Cheung Kong (Holdings) has secured approval to build a hotel incorporating a split-type air-condition system on the waterfront of Hunghom. A government official said the Buildings Department had approved in principle a hotel development that would comprise five 18-storey hotel blocks over a basement, providing a total of about 1,700 rooms with an average size of more than 600 sq ft. A Buildings Department spokesman said the developer was applying for a patent for a franchise of its particular air-condition system design. She said the department had been asked by the developer not to disclose further details about the hotel development for reasons of commercial confidentiality. According to a professional practice note set by the government, hotel development has to be facilitated with conventional air-condition systems for the whole block and to provide sufficient back-of-house facilities to serve the guests. However, the original building plan submitted by Cheung Kong was in breach of the above guidelines and was rejected by the Buildings Department in April. One source said Cheung Kong had revised the plan to include more space provided for sufficient back-of-house facilities and convinced the Buildings Department that it could be operated as a licensed hotel. He said the department was also convinced that the new air-conditioning system introduced by Cheung Kong could suit the needs of hotel guests. 'It is a special design to incorporate split-type air-condition units as a supplementary cooling system for the guest rooms,' he said. He said Cheung Kong had demonstrated that the split-type air-condition units were introduced for energy saving reasons and a central air-condition system would also be used. The developer had appointed an expert for research purposes to show the new system was energy efficient, while the comfort of the hotel guests could be enhanced, he said. The site, spanning 2.03 hectares, was acquired by Cheung Kong for HK$1.09 billion through an auction last August. The company also paid HK$655 million for a neighbouring one-hectare commercial plot at last October's auction. It had proposed to build 1,380 rooms in three 30-storey hotel blocks over a three-storey car parking podium on the site. The application was rejected due to the lack of sufficient hotel facilities and the guest rooms being provided with split type air-conditioning units. A buildings official said the case was subject to further discussions in the buildings authority committee, pending further details to be submitted by the applicant.