Mega Tower scheme could be scaled back
Mary Ann Benitez
Hopewell Holdings is considering scaling back the size of its controversial Mega Tower hotel project in Wan Chai.
Thomas Jefferson Wu, managing director of Hopewell Holdings, said its new flexible proposal was still in the works but would include the possibility of reducing the number of floors from the 93 storeys approved in 1994, or reducing the size of the project.
The company also unveiled plans yesterday to improve the road network to dispel criticism of the scheme.
The slope in front of Ruttonjee Hospital would be moved back, creating two more lanes on Queen's Road East. One would allow vehicles to turn left to the hospital and the other would allow traffic to turn right into Kennedy Road.
The footpath in Kennedy Road would be widened from 90cm to 2.75 metres. About HK$300 million to HK$400 million would be spent to develop a 5,575 square metre park - the size of Southorn Playground - near the hotel, which would be built between Queen's Road East and Kennedy Road.
A short film has been uploaded to the development's website, HopewellCentre2.com.
Concerns about traffic and the height of the proposed hotel have dogged the project since the idea was floated 20 years ago. Mr Wu said a taskforce would analyse public comments before the company came up with a proposal on the new hotel.
'We understand the concerns over traffic, that is why we put more effort on road-improvement work to dispel the concerns,' he said.
He did not give a timetable but expected it would take five years to build the hotel. Hopewell obtained approval from the Town Planning Board to build it in 1994.
'We believe the project will bring benefits to Hong Kong, especially to the tourism industry. It will beautify the environment and create jobs,' Mr Wu said, adding that it would increase the city's competitiveness.
He said the project had attracted support from Wan Chai residents, but the company would listen to concerns and try to address them.
'We will be willing to make some adjustments to the plans. We obtained approval after going through all the legal procedures.
'I do not think there will be lots of concessions. The height of the hotel is not the only concern.'
Last month sources said the developer was poised to unveil a revised plan that reduced density by about 5 per cent and would cut the number of storeys by four or five floors.
Opponents of the project are concerned that the tall block will obstruct air flow and views from Mid-Levels and cause traffic congestion.