Having been vacant for two years, the second floor of Taipei Railway Station will come alive next month when more than 50 restaurants open their doors and start operations.
The Breeze Center (微風廣場) department store, which earned the right to operate the venue for 18 years via an open bid process, plans to turn the nearly 5,000-ping (16,500m2) of space into a large-scale food court showcasing the nation's top 10 beef noodle restaurants, famed dumpling stores, food booths from the now-defunct Jiancheng Circle (建成圓環) and cafe houses.
"So far, it has been a smooth process signing up tenants. But as it takes more time to apply for operational licenses, the formal inauguration date has been delayed from last month to late August," said Jason Tsai (蔡明澤), a Breeze Center spokesman, during a telephone interview yesterday.
After building a reputation for developing the Breeze Center into a designer brand mecca, the retailer's executive director Henry Liao (廖鎮漢) vowed to create the nation's largest food court.
Taipei Railway Station will eventually be a hub for railway services, the high-speed rail, long-haul passenger buses, Taipei's mass rapid transportation system (MRT) and the new MRT system to the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, attracting 22 million passengers per year, he said.
If and when direct links with China become a reality, there will be even bigger potential, he said.
The retailer estimated that the new food court would require sales of NT$1 billion (US$30.5 million) a year to break even.
Breeze Center won the right to develop the station's second floor in September last year and will pay royalties of NT$60 million per year to the Taiwan Railway Administration.
The second stage of the project will be to develop the station's first floor and its basement.