The Taipei City Government signed a contract with the Farglory Group (遠雄企業團) yesterday to build a dome complex on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis by 2010.
Farglory plans to invest more than NT$23 billion (US$695.9 million) to erect a 130,000 ping (429,000m2) complex in the site of the historic Sungshan Tobacco Factory (
Chao said the construction project would create between 7,000 and 8,000 jobs.
He also said that he was confident his team could build "the best dome in the world."
The complex will include a 40,000-seat indoor multifunctional stadium, a department store with restaurants and movie theaters, a five-star hotel and a business center, and an office building.
"Today is a very important day for Taipei, as 2.6 million residents will have a better place to go," said Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who signed the contract with Chao.
The new stadium will not only be a indoor stadium for baseball, it will be a good venue for large-scale concerts, international exhibitions and conventions, which many event organizers have yearned for, the mayor said.
Farglory will operate the Taipei Dome Complex for 50 years. After that, ownership and operation of the complex will revert to the Taipei City Government.
"If the city government can hand over the land on time next year, we are confident that we can complete the project and start operations even earlier," Chao said.
The city government began demolishing structures on the site last month and will hand over the land to Farglory after the work is done.
However, it plans to restore the tobacco factory and warehouses and turn them into a museum and theater.
Ma said that the city government spent NT$20 billion to buy the land and then spent nearly seven years planning the dome project.
The project has been on hold for three years. In 2002, the Cabinet approved the city's proposal to turn the site into a dome complex. A construction team led by Farglory won the BOT bid in May 2004.
At the time Farglory said that it would begin construction in September last year, with completion scheduled for December next year.
But the city revoked Farglory's contractor's qualification after the team's designer -- Ricky Liu & Associates (劉培森建築師事務所) -- pulled out the project last October because of a disagreement over the allotment of shares in a planned dome company with Farglory.
After several rounds of appeals, the city government in June finally approved Farglory continuing the project with partners including designer HOK Sport+Venue+Event from the US and the Japanese construction firm Obayashi Corp.
Additional reporting by CNA