HPW Co (海霸王企業), which runs restaurants, hotels and food logistics centers in Taiwan and China, yesterday won a foreclosure auction of several floors Kaohsiung’s tallest building, 85 Sky Tower (高雄85大樓), for NT$5.44 billion (US$176.05 million).
The figure was NT$10,000 higher than the asking price after two failed bids reduced it by 40 percent, court data showed.
HPW won the bid for the 34th, 35th and 37th to 85th floors of the tower, which house 85 Sky Tower Hotel (君鴻國際酒店) and another lodging facility.
HPW said it aims to increase its presence in the city, encouraged by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) efforts to attract investors and tourists.
The investment comes after the company last month announced plans to build a mixed-use frozen-foods logistics park at a cost of NT$8 billion at Cianjhen Fishing Port (前鎮漁港) in Kaohsiung, which is to mimic Addiction Aquatic Development (AAD, 上引水產) in Taipei.
HPW president Chuang Jung-te (莊榮德), founder of seafood restaurant chain Hai Pa Wang (海霸王), earlier said that he and his son Chuang Li-chih (莊立自) hope to help regenerate Kaohsiung.
The family built the first Hai Pa Wang restaurant in the city in 1972.
The logistics park would not only provide venues for fish and fishery product transactions, but would also set aside space for young people to develop e-commerce, the company said.
HPW aims to increase its number of hotel rooms to 6,000 within a few years from 2,249 at present, Chuang Jung-te said.
The group operates hotels under the City Suites (城市商旅), Papa Whale Hotel and Midtown Richardson (德立莊) brands in Taipei, Taoyuan, Yilan, Taichung and Kaohsiung.
The purchase of 85 Sky Tower Hotel would raise the group’s profile in the local hospitality industry and help boost confidence for potential participants, analysts said.
Hotel operators in Kaohsiung have taken a hard hit in recent years amid a sharp decline in Chinese tourists, with some seeking to exit, but unable to find buyers.
Buying prospects have improved for Hotel R Kaohsiung (皇家尊龍大酒店), which has an asking price of NT$576 million, analysts said.
A third foreclosure auction is set for March 27.
The downturn is likely to have bottomed out in light of a 9.27 percent rebound in Chinese tourists in January from a year earlier, despite an overall retreat in inbound travelers, Tourism Bureau data showed.
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