Not a single investor has expressed an interest in developing the old port zone at the Port of Kaohsiung, one of the locations considered by the Kaohsiung City Government to implement its “Love Ferris wheel” and shopping mall project, Taiwan International Ports Corp (TIPC) said yesterday.
The project was one of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) campaign promises as he ran for mayor last year.
It would be built by the Love River (愛河) and feature cars that double as “motel rooms,” he said at the time, adding that it would cost more than NT$10 billion (US$329.85 million at the current exchange rate) and create 3,000 jobs.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
However, three of the four locations the city government yesterday offered as options to build the Ferris wheel are not along the river. They are piers Nos. 4 to 8; piers Nos. 16 to 18; and pier No. 21, also known as the old port zone.
The ports company issued a statement after the city accused it of not cooperating in implementing the project and threatened to raise the percentage of funds it would receive from the development of Pier No. 21 from 42 to 52 percent.
“We have been welcoming carriers interested in offering passenger shipping services at the Port of Kaohsiung, as well as tourism and leisure business developers. However, no investor has contacted us to talk about the development plan. We will seek to communicate with the Kaohsiung City Government on this matter,” TIPC said.
The agreement it signed with the city in June states that 42 percent of the funds generated from the development of the old port zone would be given to the city, it said.
As such, the company, as well as the government agency supervising the land development plan, are carefully reviewing the plan and gauging the potential benefits that could be created from it, TIPC said.
This is done to ensure that government properties will be used in the most efficient way possible, it added.
The land development firm that it has established with the city is designed to address the issues related to the percentage of funds that is to be received by the city, TIPC said.
Should the city demand that the percentage be raised from 42 to 52 percent, the land development firm would have no option but to allow TIPC to enforce the development of the old port zone on its own, it said.
“Raising the percentage would only increase the costs for the investors, which in turn would lower the financial benefits,” TIPC said, adding that this would alienate investors.
The land development firm has already proposed plans to attract investors, and interested parties are welcome to talk to it and present their proposals, TIPC said.
“If the management of the land development firm considers any of the proposals to be feasible, it would apply for a permit from the port company to execute the development plan,” it added.
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