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Old September 2nd, 2009, 04:59 AM   #1
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TAIPEI | Projects & Construction

Old city block finds new creative life
1 September 2009
Taipei Times

After six years of restoration work, a dilapidated city block in Taipei's Wanhua District has returned to life as a new arts district that the Taipei City Government hopes will complement its efforts to reinvigorate traditional local culture in the area. The new arts district officially opened on Saturday in conjunction with the two-month long Popiarts Old Street Cultural Festival.

Kangding Road Lane 173 (173) was left largely untouched by the massive developments that have been taking place in and around the now cleaned up and modernized Lungshan Temple. The hookers and purveyors of pirated porn and snake products have now been ushered off the main thoroughfare into less visible back alleys, replaced by the rather more convivial No. 12 City Park. This gradual process of modernization and restoration has now extended one block to the east.

The rectangular city block that lines this alley has had its old and more evocative name revived. Po-Pi-Liao, literally translated as the "peeling workshop," was formerly the center of Taipei's lumber business.

Wang Wen-tu, borough warden for Fuying, where Po-Pi-Liao is located, said that this city block gained its name because it was where the bark of logs that had been towed from Fujian Province in China was stripped away and prepared to be made into construction materials. "During the Qing Dynasty, the river ran right up to this part of town," he said. "It is one of the oldest parts of Taipei, and its wealth was built on the sale of much-needed timber for construction." Although it later fell on hard times, Po-Pi-Liao was once one of the richest and busiest areas of Taipei.

Remnants of the block's golden days are evident in the elaborate architecture of many of the storefronts that make up Po-Pi-Liao. Much of this beauty, previously hidden by signs and the general disrepair of the buildings, has now re-emerged as the result of refurbishment efforts and the rejuvenation of Po-Pi-Liao's old town center. It has recently served as the setting of the new big-budget period drama Mengjia, starring the likes of Ethan Ruan and Mark Chao. This exciting development might account for the movie town feel of the old street, which in fact has been divided into a number of exhibition spaces the Taipei City Government hopes will attract artists of all sorts, thereby enriching local culture and enhancing the area's tourist appeal.

The spaces, characterized by a combination of heavy wooden beams, brick and stone, are enormously attractive, as is the secluded garden area. However, their current status as venues for the Fusion Folks Contemporary Art Exhibition, which is part of the festival, might be somewhat questionable. Featuring 24 young artists, seven invited from overseas, the exhibition seems to possess little connection to the space, and once again appears to expose the city government as a sucker for abstract and inaccessible art.

Fortunately, there is a great deal else going on beyond Fusion Folks, not least the opportunity for visitors to take in some of the old buildings, now stripped of tatty awnings and signs. The mixture of neo-baroque and Japanese colonial is a fascinating manifestation of the hurley burley of Taiwan's history.

Starting on Sept. 12, the new venue will serve as the center of the Bopi-Summer Feast, which will include music, theater performances and movies. Opening the festival will be Deserts Chang and her new band Algae.

Festival and exhibition curator Sean Hu emphasized that in addition to all these events, Po-Pi-Liao will become a center for tourist exploration of the historic Wanhua District. A "fun tour map" has been published and provides a friendly, if not particularly informative or innovative, introduction to local points of interest. For those so inclined, the Po-Pi-Liao event is also connected to the ubiquitous Cow Parade, and visitors can search for the Night Market Cow, the Devotional Cow and other cow sculptures that are spread throughout the district.

Not everyone, however, was fully appreciative of the way the city government restored the space or the manner in which it has chosen to use it. "Well, they might have just torn it down," said one arts manager present at the opening ceremony. The creation of the Po-Pi-Liao Old Street, has, if nothing else, preserved something of old Taipei, and it will hopefully evolve throughout the course of the current Bopiarts Festival to become a genuine part of the ongoing Wanhua community revival.

Detailed information about the festival can be found at www.bopiarts.tw. Po-Pi-Liao is located at the corner of Guangzhou Street and Kangding Road and is open 10am to 5pm Sundays to Thursdays and until 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed on Mondays. Admission is free.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 05:57 PM   #2
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Taipei will be undersea in future: researcher
2 September 2009
The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei will be entirely under the sea by the end of this century, an Academia Sinica research fellow warned yesterday.

