A dispute over the preservation of Jinyin Hall — a historic building in Changhua County’s Lukang Township (鹿港) — might be resolved by relocating the building if township residents support the measure, Lukang Township Mayor Huang Chen-yen (黃振彥) said.
The building was constructed in 1935 and was one of 20 local attractions at the time. It was the site of many salon-style meetings on photography and philosophy, and was considered emblematic of the mansions of rich people in central Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era.
The land on which the building stands was sold in 2015 and the demolition of a shop once owned by the Huang family — the hall’s former owner — soon afterward prompted concerns that Jinyin Hall would follow.
Preservation advocates sought to have the building classified as a temporary heritage site and in March last year the designation was approved.
The landowner owns 90 percent of the building as well, a source said, adding that the building spills onto a neighboring plot of land, which means that 10 percent of the building is owned by the county.
The landowner applied to demolish the building, as it has deteriorated, the source said.
The landowner filed an administrative suit against the Changhua County Government, saying that the county government should have listed the entire building in the sale.
However, he said that he would accept the relocation of the building as a resolution to the administrative suit.
Changhua Department of Culture Director Chen Wen-pin (陳文彬) said that the county must find a suitable location that has been assessed by academics before establishing a project to relocate the building.
The project would also have to be reviewed by the county government’s Cultural Assets Review Committee, Chen said.
However, preservationists said they hoped the building would remain where it was and the department would continue negotiations with the landowner.
They said they hoped the building would be included in the Lukang National History Scenic Area, which would benefit the government and the public.
Should township officials decide to preserve the building at its current location, about five years would be needed for research, planning and restoration, the county government said.
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