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Proponents respond to West Kowloon development parameters

The Government confirmed today (January 27) that it had received responses from the three screened-in proponents on proposed development parameters and conditions for the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) project.

"The three screened-in proponents have responded respectively to the development parameters and conditions proposed by the Government in October last year," a government spokesman said.

"All of them expressed an interest in continuing to participate in the WKCD project. They have also raised some specific questions about the proposed development parameters and conditions, including arrangements for the carving out of commercial and residential portions, use of sale proceeds from the carved-out portions, contributions towards the $30 billion fund, etc.

"We need time to study the proponents' responses, and will announce and give an account to the public for the next steps for the WKCD project," the spokesman said.

The Government issued the Invitation for Proposals for the WKCD project in September, 2003. An extensive public consultation on the development of the WKCD and the three screened-in proposals was organised by the Government from mid-December 2004 to the end of June last year.

Based on public views, the Government on October 7 last year proposed the introduction of a set of new development parameters and conditions (see Annex A) for the WKCD project under the current development framework, including abolishing the single-development approach. The successful proponent is required to carve out at least 50% of the commercial and residential gross floor area (GFA) for bidding by other developers in a fair process. It is also required to pay $30 billion upfront to establish a fund to support the sustainable operation of the WKCD. Moreover, there are restrictions on the maximum residential GFA and plot ratio, while a minimum net operating floor area for arts and cultural facilities equivalent to 30% of the total GFA is specified.

After announcing the new development parameters and conditions, the Government invited the three screened-in proponents to respond to these proposals by the end of January this year. The Government had subsequently exchanged views with the Legislative Council, the Town Planning Board, the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee, and relevant professional and cultural and arts groups over such development parameters and conditions.

"The Government's policy objective for the WKCD is to develop a world-class arts and cultural district, enrich people's arts and cultural life, promote tourism and create jobs. The WKCD will provide cultural and arts groups with more performance venues, resources and opportunities to stretch their wings. We hope the project will create an environment that gives full play to the talent of artists and cultural workers. As such, we attach great importance to the views of the practitioners in the arts and cultural sectors. We have been communicating and exchanging views with them and will continue to do so," the spokesman quoted the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, as saying.

The WKCD will provide a number of arts and cultural facilities, including three theatres, a museum cluster comprising four museums of differing themes, a large art exhibition centre, a performance venue with a capacity of 10 000 seats and a water amphitheatre (See Annex B), as well as at least 20 hectares of open space. The uniquely designed canopy with its sinuously flowing form will also become an eye-catching icon on the west Kowloon harbour-front, enhancing the world famous Victoria Harbour.

Ends/Friday, January 27, 2006
Issued at HKT 18:53