Not just the Taipei basin will be engulfed by the rising seas triggered by climate warming, Wang Chung-ho told an Academia Sinica-sponsored seminar on climate change and the prospect of indigenous culture.

Most of the plains area on Taiwan, including every city and county along its west coast, will be submerged under the rising seawater, Wang said in a research paper theorizing the attack of the seas on the island.

Wang, research fellow at the AS institute of geoscientific research, theorizes the invasion of the seas on the basis of an estimate by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the sea level will rise by at least one meter before this century is out.

"Not 40 centimeters or 50 centimeters," Wang said, "but one meter at the very least, that will gobble up most of the low-lying areas on Taiwan."

Taiwan's east coast will be a little better off, however.

As a result, Wang went on, the people in the heavily populated plains would have to go up to higher ground, the mountains which are the traditional habit of most of Taiwan's indigenous Austronesian peoples.

The mass migration which would result in overdevelopment of mountainous areas, causing landslides like the ones hitting the tribal villages in the wake of Typhoon Morakot whenever heavy rains fall, Wang said.

At least 500 residents of Siaolin, the tribal village in the county of Kaohsiung, still remain buried since August 9, presumed dead.

Morakot struck Taiwan August 8-9. The village, buried in mudslides, was abandoned.

"That may be an inevitable disaster we have to face in the next nine decades," Wang pointed out.

Climate warming is thawing the ice in the arctic ocean, Wang said. All the ice in the polar zone is expected to melt in three decades, compelling Taiwan to move its capital from Taipei to a much higher place.

"We have to be prepared for that worst scenario," Wang added.

Dr. Liu Shao-chen, CA director of the climate change research center, joined Wang in issuing the warning of the rapid rise in the sea level and a tripling of precipitation.

"It's not impossible," Liu said.

Moreover, Liu said, a rise by one degree Celcius in the temperature would increase Taiwan's precipitation by 1.4 times.

"In other words," Liu continued, "before the end of this century, the mean rainfall will rise 2.8 times. And if no greenhouse gas emission isn't controlled, the rise will shoot up by 5.6 times."

It means the record torrential rains that hit central and southern Taiwan in Morakot's wake will be repeated frequently, touching off devastating landslides.

But the mass exodus of people from the plains to the mountains would squeeze indigenous tribes out of their traditional habitat.

"They may have nowhere to go," Wang said.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #3
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Deaflympics stage safe, organizers say
DPP city councilors said trusses had fallen during construction and that a lift had become stuck during a rehearsal last week, but organizers disagreed

3 September 2009
Taipei Times

The Deaflympics' organizing committee yesterday dismissed accusations by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors who said trusses above the performing stage at Taipei Stadium had fallen during installation early last month, and assured the public of the safety of the facilities.

The opening ceremony will be held at 7:30pm at the Taipei Stadium on Saturday with about 5,000 performers, including pop star A-mei and a hearing-impaired Chinese dance troupe.

DPP Taipei City councilors Chuang Ruei-hsiung, Huang Hsiang-chun and Liu Yao-ren inspected the stadium and the performing stage yesterday, and said the 10-story-high trusses that would support some of the performers had fallen during the installation and testing period. They also said a lift that would be used to raise performers to an elevated stage during the opening had become stuck during a rehearsal last Friday.

"What would they do if the trusses fell to the stage and hurt the performers during the opening ceremony? That would be a huge embarrassment in front of the international community and the performers could be seriously hurt," Chuang said.

Huang said the city had budgeted NT$600 million (US$18 million) for the opening and closing ceremonies, which was much higher than the Kaohsiung City Government's budget of NT$108 million for the opening and closing of the World Games.

Although contract workers had repaired the trusses and the lift stage, the city government failed to ensure the quality of the stage and facilities, he said.

Deaflympics Organizing Committee president Emile Sheng denied the allegations and said no trusses had fallen. Sheng showed reporters a copy of a document he said proved the stage was safe, adding that the rehearsal had gone smoothly.

When asked about a possible storm on the weekend, Sheng said the opening ceremony would be postponed if there was a typhoon on Saturday. Competitions could also be postponed or moved to backup locations, he said.

