Hong Kong property developers don't just tell little white lies, oh no.
The Palazzo is a new development in the New Territories. As is apparently compulsory these days it has a funny foreign name (French and Italian being favourites) and an auspicious Chinese name (御龍山 - which is something to do with an imperial dragon that lives in the mountain). It's built on top of the
KCR East Rail line opposite Fo Tan station. On one side it has views of the Fo Tan Industrial Area (and the mountain behind), and the other side there is the Hong Kong Sports Institute and City One Sha Tin (and yes, OK, some mountains behind).
On the right you should see the image the developers want to portray of this rural idyll, with a few landmarks highlighted: the racecourse, Kau To Shan, Tolo Harbour, and the place where horses will jump over some fences in August (which will surely have been demolished long before anyone moves in), and the Shing Mun river. Very green, isn't it?
Of course, when I say image, what I mean is an artist's impression...of how the developer wished it looked, rather than the reality.
Where to start? Well, I think we can discount the blue sparkling water in the Shing Mun river and the nullah because no-one would believe that, though I suppose we should be grateful that we have been spared the yachts and junks that so often appear in the water in these type of pictures.
Anyway, my eye was drawn first to the rather large clump of bushes that appear in the foreground. As luck would have it, they obscure the Fo Tan Industrial Area and the railway line. If only the artist had moved a few metres to his left or right he could have made his portrayal far more accurate, but unfortunately the imaginary bushes were in the way.
Then I noticed that the sewage works in the background have also failed to catch the artist's attention and been replaced with more lovely green stuff (that must be because it's easier to draw)
In the foreground, KCR House (as it probably isn't called anymore) has also been overlooked by the artist. The main building has simply disappeared (it should be immediately to the south of The Palazzo) and the smaller building next to it has turned into another piece of open space with bushes and trees.
That's three landmarks gone missing. In case you're getting confused, I've annotated the fantasy picture with a guide to what has been obscured by excessive imaginary green stuff (see right).
The picture on the left shows the The Palazzo being built, and you can clearly see that it fits around KCR House, which is the black building at the back right and the low white building next to it (if you're confused by the orientation, this is looking south whereas the main one is looking north). Yet you won't find it in the official artist's impression. The photograph also shows what looks like City One Shatin, which unluckily enough doesn't quite fit into the artist's impression, being just off to the bottom right.
Oh, and it seems that Ma On Shan had disappeared off into the far distance. Not nearly green enough, I fear.
Still, there's always the view of the racecourse. That's gotta be good, right? From another artist's impression (see right) which I found on their splendid website, it appears that you can see the whole racecourse from your living room (love the decor, by the way). Excellent.
Perspective can be a tricky thing, but if the racecourse is just visible beyond the tops of the apartment blocks (in the main picture), I think that means that it must be at least 700-800 metres from the nearest apartments. And, if we are going to be picky, there are also the Jockey Club staff quarters blocking the views from the lower floors (which is what this view seems to show).
The other thing that amused me (though I doubt that will influence anyone one way or the other) is that the temporary venue for the Olympics horsey bits is shown as if it were a small football stadium. It's not, though, is it? Imagination is a wonderful thing, and it would be very boring just to show the dull reality of a temporary stadium. But it isn't a League Two football ground, guys.
The website is full of all sorts of other nonsense. It's worth a look, and although it is wildly pretentious it does also seem fairly well-designed.