Regranting or new bidding on former Pearl Horizon plot not legally possible

The Government indicates that suggestions for either a regranting or new bidding process for the rights to the land plot formerly assigned to the Pearl Horizon project is not possible under the public interest provisions stipulated in the Land Law.

The Land Law stipulates that only economic activities fulfilling a public good, and that are beneficial to the social development of Macao, will be exempted from a public tendering process when seeking a land concession. Such economic actors include public utilities and those developing either education, cultural affairs, healthcare or sports facilities.

The Government reiterates its determination to see protected the interests of those confirmed as homebuyers in the unfinished Pearl Horizon project. Its land plot reverted to the administration following a court ruling.

Regarding suggestions of inviting bidding for the former Pearl Horizon plot, the Government finds such a proposal difficult in practical terms, after in-depth research and discussions with parties involved.

Firstly, the plot – covering an area of 68,000 square metres – would have to be divided into four land plots, each offered to distinct bidders, because the law requires that any plot for any concession that is not working directly in the public interest must not exceed a gross area of 20,000 square metres. In this case, the developer of the former Pearl Horizon project, Polytex Corporation Ltd, would only be able to bid for a single plot, meaning even if successful, the company could not continue in any form the original Pearl Horizon project on the same site.

Secondly, the law does not enable the Government to impose specific requirements on future bidders for the former Pearl Horizon plot to sell residential units under the same conditions stated in the pre-sale contracts between Pearl Horizon homebuyers and Polytex Corporation Ltd. Hence, a suggestion of including “special terms” in land concessions is not possible.

In addition, the Government urges Pearl Horizon homebuyers to seek compensation from the Pearl Horizon developer, as the right to such compensation is time-limited. The developer is also urged to fulfil its responsibilities stated in contracts and compensate homebuyers accordingly.

Polytex Corporation Ltd has made a civil court filing seeking compensation from the Government. Such action, nonetheless, will not affect the company’s responsibilities regarding compensation for pre-sale homebuyers.

The developer submitted in 2014 a written statement to the Government, stating the company would seek neither compensation nor indemnity from the Government should its land concession not be regranted.

In late May the Government proposed using the former Pearl Horizon plot to provide interim public housing. Such housing would primarily be for those affected by the redevelopment of the city’s old districts under the existing urban renewal plan, but that would also be made available to Pearl Horizon pre-sale homebuyers.

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