Mon, Feb 29, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taipei ‘museum strip’ bidding reopens to developers

CITY VISION:Ambitious plans to reinvigorate property around Taipei Main Station with museums, hotels and offices were first put forward in 2014, but to little effect

By Aaron Tu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taipei City Government on Monday next week is scheduled to reopen bidding for contractors to develop the area near Taipei Main Station — stretching from the site of the old city council building, and Taipei’s North Gate (北門) — to create a “museum strip” to cultivate a sense of cultured arts in the area, Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮) said.

The project would establish more than six museums. Using paraphernalia from the old city hall building as the main exhibit, the site would become the Taipei City Vision Museum, Lin said, adding that the Beimen post office would become the Post Office Affairs Museum; the old Directorate-General of Highways Building — a city-designated heritage site — would become a photography museum; and the Mitsui Warehouse (三井倉庫) would become a museum of “memories.”

The sixth museum would be on rail transport, using the headquarters of railways building under the Japanese colonial government, Lin said.

The city government also said it planned to turn the pedestrian land bridge near the old city council building into a sightseeing destination.

In addition, the Taipei Department of Finance said low-level buildings would become part of the City Vision Museum project and headquarters for various non-governmental organizations, and mid-rise to tall buildings would become hotels or office buildings.

However, the city government twice put the contract out for tender in 2014 with no success and Department of Finance Deputy Director Chen Chih-ming (陳志銘) said the city government’s entitled premiums for the project has already been lowered to NT$32.2 billion (US$961 million).

Due to the 41 percent increase in current real-estate prices, the government has decided to lower the entitled premiums to NT$26 billion.

Lin said he hoped the spirit of culture and liberal arts would revive the area and that the museums would bring back bookshops along Chongqing Road, which had enjoyed a booming business tracing back to the Japanese colonial era.

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