The locally registered Polytex Import and Export Co. Ltd. will demand from the government at least 60 billion patacas in compensation if the government fails to grant the land concession of the mothballed Pearl Horizon mixed-used property project to company again, the Portuguese-language newspaper Hoje Macau reported Tuesday.
The daily quoted the company’s lawyer, Executive Council member Leonel Alves, as saying that Polytex would take the government to court over the 60 billion patacas compensation demand – which would be the biggest in Macau’s history.
“Based on our provisional accounts, the minimum amount should not be below 60 billion patacas,” Alves, a former lawmaker, said.
The Executive Council is the government’ top advisory body.
The report came after the government said in a statement on Monday that Polytex had promised in a letter to the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) in 2014 that it would not demand compensation or indemnification if the government decided not to grant it the Pearl Horizon plot again.
However, Alves told the daily that the letter was “absolutely invalid” in legal terms.
According to Alves, the large-scale project covers 68,000 square metres.
The government cancelled the company’s provisional land concession for the Pearl Horizon project in January 2017 after it had expired in December 2016 after 25 years as the residential-cum-commercial development project never got off the ground throughout the quarter-of-a-century period, apart from some preliminary work.
The government said last month that it would build a temporary housing project on the plot near the Orient Pearl roundabout, and that some of the flats would be sold to individual Pearl Horizon pre-sale buyers under special conditions.
The government made the announcement after the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) had turned down an appeal by Polytex against the government’s 2017 decision to terminate the provisional land concession.
Hundreds of individual and corporate buyers are said to be affected by the Pearl Horizon fiasco. Many of them are paying monthly mortgage payments on flats that have never been built. A major part of the pre-sale buyers are understood to be immigrants from Fujian province. Some of the never-built units are said to have been used for property speculation.
Polytex is the local arm of Hong Kong-listed real estate development company Polytec Asset Holdings Ltd. headed by high-profile businessman Johnny Or Wai-sheun. Polytec said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on May 24 that its “interests” in the Pearl Horizon project in Macau amounted to about HK$7.84 billion (8.08 billion patacas).
In the statement, Polytec also said that its Macau-registered affiliate Polytex “has strong legal grounds and arguments to seek compensation” from the Macau government “for losses and damages” concerning its suspended Pearl Horizon property project.