Hong Kong officials overseeing a proposed officials overseeing said on Friday the project should be carved up and shared rather than being awarded to a single developer.
The announcement marked a turning point for the HK$40 billion (US$5.1 billion; Ђ4.2 billion) mega West Kowloon Cultural Project comprising museums, theaters, shopping malls and residential estates.
Planning has dragged on for years due to widespread controversy. In particular, the government's previous insistence on making a single developer responsible for the 40-hectare (98.8 acres) plot of prime harbor front land was deeply unpopular.
The new proposal seeks to allay public opposition by giving one developer the rights to only half of the plot. The same developer will also have to commit HK$30 billion to build and maintain the not-for-profit cultural facilities, which must take up at least 30 per cent of total project area.
The rest will be put out to open tender for residential development. "Public opinion must be heeded. The single developer plan must give way to a multi-developer approach," Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui told reporters after briefing the Legislative Council, reports the AP. I.L.