Profit tipped for hotel at old police station

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, 12:00am

The boutique hotel proposed for the old Tai O Police Station is expected to generate a profit in the second year of operation, the hotel's head told lawmakers yesterday.

The police station is one of six historic buildings to be revitalised by non-governmental organisations. The Legislative Council is expected to approve funding of almost HK$65 million for the hotel's renovation this year. The project is to be completed in 2013.

Heritage Conservation Foundation executive director Daryl Ng Win-kong told legislators the hotel was expected to break even after its first year of operation and to generate an annual profit of about HK$600,000 starting from the second year.

'It's hard to recover the huge amount of renovation cost given our limited number of rooms, but we hope the operation cost can be self-sustained,' said Mr Ng, an executive director of developer Sino Group.

The hotel will have nine guest rooms and a rooftop restaurant. Each room will cost about HK$1,500 to HK$2,000 a day and the occupancy rate is estimated at about 45 per cent. The annual operating cost will be about HK$4 million.

Responding to lawmakers' concerns about public access to the hotel, Mr Ng said the foundation had set up a committee including historians and district representatives to advise on taking the project forward.

Commissioner for Heritage Jack Chan Jick-chi said three heritage tours would be organised for tourists every day, and the restaurant would open certain areas to the public.

Foundation assistant general manager Una Lau said workshops would be organised for tourists interested in learning about Tai O's history and making local specialties like salted fish and glutinous rice cake. Tai O residents would be trained and paid for leading the workshops.

League of Social Democrats Lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip, said the foundation should improve public access by increasing the number of tours. He also said the project should not follow the example of the Marine Police Headquarters revitalisation project in Tsim Sha Tsui, a project criticised for removing greenery.