Urban planners, architects and residents gathered on Sunday to discuss alternatives for Hotel Estoril.
Urban planning advocacy group Root Planning organized a one-day discussion group at the Diocesan Pastoral Youth Centre gathering local urban planners, architects, activists and residents to talk about other possibilities for the use of the former casino-hotel that is to be redeveloped by the government.
The government announced in April that it planned to redevelop the vacant and dilapidated Hotel Estoril into a multi-purpose youth activity centre, which would include a café, performance spaces for Macau Conservatory, reading room, and sports facilities. It also suggested turning Estoril Swimming Pool into an all-season indoor pool.
The public consultation began earlier this month and was recently extended for a month as opinions over the fate of the building and its facade continued to be starkly divided, with some insisting that it represented an important part of Macau’s gaming industry history while others believed it should be demolished to make way for a new building.
Speaking during Sunday’s event, urban planner Ines Lei Hoi Ian argued that the entire building should be preserved as it represented an important part of Macau’s history, an opinion that was shared by everyone in the discussion group.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines, a participant surnamed Chu said the government shouldn’t just listen to suggestions from experts, but also residents from the area around Hotel Estoril.
Some participants in the event proposed using the former hotel as a youth hostel, pointing to the fact that there weren’t many of those in Macau, while others suggested that part of it should be used to provide commercial spaces for the local creative and cultural industries.
Other ideas put forward after the one-and-a-half-hour long discussion include a poolside cinema, rooftop garden, or a museum on the history of Macau’s gaming industry.