Henry Cheng Kar-shun, chairman of New World Development, said he is baffled at the objections raised by some people to a government plan to award his company the Tsim Tsa Tsui harborfront redevelopment project.
New World won’t be making any money from the project, Cheng said, adding that the criticism that the project should have been awarded through an open tender is also off the mark.
“There is no profit to be gained… We are only interested because we have New World Centre” in the area, the tycoon said on Thursday.
All that New World wants to do is give the waterfront area a facelift, Cheng said, adding that it is surprising why people would want to restrain the company from doing so.
He dismissed charges of collusion between his group and government authorities.
In his first public remarks since a controversy erupted over the harborfront redevelopment plan, Cheng said he is of the opinion that an open tender wouldn’t attract much interest as there isn’t enough money to be made from the project.
But in case there is open tendering, his group will join the bidding, he said.
While there won’t be any profit, the group expects some spillover benefits from the harborfront spruce-up, Cheng said.
As the Avenue of Stars is old and has been described as unattractive, it needs a facelift to improve the visitor numbers, Cheng said.
“We hope our business will benefit from increased traffic flow to the Avenue.”
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department announced Wednesday that it won’t sign contract with New World Development this year, and that it will launch a public consultation later.
The department will hand in a proposal on public consultation to the Harbourfront Commission within 10 working days.
Cheng said he doesn’t understand why the project needs public consultation.
The district council, the Tourism Board and the traffic department have all approved the project earlier, and no one voiced any concern at that time, the tycoon noted.
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