In related news, the state-run Chunghwa Post Co will begin selling a set of two commemorative stamps on Saturday to mark the opening of the Deaflympics, the company said yesterday.

A commemorative cachet will be available at post offices throughout the country.

The Deaflympics logo is featured on the upper right corner of both stamps. The design of the logo integrates the three major elements of the Games: the Chinese character bei, or north, which represents Taipei; an ear, symbolizing the hearing impaired; and a person, symbolizing an athlete, a company spokesman said.

The NT$5 stamps show a badminton player and a track athlete set against a map of Taiwan and a pattern of dark and light rings symbolizing sonic wave vibrations, the spokesman said.

The NT$25 stamps show athletes engaged in taekwondo and tennis set against a background of a shape resembling an ear, which symbolizes the idea of "Taiwan reaching out, and the world coming in," the spokesman said.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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Gondola construction guide existed: Taipei
The China Post Staff
15 September 2009



TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei City government said it did not forge any document to cover up alleged corruption in Maokong Gondola construction but did erroneously catalogue a portion of the construction manual so causing confusion to city councils, said an official from Taipei City Hall yesterday.

It was an administrative oversight, explained Tan Guo-guang, the Taipei City deputy secretary-general, concerning the false accreditation to the Executive Yuan for Maokong Gondola construction guideline No. 02476 rather than Chunyuan Construction Co., the lead contractor for the gondola project.

After the gondola suspended services, Taipei City Councilor Li Wen-ying had inquired on the circumstances surrounding the erosion of the gondola's pillar foundation.

The city's reply to the inquiry stated that the pillars were erected under the directions prescribed by an apparently non-existing Executive Yuan document, reported by a Liberty Times report on the city that alleged there was a coverup of wrongdoing in the building of the gondola.

In response to the report, Tan said that the guideline was published by the contractor not the Executive Yuan, but the city did not fabricate any documents.

The Maokong Gondola has been out of commission since last October after rains from Typhoon Jangmi eroded away the foundation of some of its pillars.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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Taiwan's HTC To Spend NT$3.38B On Building R&D Headquarters
14 September 2009

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--HTC Corp. (2498.TW) plans to spend NT$3.38 billion to build research and development headquarters in Taipei county, the company said Monday.

The total floor space of the building will be 92,247.93 square meters, including 17 aboveground floors and six underground floors, HTC said in a statement.

Construction is scheduled to start on Oct. 31 this year and is expected to be finished by Aug. 31, 2011.

HTC is the world's largest maker of phones using Microsoft's (MSFT) operating system by shipments. It also makes the Google (GOOG) phone, which uses the android operating system, an open-standard platform for mobile phones.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #6
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Xinsheng Overpass set to reopen next month: Mayor Hau
18 September 2009
Taipei Times


China Post

The Xinsheng Overpass is scheduled to reopen early next month, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said yesterday.

The overpass, which was built more than 25 years ago, has undergone reconstruction work since July last year, with a project budget of NT$1.6 billion (US$48 million).

Hau yesterday inspected the reconstruction and promised to open the overpass next month after a thorough safety inspection.

The quality of the construction work came into question recently after the city government acknowledged that substandard adhesive had been used in the reconstruction project.

Taipei City's Construction Department stopped using the problematic adhesive - Sikadure AnchorFix-4 - for the work and invited the Taipei Structural Engineers Association to assess the bridge last month.

"The safety report will come out next week, but initial reports have found no safety problems ... We expect to open the overpass on schedule," Hau said.

Wu Chun-hsien, director of the construction department, said the work would ease congestion in the Yuanshan area, where traffic heading to and from Shilin, Beitou, Dazhi and Neihu cross.

The congestion on Beian Road will improve once the overpass construction is completed, Wu said.

Wu said the work would be finished by the end of this month. The city's Transportation Department will conduct a safety inspection of the bridge before opening it to traffic, he said.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 05:11 PM   #7
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Xinyi District









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Old November 10th, 2009, 05:55 PM   #8
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Some updates I took recently.

Xinyi:
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Next to the President Enterprise Corporation Tower. Looks like it could be around 200m, however there is activity on the plot yet.

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I recently discovered this one in the middle of Ximen. The name seems to be Taipei Tower Square and it looks like a smaller version of the Burj Dubai (~30F). Construction work is already underway.

