The firm developing the monument into a hotel may put profit before preservation, the Conservancy Association says The heritage value of the former marine police headquarters could suffer at the hands of the profit-oriented developers entrusted with transforming the site into a hotel, the head of the Conservancy Association said. The government announced yesterday that a subsidiary of Cheung Kong Holdings had won the tender to develop the Tsim Sha Tsui landmark, built in 1884. The firm paid the government $325.8 million for a 50-year grant on the land. It plans to develop a hotel with retail shops and restaurants. But Lister Cheung Lai-ping, chief executive of the Conservancy Association, said she worried whether conservation would be the company's priority. 'The problem is that their priority is to make a profit. They have said many times in the past that their shareholders come first,' Ms Cheung said. 'We're going to have to rely on our luck to see if the people in Cheung Kong can develop an excellent plan that can answer both questions, benefiting their shareholders and conserving the site.' Ms Cheung said developers could often circumvent conservation criteria set out by the government. The construction of a Wellcome supermarket in the former Stanley police station - also a Victorian-style building - was one example, she said. Wellcome placed plastic barriers to preserve parts of the site, she explained, but they could not be appreciated as they had become part of the supermarket. However, David Lung Ping-yee, former chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, said strict conservation guidelines should prevent that from happening at the marine police headquarters. Mr Lung, who helped formulate the rules, said developers had to meet international conservation guidelines in their tenders. The Antiquities and Monuments Office would also monitor the restoration. 'We were being criticised that our guidelines were too stringent and that they would kill the project,' said Mr Lung, who is the director of Architectural Conservation Programme at the University of Hong Kong. 'I have been calling for the conservation of this building for 25 years ... I'm happy the hard work has not gone down the drain.' Under the government's guidelines, Cheung Kong is required to conserve the marine police headquarters' main building and some of its surrounding areas 'to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Home Affairs and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services'. In addition, the developer cannot build 'permanent additional structures or buildings ... on the platform in order to respect the integrity of the historical setting of the monument'. Cheung Kong's proposal calls for a hotel in the station's main building. The company did not return calls for comment. The marine police had been based out of the Tsim Sha Tsui location since 1884, when it was first built. The Japanese navy had occupied that base for four years during the second world war. The site was declared a monument in 1994. Two years later, the marine police moved to their new headquarters in Sai Wan Ho. The government solicited tenders for redevelopment of the former headquarters last November. Six proposals were received.