Lee Shiu-kee (李兆基) of Kee Lee Co Ltd(基利有限公司)
York Lo: Lee Shiu-kee (李兆基)of Kee Lee Co Ltd(基利有限公司)
Left: Lee Shiu-kee as a founding director of the Real Estate Developers Association of HK. (Fung Pang-yin, 100 Years of HK Real Estate); Right: LeeShiu-kee’s residence at 12 Belleview Road in Repulse Bay
At 12 Belleview Road in Repulse Bay stands a magnificent three-story Chinese style mansion with green roof which was built around 1980. The mansion, which is called “Kee Lodge” (基廬) in Chinese, was built by and named after Lee Shiu-kee, the low-key proprietor of pioneering real estate firm Kee Lee Co Ltd who is not to be confused with the better-known real estate developer with the exact same Chinese name – Lee Shau-kee of Henderson Land. While his residence draws a lot of attention, not much is known about Lee Shiu-kee and his Kee Lee Co Ltd, which was incorporated in 1963 and started developing properties before then.
Kee Lee’s ad for Hip Lee Building in Kwun Tong in 1962 (WKYP, 1962-11-23)
To date, the author has only been able to identify three buildings which were developed by Kee Lee: Hip Lee Building(協利大樓) at 12-30 Hang On Street, Cheoy Lee Building (財利大樓) at 1-7 Yee On Street andYau Lee Building (有利大樓) at 9-27 Yee On Streetwhich were developed in 1962-63 next to each other in Kwun Tong. Also involved with the projects were two better-known real estate developers – National Investments controlled by Henry Fok (see his bio by the author in HKUP’s “Dictionary of Hong Kong Biography”) and Hip Shing Hong controlled by the family of Fong Yun-wah and the three properties in aggregate sat on 20000 sq ft of land and comprised of 251 units with 9 floors in each building. (WKYP, 1963-8-20)
Kee Lee’s ad for Cheoy Lee Building in 1963 (WKYP, 1963-6-18)
Cheoy Lee had eight retail spaces and was authorized by the government to lease to butcher shops and each retail space was for sale starting at $50000 apiece (or $90 per sq ft) while the residential flats above were selling for $30 per sq ft or $10000 per unit, allegedly the lowest price among new residential building in the Kwun district according to the ad above.
At the time of the development of the Kwun Tong buildings, Kee Lee’s office was located at 506C National Building on Ice House Street in Central as of 1962 but by 1963 it had relocated to Room 1804 of the Hang Seng Bank Building where it was still operating out of in the late 1960s.
When the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong was formed by Henry Fok and others in 1965, Lee Shiu-kee was a founding director which highlighted his stature in the industry despite of his low profile. Lee Shiu-kee and his wife Kwok So-chun(郭素珍) kept a very low profile and Kee Lee Co Ltd is still a live company and listed its address as 12 Belleview Road.
Sources (other than those cited above):
This article was first posted on 14th November 2021.
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