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Old November 11th, 2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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Airport firm budget gets green light
With the company expected to raise passenger numbers, the transportation ministry is planning a third terminal at the airport in Taoyuan

6 November 2009
Taipei Times

The legislature's Transportation Committee yesterday approved the budget for the International Airport Co, which is scheduled to be established before November next year.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo said the ministry was entrusting a consulting firm with drafting the master plan for the company, which it aims to complete by May.

"We hope that the airport company will help increase the number of passengers using the nation's airports," Mao said. "Currently, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has an average of 22 million passengers per year. We are laying out three potential levels for the airport in the future: 50 million, 40 million and 30 million passengers. We haven't determined which level we will adopt."

He said the ministry was also planning to construct a third terminal and runway at the airport.

Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lee Lung-wen said the three levels Mao spoke about *referred to the airport's maximum passenger capacity, not the goals the CAA had set for passenger volume each year.

Lee said the CAA and the consulting firm were still evaluating which level would be a more practical choice.

"When you have this kind of project, you also have to plan for the development for the next 15 to 20 years," Lee said.

Lawmakers on the committee, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Yang Li-huan and Tsai Chi-long as well as Democratic Progressive Party legislators Yeh Yi-jin and Kuo Wen-cheng, questioned Mao about the benefits the establishment of the International Airport Co was expected to bring.

Kuo also asked Mao about the competitiveness of the Taoyuan airport, since many manufacturers have moved to China, while a number of airlines prefer to transfer flights in either Hong Kong or Singapore.

In response, Mao said that raising passenger volumes at Taoyuan airport was indeed a "great challenge."

"In the past eight years, we have not invested many resources in the development of airports and seaports. Now we have to catch up," the minister said.

Mao said the ministry hoped to turn Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport into a hub for Northeast and Southeast Asia.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 06:59 PM   #10
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Taipei to see 15pc increase in prices
Bloomberg
18 November 2009

Taipei's residential prices may rise 15 per cent next year, more than in Singapore, Hong Kong and on the mainland, because there is more competition among homebuyers in the city.

An increasing number of would-be buyers and smaller sites being auctioned had led to stiffer competition in Taipei, CLSA analyst Tayher Lim said. The difficulty of getting land might result in developers holding on to existing land without building new projects, causing a further supply squeeze, he said.

"Compared to Hong Kong, Singapore or China, Taiwan has more variable factors," Lim said. "Most buildings are freehold in Taiwan and the government doesn't own a significant amount of land, so there's less it can control."

Perng Fai-nan, Taiwan's central bank governor, last month tightened loan-risk management as property prices advanced, James Yue, director-general at the bank, said earlier.

Taiwan joined Singapore, Hong Kong, India and the mainland in moving to prevent excessive property market swings, after falling interest rates drove prices higher.

Hong Kong last month tightened down payment requirements for luxury homes. A month earlier, Singapore banned interest-only mortgages for uncompleted housing.

Taiwan's tightened lending, probably aimed at Taipei's luxury market, was unlikely to have much impact, Lim said. "The luxury market is less driven by debt financing and property is quite affordable outside Taipei, with less than 30 per cent of household disposable income used to pay mortgages."

Luxury flats near Taipei 101, the world's tallest completed building, are sold for the equivalent of US$1,149 per square foot, Lim said. A 1,500 square foot flat in these properties will cost US$1.7 million, compared with US$625,050 for a similar home in Beijing, US$2.6 million in Hong Kong and US$2 million in Singapore, based on calculations from CB Richard Ellis data.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 05:54 AM   #11
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Gov't to find land for building cheap housing units: Wu
1 December 2009
The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Wu Den-yih said yesterday that the government is mulling requisitioning land lots along the mass rapid transit (MRT) systems and rezoning land plots for the construction of housing units that can be sold or rented to local people at reasonable prices.

Wu made the remarks when asked by reports to comment on the fact that exorbitant prices for housing units in urban areas ranks first on the list of top-10 public complaints that were singled out via online vote as of the deadline of Nov. 29.

The premier said the government will move to work out well-rounded measures to rein in the runaway housing prices in the Greater Taipei area, including using the rezoning rules of the urban renewal law to build new apartments in cooperation with construction and real estate development companies at government-owned land lots along the MRT routes or near airports.

