Controversy over the Syntrend build-operate-transfer (BOT) project remains unresolved, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday in response to the complex’s opening ceremony.
“We wish them well on their opening, but accounts have yet to be cleared,” said Ko, who was noticeably absent from the opening ceremony, instead attending a ceremony to give out awards to exemplary elementary-school students.
The previous Taipei City Government had billed the 12-story building on city-owned land in Taipei’s Zhongzheng District (中正) as a conduit toward the transformation of the surrounding electronics district into a “shopping paradise” which could rival Tokyo’s Akihabara District.
However, the complex has been plagued with controversy over the terms of the contract, with businesses from the neighboring Guanghua Digital Plaza (光華數位新天地) alleging that the city government has failed to enforce terms aimed at ensuring product differentiation, along with integration with existing vendors.
“Syntrend has many unresolved problems,” Ko said, citing an unfinished skybridge to the Guanghua Plaza, controversy over external LED lights and negotiations over terms for site usage and royalties.
He said he would soon attend a meeting of the “Greater Bade Business District Alliance.”
Syntrend chairman Gou Shou-cheng (郭守正) was noticeably absent from last month’s establishment ceremony for the city-sponsored alliance, which aims to bring together Syntrend, Guanghua and neighboring businesses and schools.
“Syntrend has to be socially responsible,” Ko said. “It would unacceptable for the construction of the building to result in the decline of neighboring businesses.”
He added that he would require Syntrend to allow the city to appoint members of the board governing a foundation promoting youth entrepreneurship, which the firm is required to establish under its contract with the city.
Guanghua Market’s self-government association president Lo Chu-hsien (羅鉅憲) said that Syntrend’s opening ceremony broke its promise to the city that it would only open the complex after a controversial skybridge linking the two high-rises was completed.
Syntrend said the skybridge is to be opened by the end of next month.
Lo also said the city government should lower rents and fees paid by vendors within the city-owned Guanghua complex to ensure they remain competitive with Syntrend.
While business operators at Guanghua are required to pay NT$10,800 in monthly rent and fees per ping (3.3m2) of floor space, Syntrend is only set to pay an average of NT$100 per ping in royalties per month over the course of their 50-year contract, he said.
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