Fri, Nov 25, 2016 - Page 1 News List

City government starts demolishing Jiancheng Circle

‘MAUSOLEUM’:Once a bustling night market, it fell into disuse after being damaged by two fires and an unsuccessful attempt by then-mayor Ma to revive it

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Workers yesterday begin work to demolish Jiancheng Circle on Nanjing W Road in Taipei’s Datong District.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government yesterday started the demolition of Jiancheng Circle (建成圓環) in the Dadaocheng (大稻埕) area.

The Taipei Market Administration Office said that the demolition would cost about NT$2.5 million (US$78,304) and should be completed by February.

The structure is to be converted into a park, with a reservoir below the circle, which has been declared a historical structure, to be preserved, the office said.

Taipei Department of Culture Chief Secretary Liu Te-chien (劉得堅) said that a plan to preserve the reservoir would be submitted next month to the Taipei Cultural Assets Assessment Committee for review.

The Taipei Park and Street Lights Office, which is to oversee work on the park, said the facility has a NT$19 million budget and is scheduled to be completed in July.

“Time rolls on and some things are bound to become memories,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said, when asked to comment on the demolition on the sidelines of an event to promote next year’s Summer Universiade.

The structure had been rebuilt from a night market into an indoor food court during former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) term as Taipei mayor, which cost NT$200 million, Ko said.

“I am not saying that he had been negligent, but he built something strange, so much so that [the city government] could not figure out how to improve its functionality, and it had become a mausoleum,” he said.

In 1908 the circle was a bustling market and, from the 1950s to early 1990s, a night market, until it fell into disuse after the main building burned down in two separate fires in 1993 and 1999.

In an attempt to modernize the decades-old market, Ma in 2001 ordered the demolition of the food circle and built a two-story cylindrical glass building that opened in October 2003.

However, the modern building did not appeal to food vendors, residents or tourists.

A Taipei resident, surnamed Cheng (鄭,) said he used to frequent the facility with friends when it was a night market, but has not visited in more than 10 years.

Though he feels somewhat nostalgic that the modern structure is being torn down, it is about time that the facility be removed so that the land can be put to better use, Cheng said.

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