Sat, Jan 24, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Ko takes aim at Syntrend Creative Park

GRAND SCHEME:Guanghua vendors questioned the low rents charged to Syntrend’s contractor, but Ko said the complex was not aimed purely at bringing in rental revenue

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government plans to reconsider Syntrend Creative Park’s place within the city’s Bade (八德) commercial district, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

“The key point isn’t rent, but rather how that space should be used,” Ko said. “The city government’s objective is to ensure the building plays the broadest function possible, not just earning rent.”

There has been controversy over the rent charged to contractor Syntrend Creative Park Co, as well as over the possibility of the complex siphoning off business from neighboring Guanghua Digital Plaza.

The firm has ceased construction of a controversial skybridge designed to prevent the complex from siphoning off business from neighboring Guanghua Digital Plaza, following advertisements in local newspapers on Monday demanding that the city government affirm the legality of its project bid.

Ko has criticized the firm’s “arrogance,” saying that the city would set up a special committee to investigate the controversy surrounding Syntrend’s bid. Yesterday’s comments were his first to state possible reconsideration of the development project.

Guanghua shopkeepers yesterday reiterated their dissatisfaction with the administration’s management of the project.

“We question why the city government, knowing the value of this development project, would offer it at such a low price to such a large corporation,” Guanghua Market’s self-government association president Lo Chu-hsien (羅鉅憲) said.

Syntrend would be charged only a fifth of the yearly NT$100 million (US$3.18 million) rent which Guanghua pays, even though it is set to cover an area 12 times the size, he said.

While Guanghua was originally promised that a skybridge would be constructed between the two complexes to help prevent business from being siphoned off, this fresh holdup in construction is just the latest in a series of delays, leading merchants to question the sincerity of Syntrend’s intention to complete the structure, he added.

“Why has the skybridge somehow become a ‘request’ on our part?” he said, adding that the city had originally told merchants that the structure was required under Syntrend’s development contract.

Shopkeepers later discovered that Syntrend’s parking lot was the “central” construction covered by the development contract, which grants the city government limited power to dictate the construction terms of the “subsidiary” skybridge and 12-story shopping complex located above, he said.

Department of Finance spokesman Yu Shih-ming (游適銘) said that negotiations with Syntrend would focus on clarifying the use of space within its complex, adding that under current development plans, the complex should focus on areas separate from Guanghua’s electronics retail operations, such as providing space for youth entrepreneurship.

The difference in the complexes’ rents reflected differing development costs to the city, he said, as Syntrend provided the capital for the construction of its complex. He said the disputed skybridge is included in the the firm’s contract with the city government, but the city lacks the legal authority to enforce a specific deadline for completion.

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