HONG KONG-The Hong Kong government has invited four developers to submit bids for the design and construction of new government headquarters on the harborside downtown site of Tamar, the territory’s most expensive piece of empty land. The hk $5.2 billion ($667 million) project, which is due to begin construction in mid-2007, will include a complex for the Legislative Council and the government and a two-hectare open space, an official statement says.

The project, which should be completed by the end of 2010, will be constructed by one of four short-listed property joint ventures, which have to submit their final bids by the end of January. The government did not release details of who the four developers are.

The 4.2-hectare Tamar site, nestled in the heart of Hong Kong’s high-rise Downtown area, was the former British naval base and remains a prime harbourside site. The 6,000-page tender document spells out the government’s overall design objectives as well as its architectural, structural and planning requirements.

The plan has been changed several times in an attempt to deal with opposition from planners, developers and legislators who want to preserve the tiny city’s dwindling public spaces. The proposal, first put forward in 2003, has also been attacked by conservationists who want to convert the concrete-covered plot into a green public park. It finally gained the legislators’ approval in June.

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