Wed, Mar 20, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Central government approves domed stadium project for tobacco factory site

STRINGS ATTACHED Taipei City got the green light from the central government to build a domed stadium where the Sungshan tobacco factory now lies, but city officials have concerns about project financing

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Taipei City Government official yesterday confirmed that the central government has officially approved the construction of a domed stadium on the site of the old Sungshan tobacco factory (松山菸廠).

"We received the official approval document from the central government on Monday and we are delighted by it," said Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), a Taipei City Government spokesman.

"The approval, however, came with conditions stating that the domed stadium must be completed in three years," Wu said.

"The Taipei City Government must also assume possession of the entire Sungshan tobacco factory site."

While meeting the first condition is not expected be a problem, Wu said, "[Taipei] Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is seeking further negotiations with the central government concerning the second condition, on the issue of land."

Located off Kuangfu North Road between Chunghsiao East Road and Civil Boulevard, the old Sungshan tobacco site is a strip of land measuring 18.2 hectares and is valued at approximately NT$25 billion (US$714.2 million).

Last month, the central government agreed that the city can appropriate the land either by cash payment or by trading comparable land elsewhere.

"The thing is, however, that we don't really need the whole Sungshan tobacco factory site to build a 45,000-seat domed stadium," Wu said.

"Besides, judging from the current financial state of the Taipei City Government, we won't be able to afford the entire site," the spokesman said.

Wu said that the city government wants to trade only a part of the old Sungshan tobacco factory site for a piece of land, labeled A21, in the city's Hsinyi district.

"It is valued at approximate;y NT$12 billion, according to current prices," he said.

"We would like to use just part of the Sungshan tobacco factory land that is not of historical value," Wu said. "And that the central government can keep the rest."

Wu was referring to the fact that the Council for Economic Planning and Development has instructed the Taipei City Gov-ernment to take into account the fact that the Sungshan tobacco factory is designated a historic site and that the stadium project's impact on the site must be considered.

"We will negotiate these issues with the central government as soon as we can so that we can soon carry out the stadium project," he said.

The project was initiated by former Taipei mayor and now President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

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