Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Farglory may get Dome demolition bill

OVERLY PROTECTIVE?Farglory said an evacuation analysis based on a widespread fire was akin to asking what to do if a person with five kinds of cancer was hit by a car

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi, right, speaks in Taipei yesterday as fellow Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin looks on after Farglory Land Development Co rejected proposals submitted by a Taipei City Government safety inspection committee
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Photo: Tu Chu-wen, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government could require Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) to pay for demolishing the Taipei Dome, Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) said yesterday.

“If Farglory is responsible for the contract’s termination, there will not be any question of our purchasing the complex at its market price,” Teng said. “Farglory will be responsible for paying to demolish the structure and returning the site to its original condition.”

Farglory yesterday threatened that the city would be required to purchase the Taipei Dome complex if it continued to press its demand that either the Taipei Dome or a neighboring shopping mall be demolished.

A city safety inspection committee recommended that one of the buildings should be demolished after finding that overbuilding in the area would hinder an evacuation in case of an emergency.

Teng said that while the city remained open to any Farglory counterproposals, the firm’s current stance that it would not “tear down a single wall” failed to address the city’s concerns.

If the firm fails to respond to the city’s demands, the city will order a halt to construction before moving to terminate the firm’s contract, Teng said.

The city government maintains that the firm has violated several terms of its contract, including failing to complete construction before the contracted deadline and causing damage to the neighboring Songshan Tobacco Plant historic site.

Fellow Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮) criticized what he called “arrogant” remarks by Taipei Dome architect Stan Lo (羅興華) regarding safety, adding that Lo was “treating lives like straw.”

In response to concerns that overbuilding in the area would leave no room for fire trucks to enter the site in the event of an emergency, Lo had said that if a “modern building” was incapable of putting out a fire on its own, it should be “left to burn,” adding that the fire department should focus on saving lives rather than buildings.

Lin also accused the firm of providing inaccurate figures to the press, saying that the estimates provided by the firm showed that it would take more than 51 minutes for everyone inside to reach exits, almost double the 26-minute figure claimed by the corporation.

In response to Farglory statements that the city’s evacuation model was unrealistic, as it does not allow for the possibility of people leaving the site, Lin said the city was simply requiring that the site meet the same requirements used for other buildings, which are required to leave sufficient open space for people to disperse in the event of an emergency.

In an interview with Pop Radio, Farglory general manager Tang Chia-feng reiterated his view that the city’s evacuation analysis went “beyond the realm of common sense.”

He said that the city requiring the firm to plan for a scenario in which every floor in all five of the complex’s buildings simultaneously caught fire was “a joke,” akin to asking what should be done if a person contracted five forms of cancer and was then hit by a car.

He said demolishing the Taipei Dome or surrounding structures would violate the contract between his firm and the city, adding that his firm would be willing to accept minor construction adjustments as long as the site’s “overarching structure” remained unchanged and there were would be no delay to the site’s completion.

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