US government invites bids on 6 multibillion-dollar Hong Kong mansions, even as White House revokes city’s trade status

The United States government is calling for bids on a cluster of residential properties in the world’s most expensive real estate market, even as Hong Kong is turning into the latest pawn in an escalating rivalry between the US and China.

A plot of land with six multistorey mansions located at 37 Shouson Hill Road near the city’s Ocean Park resort was put on the market this week.

The six mansions, each with as many as 10 bedrooms, measure about 47,382 square feet (4,400 square metres) in total, according to a tender document seen by South China Morning Post.

“Taking into account the current political and economic sentiment, the price should be 10 to 20 per cent lower than the average price of HK$85,000 per sq ft of the neighbouring project,” said Charles Chan Chiu-kwok, managing director of Savills Valuation and Professional Services Limited, who values 37 Shouson Hill Road at HK$3.2 billion.

“Mainland Chinese used to be the buyers of luxury properties. Will they buy property from the US government now? That is a question in many people’s mind.”

It is unclear how many properties the US government owns in the city. CBRE Group, the Los Angeles-based realtor, has been assigned as sales agent for the project. CBRE’s Hong Kong agents were not immediately available to comment.

The project is being sold on an “as is” basis, with all six mansions, with an agreement to lease it back. Interested buyers can bid for the project as a whole, and can tear the project down to rebuild on its floor plate measuring 92,000 square feet.

Details of the tender came to light hours after Trump announced that he would revoke Hong Kong’s special customs status, in response to the Chinese legislature’s announcement last week of introducing a national security law for the city.

Trump’s plan would affect a “full range of agreements” from an extradition treaty to commercial relations, he said, after his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Hong Kong could no longer be considered be a region that is autonomous from Beijing’s rule.