Ocean Park lets tender deadline for hotels lapse

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 November, 2011, 12:00am


The building of two hotels in Ocean Park will probably be delayed after a tender deadline lapsed yesterday with no agreement reached.

According to the original plans, the amusement park wanted two hotels - Ocean Hotel at the Ocean Park main entrance and Fisherman's Wharf Hotel at Tai Shue Wan - to open by 2013 and 2015 respectively.

But the park did not select any hotel developers from the tender period that ended yesterday.

'Some of the terms in the tender offers are not in the best interests of the parties concerned. We decided to let the tender lapse,' park chairman Allan Zeman said.

He would not give details but conceded that opening the first hotel in 2013 would not be feasible. 'It's too much of a rush,' he said.

The lapsed tender period was based on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, under which bidders would build and operate the hotels and share the profits with Ocean Park. They were required to surrender ownership of the hotels to the park after some 30 years. Building costs and land premium - for changing the land zoning from entertainment to hotels - were to be paid by the developers.

Zeman said the park's hotel steering committee would work on a 'better way' to develop the hotels next month, but it was too early to say if the BOT model would be kept.

The lapse of the tender period was the latest setback for the park's turbulent hotel development plans.

Tendering bids for the two hotels were scheduled to start in June, but it was delayed for six months as the park claimed it needed more time to consider designs and financial arrangements. A source said one bidder, Great Eagle, was not happy with the hefty amounts of land premium, but the real estate company refused to comment.

Developing hotels under the BOT model is reportedly rare in Hong Kong. Most hotels can break even only after more than 10 years, and the requirement for investors to give up hotel ownership after a designated period could be discouraging.

Meanwhile, Ocean Park is exploring the feasibility of developing Tai Shue Wan as a new themed zone with an indoor Water World, an ice skating rink and dining and entertainment facilities.