enclosure to PWSC(95-96)97

Existing Accommodation for the Legislative Council

Square Metres

(a)Legislative Council Building


(b)CGO West Wing


(c)Swire House


(d)Club Lusitano Building




Last Updated on 8 December 1998