Concert venue may be built near the airport

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 12:00am

A multimillion-dollar convention centre planned for Chek Lap Kok has emerged as a possible site for a new purpose-built international concert venue.

Four major construction companies have been granted the right to tender for the project. The government is investing $2 billion into the development, which is due to be completed by 2005.

Initially it was envisaged to contain only conference and exhibition facilities, but the Sunday Morning Post understands growing pressure for an international standard concert hall has led to a re-think.

A construction industry insider has told the Post that at least one of the companies bidding for the job has been canvassing opinions from international concert promoters to find out if it is worth putting a concert hall in their bid.

The Airport Authority, which is providing the land for the project, has confirmed that a purpose-built concert venue is on the agenda.

The construction industry source said: 'After talking to promoters elsewhere in the world, it is pretty clear that that acts by-pass Hong Kong because they don't think there's a venue.

'The Hong Kong Convention centre in Wan Chai is pretty well booked up - and has its limits - and the Hong Kong Coliseum is always full.

'I was talking to a promoter in Australia who brings acts in for regional tours. He said that many big name acts by-pass Hong Kong because they can find nowhere suitable to play.'

Hong Kong's live music industry is to embark on a top-to-bottom overhaul in a bid to clean up the city's tarnished image as an international concert venue.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre managing director Cliff Wallace warns time is running out to tackle problems that have led to a series of cancellations, public complaints and bad publicity in recent years. He has cautioned that the industry needs to get its act together or Hong Kong will alienate the public to a dangerous degree.

A meeting of representatives of all the industries involved in the concert business has been convened for this week to discuss the problems.