The Capitol Cinema is expected to open by year-end, according to local property investor and developer William Kuan Vai Lam.
Previously, the developer claimed that the Theatre could be reopened by mid-year.
Kuan also revealed that the expenses until now in renovating the space had reached MOP10 million (US$1.24 million).
“The condition of the place is worse that we had [previously] realised,” Kuan told Business Daily, adding that the revamp will take another three to four months.
In a recent interview with Business Daily, the businessman revealed the renovation of the property would cost between MOP20 million (US$2.5 million) and MOP30 million.
Just for the refurbishment of the cinema on the top floor, the businessman was prepared to foot a bill of MOP3 million for improving the conditions of the 380-seat auditorium and updating the equipment.
Meanwhile, Kuan declined to comment on a lawsuit involving four vendors on the ground floor of the Capitol Cinema, but stated that “two things will be happening at the same time; the renovation and the judicial procedures”.
The developer has been embroiled in legal disputes with four food vendors on the ground floor which have prevented the refurbishment of the entire building and have dragged on for years.
Kuan and his company have formed a new management committee, suing the four vendors for “illegal occupation” of the common area of the theatre, while the four vendors claim they have been allowed to use the space to run their businesses since 1998 by paying monthly rental to the former property management company.
One of the food vendors told Business Daily yesterday that they had recently won a lawsuit at the Court of First Appeal, which ruled in favour of the legitimate rental contract.
The food vendor added that the developer had proceeded to appeal the lawsuit, revealing that they were being sued in an individual case while the other vendors were grouped together in a separate court case.
The food vendor indicated that they had not met with Kuan since being sued a number of years ago.
Capitol Theatre has gradually slipped into dilapidation in recent times due to poor property management: most of the stores have been vacated except for a few merchants and food vendors on the ground floor whilst the gaming arcade has ceased operating.
In addition to a 380-seat cinema on the fourth and highest floor, there are around 100-plus shop spaces in the property, of which most are currently vacant.
Running for election
When asked whether the legal dispute might pose a negative impact upon the property developer’s run for the Legislative Assembly, Kuan said “this is not only about me first of all; I’m just one of the many parties of the cinema”.
Being the first time he has co-operated with incumbent legislator Angela Leong On Kei, Kuan perceived that the co-operation would help in the run for a seat.
“We have common ideas on things […] and we can complement our different shortcomings,” remarked Kuan.
Kuan has twice attempted to run for a seat in the Legislative Assembly.