Wed, Oct 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Japanese-era office to be changed into story house

By Su Meng-chuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The former Japanese Imperial Sugar Factory’s sales office is pictured in Taichung yesterday.

Photo: Su Meng-juan, Taipei Times

Year-long renovations at the former Japanese Imperial Sugar Factory’s Taichung sales office have been completed and the building would be reopened as the Taichung Story House in March next year, the Taichung City Government said yesterday.

The city government said it had transferred the 80-year-old building’s ownership to the Economic Development Bureau, adding that the building would become a new landmark in East District (東區).

The sugar factory in 1935 established the Taichung office, which became Taiwan Sugar Co’s Taichung branch office after the end of World War II, the bureau said.

The former factory sat on a 6-hectare plot and had been vacant since a failed development effort in 1998, Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said, adding that the compound had hampered development in the district.

Operations at the factory gradually ground to a halt during the 1990s and its buildings were torn down over the years, the bureau said, citing Cultural Asset Division data.

The office is the only Japanese-era building in the area and has been designated as a historical heritage site on the grounds that it played a significant role in the early development of Taiwanese industry and the government monopoly system, the bureau said.

The city government has built a park around the building, including a pool, called Singchuan Lake (星泉湖), the bureau said, adding that the pool would “mirror” a lake in Taichung Park.

The story house would allow visitors to understand the history of Taichung’s industries — such as how the sugar and rice industries in the area caused the pastry and cake business to flourish in Fengyuan District (豐原) — and also their potential.

The steel and mechanical equipment left in the area supplied materials to make hand-crafted tools and other precision tools in Dadushan (大肚山) area, Lin added.

The story house is highly anticipated and is expected to attract many tourists, Lin said.

The management of the story house would be commissioned to a third party under an operate-transfer scheme, bureau Director Lu Yao-chih (呂曜志) said.

The story house would hold exhibits on old sugar-making methods and would work with a former distillery nearby, Lu said.

“We hope the story house will help visitors understand Taichung’s cultural surroundings and learn about the historical development of its industries,” Lu said.

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