Wu continued that the Ministry of Finance is also working on a plan to release 8,000 hectares of government land in urban areas to build low-cost apartments for young people in cooperation with construction firms in the private sector.

Meanwhile, Vice Premier Eric Chu will hear a briefing to be given this afternoon by the Cabinet-level Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) and other ministries on how to improve people's life and economy.

The RDEC conducted an online vote of the top 10 public complaints on Nov. 26-29, and released the top-10 list yesterday, with exorbitant housing prices in urban areas topping the list.

Rampant money swindling via phone calls and networks came second, followed by great difficulty in seeking jobs and the growing unemployment; excessively high commodity prices; rampant supply of drugs, overly rigid regulations for towing illegally-parked vehicles, unsafe baby-sitting or child-nursing services, public toilets being too dirty, poor examination of food sanitation, and occupation of sidewalks by parked cars or motorscooters.

The RDEC was acting on an instruction issued by Premier Wu Den-yih, who has been actively settling complaints from local people and will take them as a reference when formulating administration policies.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 09:09 PM   #12
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Taipei Tower Square, Ximen

Hard to believe, but one year from now this tower will dominate the western part of Tapei together with the Shin Kong Life Tower.

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NE edge of Daan Park (32F)

New residential tower at the northeastern corner of Daan Park. I counted 32 floors.

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SW edge of Daan Park

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Eastern Xinyi

2 new residential towers rising in the eastern part of Xinyi.

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Old January 11th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #13
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3rd terminal at Taoyuan airport may be built on BOT model
11 January 2010

Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) The third terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport may be constructed under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model and the possibility of foreign investment in the project will not be excluded, an official said Monday.

The third terminal will be far larger than the two existing terminals at the airport, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) official.

In light of the involvement of foreign professional bidders in the planning, design and operation of other major airports in Asia, the official said, the MOTC does not rule out the possibility of allowing foreign investment in the construction and management of the new terminal, under the BOT formula.

The BOT formula allows private business groups to build and operate a public infrastructure construction project for a specified period of time and then transfer ownership to the government.

The official said that in November this year the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Administration is scheduled to be converted into a state-run corporate body that will be in charge of the development and management of the whole airport and its surroundings, which will be tentatively known as the Taoyuan Airport Park.

The park will form the backbone of an ambitious Taoyuan Aerotropolis development program -- one of the 12 iTaiwan Projects outlined in President Ma Ying-jeou's campaign platform.

According to the official, the park will be spread over a total area of 2,528 hectares, which will include the airport's original 1,200 hectares and another 1,328 hectares to be acquired from private owners and naval authorities and will incorporate adjacent free trade zone.

The MOTC has commissioned a professional consulting team to come up with a comprehensive aviation park development blueprint that is expected to be ready in May for presentation to the Cabinet for approval.

The ministry will brief officials from the government's economic and financial departments and other relevant public agencies on a mid-term report on the blueprint later Monday.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #14
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Hau announces plan to beautify metro Taipei
15 January 2010
Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin announced an urban renewal program in Taipei City that he said would create a 6.3 hectare public park and attract more than NT$12 billion (US$ 370 millon) in investment while beautifying the capital.

The "Taipei Beautiful" program, one of Hau's policies to beautify the city, will begin with 11 construction and urban development projects, including renovation of the Shilin Paper Factory.

The 11 projects will cover 16 hectares. Hau said six projects in Nangang and Neihu districts would promote the technology industry, while projects in Zhongshan, Xinyi, Da-an, Songshan and Shilin districts would reorganize old neighborhoods and promote urban redevelopment.

"Taipei is a city known for its friendliness and rapid development of technology. We want to turn it into a beautiful city that both local residents and foreign visitors will appreciate," Hau said yesterday.

The 11 urban development projects will begin no later than September, and construction could be completed as soon as 2013.

Hau said the projects would provide about 180,000 jobs.

The "Taipei Beautiful" program includes large-scale demolition of more than 600 old and abandoned buildings owned by the city government.

