Pearl Horizon developer appeal denied by top court
The Court of Final Appeal has ruled against an appeal filed by Pearl Horizon developer Polytex Corporation Limited regarding the land seized by the government after the expiration of the group’s mandatory development period.
The court rejected the developer’s appeal against a decision to not overturn a January 26 ruling, which declared the rental concession of Lot P in Areia Preta – the plot designated for the luxury residence project – expired, according to a Portuguese-language verdict published by the court on Wednesday evening.
The complaint lodged by the group aimed to reverse the decision made by the Court of Final Appeal, denying the group’s Court of Second Instance appeal, by claiming that the court had not taken into account all of the information when making its decision.
The group claimed that the lot in question was its only lot under development at the time of the declaration of expiration, and the results of its seizure could potentially bring about the bankruptcy of the company.
However, noting a decision made in the Court of Second Instance, the court stated that ‘this suspension would only stop the applicant from continuing this project […] but not stop it from continuing with its other activities and other ventures in progress or being planned’.
The court further noted that the decision did ‘not imply the stoppage of the group’s construction and development activities on other lands, which have been conceded to the group or to others, in Macau or other places near or far’.
The decision comes just days after an announcement by the Pearl Horizon Homeowners Association President, Kou Meng Pok, stating that about 300 homeowners of the Pearl Horizon residential project would stop repaying their bank mortgages for the uncompleted units.
In November, the top court also turned down another appeal by the developer trying to overturn the government’s decision, which requested the highest court to terminate the effectiveness of a dispatch by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On regarding reclaiming the land plot, on the grounds that the reclamation would create ‘unrecoverable loss’ for the company.
The Pearl Horizon project was originally designed to comprise 18 towers with over 5,000 residential units. Over 3,000 of these units had already been sold in off-plan sales before the temporary land concession for the site expired, prompting a string of protests, requests and petitions, at various sites including the lot in question and at the government headquarters.
But the parent company of Polytex, Hong Kong-listed developer Polytec Asset Holdings has been claiming that it has ‘strong legal grounds’ to win a lawsuit levelled against the government, which has yet to achieve a ruling, for compensation time to complete the high-end residential project.
The grounds for the lawsuit are claims by the company that the delay in developing the property before the end of its 25-year concession agreement was due to delays by the local government in granting requisite approvals and permits for the project’s development.