Lack of progress on Disneyland plans could harm city firms

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 March, 2009, 12:00am

Architectural and consulting firms involved in the Hong Kong Disneyland expansion could be facing layoffs after the corporate parent suspended work on the project, sources say.

Among the companies affected were architectural firm Leigh & Orange and two engineering consultants, Meinhardt and Arup, the sources said.

The firms could not be reached for comment last night.

It is understood that Disney will have to compensate the firms involved.

Last week, the Walt Disney Company revealed that it had halted all creative and design work on the proposed expansion of the theme park after being told by the government that there was no timetable on the way forward.

Thirty-five Hong Kong-based Disney staff responsible for master planning, developing and designing the expansion were laid off.

The layoffs come a month after Disney said an undisclosed number of jobs in the US would be shed as part of a corporate overhaul as it trimmed overheads amid the economic downturn and poor consumer spending.

The halting of work on Hong Kong Disneyland also meant tenders for various related projects have been delayed.

According to a source at a local Disney vendor, which declined to be identified, bidding was originally supposed to happen in January but was pushed to this month and has now been shelved.

'Of course, we might not be successful in our bid. But there is obviously going to be an impact on us,' the vendor source said.

Disney is a major client of the vendor, which was involved in the manufacture of the animatronic dolls and toys used in the theme park's It's a Small World attraction.

Nearly all of the vendor's employees worked on Disney projects.

The sources said designs for the expansion featured three themed 'lands' - an American Old West area with a roller-coaster train ride, a North Pole-themed glacial environment and a Haunted Mansion.


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