Business

Residents' victory over developer

Chinese hotel near Devon House redraws plans

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Friday, October 19, 2012    

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THE Chinese developer of a hotel behind Devon House, Kingston, has buckled to pressure from its neighbours and scrapped plans for a games room and roof-top entertainment.

ZDA Construction Limited's three-storey, 56-bedroom Shanghai Hotel was supposed to have a multipurpose games room and an open-air party space on the roof, along with a gym, a meeting room, a pool, and a restaurant.

But members of the Canterbury Manor Citizens Association objected to some aspects of the development.

"When persons heard games room, they got the impression that there will be a casino," said George Duncan, the lawyer for ZDA Construction. "That has been taken off."

The lot on 1-3 Canterbury Road, off Kingsway, remains empty because final approval for its construction has not been given.

Residents also complain that the hotel is out of character, as most adjoining buildings along Kingsway do not exceed two floors, and that it could restrict light and airflow, according to the citizen's association.

Buildings on Kingsway are primarily residential and a hotel with large-scale business entertainment and recreational activities would be out of place, it said.

But Duncan said the character of the area has changed with time and a three-storey boutique business hotel shouldn't be an issue.

"The area was for single family homes, but has changed to multi-family homes, and some businesses are nearby," he said.

"Foreign direct investment would be brought to the country, value will be added to the land, and it will improve the aesthetics of area, because the area currently has an empty lot."

ZDA Construction's Deputy General Manager Gary Zhong said the area isn't solely residential. The hotel would be near to the Andrew's Memorial Hospital, Devon House and other businesses, making it ideal for the area.

"The tourism minister encourages more hotels," said Zhong. "This is not like a resort, rather a business hotel."

Preliminary plans have been submitted to the National Environmental and Planning Agency. The hotel is currently in its initial stages of development and has not been granted any permit or approval by the Town and Country Planning Authority.

If built, the hotel will host business people, executives and government officials who need to meet.

"It doesn't mean that guests will come from any one country," Duncan said.

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