Sat, Oct 22, 2016 - Page 3 News List

City councilor questions condo garage deal

SUSPENSE IN SHILIN:A condominium complex built on what was supposed to be an office site is under fire for not living up to the builder’s open-parking promise

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

An upscale apartment complex in Shilin District (士林) has reneged on an agreement with the Taipei City Government to open its parking lot for use by tour buses, which helped the complex gain bonus floor space worth NT$1.4 billion (US$44.3 million) on the real-estate market, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wang Wei-chung (王威中) said yesterday.

In 2011, Hsin Han Development Co told the Taipei Urban Design Review Committee that it would be willing to open an underground garage at its Hsin Han Shilin Official Residence condominium to tour buses to alleviate the parking and traffic problems in the area, which is near the Shilin Night Market, Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) Shilin Residence (士林官邸) and the National Palace Museum, Wang said.

The committee granted Hsin Han 3,666m2 of bonus floor space at the condominium in exchange, he said.

“However, nearly two years after the condominiums went on sale, the complex’s managers have failed to honor the promise and the garage is restricted to private use,” he said.

Nearby residents have complained about the refusal to open the garage, saying a shortage of parking spaces in the area encourages tour bus drivers to park illegally on roadsides, aggravating traffic congestion, Wang said.

The condominiums have proven popular with Taipei’s wealthy elite, including Yulon Group chairman Kenneth Yen (嚴凱泰), who purchased an apartment reportedly worth NT$200 million, the city councilor said.

The city has spent NT$44.6 million convert three nearby plots of land into parking lots, “tying up the loose ends” associated with the parking problem on behalf of the elite who live in the condominiums, even though the complex was built in a designated commercial zone, where the sale of homes is prohibited, Wang said.

Taipei Department of Urban Development section head Chang Shu-wei (張書維) said that Hsin Han filed a request to build “office buildings” when it applied for a construction license for the site in 2011, but later sold the “offices” as homes, contravening the rules on land use.

“The Construction Management Office will launch an inspection next week to determine if the garage has been opened to the public, and it would also investigate the builder’s home sales and mete out punishments, if necessary,” Chang said.

Taipei Land Development Agency division chief Lai Wen-chi (賴玟錡) said the three new parking lots were erected temporarily on land reclaimed by the city after a road construction project and the city government has yet to formulate plans on their land’s final use.

Lai denied Wang’s allegation that there might have been collusion between the condo complex’s residents and city officials over the parking lot issue.

Three plots of land that house the temporary parking lots are located in a Type B residential area where tour bus parking is prohibited, she said.

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