A district councillor has urged the public to oppose the redevelopment of a Causeway Bay hotel which was opened only eight years ago.
The five-star Crowne Plaza Hong Kong on 8 Leighton Road, next to the Craigengower Cricket Club, opened in 2009 after a redevelopment. It is 29 storeys tall and houses 263 rooms.
The owner, Concord Way Limited, proposes turning the hotel into 24 storeys of office space and a shopping mall, while maintaining the same height as the existing hotel. The plan was submitted to the Town Planning Board last month and public consultation ends on Tuesday.
“[It] is complementary to the existing tourist and shopping node in Causeway Bay,” the application reads. “The proposed office development under application would not generate adverse traffic impact.”
But Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, a Wan Chai district councillor, questioned the proposal to maintain the building’s plot ratio – the ratio between the total floor area and the size of the plot – which is around 15.
Yeung said the hotel was allowed a plot ratio of 15 because it was developed before 2008, when the government decided that urban development density was too high, and that urban residential areas being turned into hotels must have a lower plot ratio.
“If this project is no longer a hotel, then according to its original planning as a residential area, the plot ratio should be lowered to 10 – the limit for the Hong Kong island urban area – and the land should be used for residential development,” Yeung wrote on Inmedia.
“Causeway Bay does not need more shopping malls to attract a crowd that we can no longer accommodate,” she added.
The proposed redevelopment only has 28 parking spaces.
Yeung said that the demand for parking space would be much higher than the supply in the building: “The district would be overloaded with traffic.”
Hotel spaces in Hong Kong have increased from 59,000 rooms in 2008 to 84,000 rooms this year.
Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the redevelopment proposal was understandable, as the growth in the number of tourists staying overnight have slowed down over the years.
“I see it as a purely commercial decision,” he told the i-Cable news channel. “When the hotel was built, it was only a few years after the mainland allowed individual travellers to Hong Kong – the occupancy rate and their spending were high. But in recent years their spending has stabilised.”
He said the government should review the demand for hotel space.