Huaguang process must start: premier

GET CRACKING::The tender process for the first-stage development of the real estate from where families were evicted has to be finished by next June, the premier said

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - Page 4

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) has ordered Cabinet officials to speed up the Huaguang Community (華光社區) development in Taipei, because he has decided that the tender process for the first stage of construction must be completed by June next year, Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said yesterday.

Cheng said that Jiang issued the directive at a meeting held with Cabinet officials to discuss the first stage of the development plan that is to involve 2.8 hectares of the original Huaguang Community, which occupies a total of about 10.5 hectares of prime property in central Taipei.

The first stage of the plan is expected to attract NT$3.7 billion (US$125.89 million) in investments from the private sector and generate NT$33.2 billion in economic benefits, Cheng said.

Located in close proximity to National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Yongkang Street, one of Taipei’s top tourist destinations, at the juncture of Da-an District (大安) and Zhongzheng District (中正), the Huaguang Community was designated by the Executive Yuan as part of its urban renewal project.

For decades, the community was home to families who lived there for generations since the Japanese colonial era, families who retreated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) from China to Taiwan in 1949, and the poor and disadvantaged who moved from villages in the countryside to Taipei to seeking a better life in the 1950s and 1960s.

The government initially planned to develop the community on the model of New York’s Wall Street, but last year decided to remodel the area into a “Roppongi District” — a district in Tokyo famed for its nightclubs.

However, that idea was dropped after a proposal was put forward this year that the former air force headquarters on Renai Rd be turned into a Taiwanese version of Roppongi.

The forced eviction of families and demolition of the Huaguang Community, which began a few years ago and was finished earlier this year, was one of the most controversial land expropriation cases in recent years.

In response to waves of public protests, approximate 1.8 hectares in the original community was marked by the government as a historical site worthy of preservation.