Ocean Park launches new tender for first hotel

Revised tender plans for Ocean Hotel drops minimum land premiums set by government to attract more bids from developers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 5:17am

Ocean Park has launched a new tender for its first hotel, aiming to open it in 2016 - three years behind schedule.

The Ocean Hotel at the park's main entrance should have opened this year and the Fishermen's Wharf Hotel at Tai Shue Wan in 2015.

But the plans lapsed in November 2011 because of a lack of interest by developers.

Now the park has put the 495-room Ocean Hotel back on the table with more favourable terms, including allowing bidders to set their own land premium for the 17,044 square-metre site.

Tender submissions will be accepted until April 8, while the target date for completion will be the third quarter of 2016.

No date has been set for the second hotel, which the park wants to develop in conjunction with a new Water World attraction planned at Tai Shue Wan.

Under a build-operate-transfer model, bidders will build and operate the hotels and share the profits with Ocean Park, surrendering ownership to the park in 2047. Building costs and land premiums - for changing the zoning from entertainment to hotels - were to be paid by the developers.

Since the government's high minimum land premiums discouraged bidders in the past, the new tender allows developers to decide what they can afford. The bid that passes technical requirements and offers the highest premium will win the tender.

"Now, there's no minimum premium set by the government. That will be a big, big plus," chairman Allan Zeman said.

Another change is that the successful developer will pay a flat 1.75 per cent of gross receipts to the park each year. In the former tender, the operators were expected to pay extra if they earned more.

Zeman, who had expected the first hotel to be finished in 2015 under the new tendering arrangements, said the park had lost a year discussing land premium details with the government.

He said Ocean Park was working out details for the new Water World - replacing one that closed in 1999 - before submitting a proposal to the government.

"The MTR's South Island Line should be completed by 2015, and the hotel won't be far from the station. If there's a water park, it would make the hotel more attractive," he added, referring to the Fishermen's Wharf Hotel.

More attractions will open before 2015. A new shark aquarium, created from the former Atoll Reef, will open in the third quarter of 2014. This will be followed by a koala exhibit by the end of that year.