Thu, Sep 05, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Difficult road ahead for Taipei Dome project: Ko

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je arrives at a groundbreaking ceremony for a public housing project in Taipei’s Xinyi District yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government would not let the Taipei Dome construction project easily pass an urban planning review, but it has given contractor Farglory Land Development Co suggestions, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Ko was responding to questions about a feature report on the project published by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine yesterday.

The build-operate-transfer project was in May 2015 halted by the city government over safety concerns and unauthorized changes. To continue construction, Farglory must resubmit its design and pass an urban planning review.

It failed to pass a sixth review on Monday last week.

Ko had asked Farglory chairman Frank Chao (趙文嘉) to discuss the project with city officials at Taipei City Hall on Aug. 15, the magazine said, adding that while Ko was not at the meeting, he met with Chao before and after it to ask if there was anything else that needed to be resolved.

Five conclusions were reached at the meeting, including Farglory accepting the city government’s suggestion that the project’s maximum capacity be kept at 59,833 people, a number that had been approved by an environmental assessment, the magazine said.

Farglory also agreed to return “excess earnings” from operating the site to the city government, after the city government led by then-Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2004 allowed the developer to pay no royalties for using the site, it said.

Farglory general manager Tang Chia-feng (湯佳峰) told Ko that if the design passed the review, the firm could receive a new construction permit within three months and resume construction by the end of this year and complete it by mid-2021 at the earliest, it added.

Ko said that Farglory did not make all the concessions cited in the report, but added that the problems must be solved and keeping the maximum capacity at 59,833 people would make passing the review more likely.

It would be impossible for the design to pass public safety reviews with a maximum capacity of 140,000 people, Ko said, adding that the firm should stick to the approved capacity and finish the project first, then see if it could be increased after a few years of operations.

Asked if construction could resume by the end of the year, Ko said that the city government would not “make it easy” for the firm to pass the review, adding that review meetings would be livestreamed to ensure transparency.

Taipei City Government Department of Urban Planning Commissioner Huang Ching-mao (黃景茂) said that he respects professional decisions and would not make it especially hard or easy for any firm to pass reviews, adding that public safety is still the primary concern, so there is no preset schedule for resuming the project.

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