Tue, Jan 20, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taichung mayor balks at high cost of Taiwan Tower

SHELVED:Lin Chia-lung said he would rather pay the penalty for breaking the contract than shell out NT$15 billion for the ‘problematic’ project

Staff writer, with CNA

An illustration of the Taiwan Tower project designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is pictured on Nov. 6, 2013.

Photo: Chen Pin-chu, Taipei Times

Greater Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has temporarily pulled the plug on the ambitious Taiwan Tower project, citing concerns over safety and its costs, which have ballooned from NT$8 billion (US$253.5 million) to NT$15 billion.

The budget has surged to a level that “is not in line with the Greater Taichung Council’s resolution,” Lin said at a city hall meeting yesterday.

Lin said that the Taiwan Tower, a major project pushed by his predecessor, three-term mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), is problematic in terms of design, structural complexity and safety.

Lin said he would organize a special team to review it and come up with a possible replacement plan.

“Making a wrong decision is more horrible than corruption,” Lin said, adding that he would rather pay the penalty for breaking the contract than pay NT$15 billion to build the tower.

Lin said that losses caused by the suspension and compensation payments are estimated at about NT$300 million.

Taiwan Tower was an idea championed by Hu, who planned to make the 300m-tall building a landmark for the city after it was upgraded to a special municipality in 2010.

Designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, who won an international competition in 2011 to draw up plans for the building, Taiwan Tower’s ornate steel structure was inspired by the trunk of a banyan tree.

The tower was to be built on a 4.4-hectare lot and was billed as “the Taiwanese version of the Eiffel Tower.”

If completed, it would be home to an observation platform, restaurants and environmental quality monitoring stations, the municipal government said.

Construction has yet to begin for the project planned for the Taichung Gateway economic and trade park.

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