Ocean Park likely to invite hotel tenders
Wendy Leung Thursday, November 02, 2006
Ocean Park is likely to call for tenders to build and operate three hotels on its land in the near future, it was disclosed Wednesday.
Park chairman Allan Zeman said the HK$5.5 billion raised for its redevelopment plan did not cover the costs of the proposed hotels
and that the build- operate-transfer model had been agreed in principle.
The successful tenderers would be allowed to build the hotels and operate them for 20 to 30 years before turning them over to the park.
He said a feasibility study was now underway and that the park would discuss the plan with the government by the end of this month. A final plan was expected early next year.
"The preliminary plan calls for three hotels. One, the Ocean Hotel
at the main entrance, will have approximately 600 rooms, the Fisherman's Wharf Hotel
at the Tai Shue Wan entrance will have 450 rooms and the Summit Hotel and Spa
will have 160 rooms," Zeman said.
LCH (Asia Pacific) Surveyors managing director Joseph Ho Chin-choi said the BOT plan was rare for hotels.
"As far as I know, this is the first time the model is being used for hotels. It is normally used for public facilities, such as tunnels, but never in hotels," Ho said.
One reason for the current scheme, Ho said, was because Ocean Park's redevelopment plan was already large and the management did not want to incur further risks of investing in three hotels.
"But the disadvantage is that the theme park will not be able to share in the profits should the hotels turn out to be profitable," Ho said.
He also said since the land use of Ocean Park was only for recreational purposes, it may have to pay a land premium before building hotels within the area.
Zeman said if there was a need to pay a land premium, it will probably be borne by the tenderers.
Most hotels in Hong Kong are either built and operated by developers or built by developers and operated by hotel management companies.
The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners executive director Michael Li Hon-shing said developers would consider bidding for hotels if they were located in prime areas and had prosperous investment prospects.
"The interest of developers for the proposed hotels at Ocean Park would depend on such factors as the facilities and transportation systems nearby, and whether the southern section of the island will be developed into a resort for family tourism," Li said. A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of the five-year redevelopment is planned for November 23
"We have invited Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen to officiate at the ceremony. There will be some special events and it will be a lot of fun
," Zeman said.
He said the date and time were picked by feng shui expert Peter So Man-fung.
Renovation work will begin with the front gate and with priority being given to the building of a vet hospital to protect the animals.
The redevelopment, first announced in March 2005, is aimed at making the Aberdeen attraction a much-improved marine-based theme park.
The HK$5.5 billion in funding consists of a HK$4.16 billion, 15-year syndicated bank loan and a 25-year HK$1.38 billion loan from the government.
The theme park is expected to attract five million visitors annually after the revamp.