Sat, Nov 09, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Taipei must get tough to save Novel Hall: officials

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday urged the Taipei City Government to keep Novel Hall in its current location by declaring it a historical building, following reports that the China Trust Financial Group is requesting more floor space as a condition to not relocate the theater.

The fate of the theater in Xinyi District (信義) has sparked concern from artistic and cultural groups after China Trust revealed its plan to move its headquarters, which encompass the theater, to Nangang District (南港) and sell the land in Xinyi, which is estimated to be worth about NT$25 billion (US$836 million).

DPP Taipei City coucilors Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) and Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) said at a press conference yesterday that China Trust will only agree to not move the theater if the city government grants it a similar preferential floor area ratio elsewhere.

The company initially built the theater in return for being allowed to have a higher floor area ratio in its headquarters.

“The city government allowed the company to increase the height of its headquarters building 16 years ago, from 45m to 85m, but now to preserve the theater, the city government needs to toughen up,” Wu said.

Liang said no private business has ever been granted more than one of these preferences and the city government should exercise its authority to keep the theater at its current location.

The councilors said the city government should make public the documents it signed with China Trust on the deal and demand that the group keep its initial promise.

Lo Shih-yu (羅世譽), a specialist with the city’s Department of Urban Development, said the city will not grant any extra floor space to the company if the theater is designated a cultural or historical asset.

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