The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday held a groundbreaking ceremony for an urban renewal project in Taipei, which is to transform the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) old marshalling yard in Nangang District (南港) into a multifunctional development zone.
The yard, which is between the TRA’s Songshan and Nangang stations, is close to the Songshan and Kunyang stations on the Taipei MRT’s Green and Blue lines, as well as the Taipei Music Center.
The project would include the TRA’s new headquarters, a shopping mall covering 89,256m2, four office buildings, a hotel, a movie theater, an apartment complex that can accommodate 500 households and public facilities, the agency said.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Railways Administration
The project would be mainly executed by CMG International One Co and CMG International Two Co, which were founded by Cathay Life Insurance, Mercuries Life Insurance, Gloria Hotel Group, Cathay Real Estate and Cathay Hospitality Management.
TRA Director-General Chang Cheng-yuan (張政源) said at the ceremony that the contract for the project was signed in 2015, but the agency had to overcome many hurdles before construction could begin.
The project is the nation’s largest urban renewal scheme in terms of total area and development benefits, Chang said, adding that it was the first time the agency developed an urban renewal project by itself and worked with life insurance firms on it.
Construction costs are estimated to exceed NT$30 billion (US$1.05 billion), but the value of the project could top NT$100 billion once it is completed in 2026, he said.
Not only would the TRA receive a one-time payment for the project, it can also task the developer with managing the properties, which would generate revenue for the debt-ridden agency, he said.
The TRA has similar plans for the Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi and Tainan railway stations as well, Chang said.
The Nangang project is in an area designated for the Taipei City Government’s east district gateway project, through which the capital plans to develop a hub for train systems, the software industry and trade shows, as well as biotechnology, and cultural and creative businesses, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.
“For investors, the project is definitely the right investment. The Nangang Railway Station would not only accommodate the TRA system, the Taipei MRT Blue Line and the high-speed rail system, but it would also be a starting point for a high-speed rail extension line to Yilan County and would be connected to the Taipei MRT Minsheng-Xizhi Line and a planned metro line to Keelung,” he said.
“This is a typical transportation-oriented development case,” he said.
In other news, Lin said that Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-chung (祁文中) would serve as the TRA’s acting director-general after Chang retires on Friday.
The agency’s No. 1 task at the moment is to transport people home for the Lunar New Year holiday next month, Lin said.
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