Arts hub set to ace next phase

Local | Charlotte Luo 11 Jun 2019

West Kowloon Cultural District Authority has started a tender process for its Art, Commerce and Exhibitions Project, which is expected to be completed in 2025.

The 135,005 square-meter project includes an exhibition center located in an arts area, a hotel, rental offices, and retail, dining and entertainment facilities.

It will be located next to the Hong Kong Palace Museum.

The authority will award the successful tenderer a contract in the third quarter of next year to design, construct, finance, maintain and operate the project under a build-operate-transfer procurement model. It is inviting bids starting tomorrow.

The company or consortium that is awarded the tender will need to design and build the entire project within five years.

There will also be a penalty if the winning bidder fails to deliver on time.

The operation period is for 30 years, during which the authority will take a cut periodically from the gross income generated.

Ownership of the land and premises will be retained by the authority.

Starting tomorrow until August 12, interested parties can submit an expression of interest to the authority.

The indicative tender date is set for the third and fourth quarter this year, during which each qualified party will submit their proposals in accordance with the requirements set out in the tender documents.

Duncan Pescod, the authority's CEO, yesterday said there are a number of foreign, mainland and Hong Kong developers that have already expressed interest in the project after a public consultation last year.

Pescod used three key words to describe his expectations of the project's design -- "functional," "interesting" and "iconic."

He said the build-operate-transfer model will generate a steady income to help enhance the authority's long-term financial sustainability.

He expects the cut the authority will take to increase over time as "it helps to pay for the operation of the district."

He said the reason why the operation period is 30 years is that the authority wants a long-term partner and the developer will need to generate profit.

The exhibition center is set to span 47,045 square meters and hold conventions, exhibitions, and performances.

An adjacent U-shaped site will cover 81,066 square meters for a hotel and offices, while an additional 6,894 square meters will be reserved for retail, dining and entertainment facilities.

The tender guidelines will contain requirements to control design of buildings and management of the exhibition and other facilities to ensure the project is compatible with the rest of development within the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Pescod said the project will bring "unprecedented commercial opportunities" as Hong Kong will have a shortage in supply of suitable event and exhibition spaces over the next 10 to 20 years.

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