Thu, Jul 14, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Farglory seeks swift Dome resolution

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT:Group founder Chao Teng-hsiung said accusations of safety issues were insulting, as the project has backing from engineers and architects

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Farglory Group founder Chao Teng-hsiung speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Farglory Group (遠雄集團) yesterday asked the Taipei City Government to allow construction to resume on the Taipei Dome project or for the city to buy it back as soon as possible, citing safety reasons.

Farglory Group founder Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) made the plea at a news conference in Taipei after the city government reiterated plans to dissolve the build-operate-transfer contract if the group fails to address safety concerns.

“The project is 80 percent complete and it would cost more to tear it down than to finish it,” Chao said.

The group has invested NT$30 billion (US$932.2 million) into development of the complex, which was to feature a cultural site and an office building, as well as retail, entertainment and lodging facilities, Chao said.

Total losses could reach NT$50 billion to NT$60 billion should the government decide to demolish the project, turning the site into wasteland, he said.

“If Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) dislikes me or Farglory for political or personal reasons, the group would agree to terminate the contract, but only on the condition that the group is not blamed for any construction issues,” he said.

Chao, whose business interests include Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設), Farglory Life Insurance Co (遠雄人壽), Farglory Hotel Co (遠雄悅來飯店), the Farglory Free Trade Zone, Taiwan Solar Energy Corp (元晶太陽能) and Golden Biotechnology Corp (國鼎生物科技), said he favored carrying the project through.

The project was seven months from completion before the city government in May last year ordered work to be suspended, citing safety concerns.

Chao dismissed the accusations of safety issues as unprofessional and insulting, saying the construction has the endorsement of international engineers and architects, while Farglory-built offices and residential buildings demonstrate quality and safety.

Extending the “status quo” poses more danger than resuming construction amid typhoon season, as many parts of the structure have started to rust, Chao said, adding that patchy repairs would not solve the problem.

Several prominent industrialists have tried to mediate between the two sides over the past few months, but the city government has yet to reach a conclusions, apart from asking Farglory Group to address safety concerns, he said.

Chao said the Dome project was undertaken according to the strictest standards to resist fires and natural disasters.

The city government last month said that Farglory Group has to settle safety issues by Sept. 8 or its contract would be terminated.

Meanwhile, Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) dismissed an accusation by Farglory Group that the city had breached the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法).

Lin said that a safety review was jointly conducted over three months by government officials and foreign experts, rather than the two days Farglory Group said it took.

He said that three experts mentioned by Farglory Group belonged to three different companies, so three bids were launched instead of one.

He said that Farglory Group was probably referring to the time the city government took to sign contracts with overseas firms for the safety review.

Additional reporting by Sean Lin

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