Owners of buildings that are located within 500m of major tourist attractions and transportation hubs can apply with the city's Buildings Administration Office to have their external walls cleaned, cables and wiring tidied and illegal advertisements removed, all for free.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 08:03 PM   #15
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Data collection begins in Taipei for luxury home tax
21 January 2010
The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei City Government has begun collecting data on the city's luxury residential buildings in preparation for imposing a tax on such buildings in the future, the United Evening News reported, yesterday.

By collecting data on high-end properties, the city hopes to create a uniform standard for determining what constitutes a luxury residential building, said Taipei Revenue Service.

The agency listed several characteristics that luxury mansions must have. These include a single-building structure, the use of high-end construction materials, being located at attractive sections of the city, having great landscaping work, privacy, and the use of high quality security officials.

There are at least 5,000 residential buildings in Taipei that meet those criteria, including Star of Xinyi located in the heart of the Xinyi District near Taipei 101, and Emperor's Treasure at the intersection of Renai Road and Jianguo South Road.

The city will complete its first round of investigation by the start of the Lunar New Year break. Data collected will be discussed at a tax reform meeting in March.

Taipei Revenue Service stressed that the data collected will only serve as a reference, adding any tax imposed on luxury buildings will be reviewed by a panel of experts in August this year before its implementation.

Separately, Taipei Revenue Service is also reviewing whether to tax residential and commercial properties at street corners, the United Evening News reported.

Properties at street corners have higher value and should not be subject to low tax rates, the agency said.

The city's efforts are meant to achieve a fairer tax regime and to curb house prices from surging out of control, it said.
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Old January 27th, 2010, 05:49 PM   #16
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CEPD passes Shezidao development plan
6 January 2010
Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin yesterday vowed to turn the Shezidao area into Taipei's Manhattan within 11 years after a long-stalled development project for the area passed the review of the Council for Economic Planning and Development yesterday.

The city government will budget NT$70 billion (US$2.1 billion) over 11 years to develop the 240-hectare area, including flood-prevention construction, new housing projects and recreational facilities.

"The development of Shezidao used to seem like an impossible dream, but now we can finally transform the area ... We will turn Shezidao into the Manhattan of Taipei," Hau told a press conference yesterday at the Taipei City Hall.

Ting Yu-chun, commissioner of Taipei City's Department of Urban Development, said the city government will start purchasing land from local residents and begin flood prevention construction as soon as July.

Hau said that the city government would make the interests of the district's more than 10,000 residents its priority, promising to help them by providing better housing.

The Shezidao area is a low-*lying area in Taipei City that suffers from flooding during typhoons, while many illegal houses occupy the area.

The city government proposed the project to redevelop the area and solve the flooding problem 10 years ago, but it has been stalled because of opposition from Taipei County, which feared that flooding construction work in Shezidao could force the water to flow to low-lying areas in Sanchong and Lujhou.

Hau said the Taipei County Government presented an urban development project for Sanchong and Lujhou cities to solve any possible flooding.

The city government will conduct an environmental impact assessment for the area while proceeding with the development project, he said.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 08:54 PM   #17
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President meets with Control Yuan members over MRT Neihu Line
3 February 2010
Central News Agency English News

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou defended his decision to make the Taipei MRT's Neihu Line a medium-capacity system when questioned Tuesday by Control Yuan members investigating alleged irregularities in the planning and construction of the line.

Four members of the Control Yuan, the nation's leading monitor of the government, visited the Presidential Office as part of its investigation to question Ma, who served as Taipei mayor when the Neihu Line was planned and when construction began.

Ger Yeong-kuang, the leader of Control Yuan's investigation, said the group's focus was "mainly on the decision-making process of the construction of the line."

On why he decided to make the Neihu Line a medium-capacity system, Ma said an assessment at the time suggested that a medium-capacity system was more workable.

Also, the then central government controlled by the Democratic Progressive Party government did not support a large-capacity system and would not have helped the Taipei city government finance a larger-scale project, Ma said.

Moreover, the city council and public opinion were both in favor of a medium-capacity system, Ger cited Ma as saying.

According to Ger, the president also defended his decision by saying that because there were so many pipelines under Neihu, the line might not have opened last year if a large-capacity underground system had been selected.

On why the project's electrical and mechanical work was tied to the civil engineering tender, Ma said it was based on concerns that German engineering giant Siemens would have monopolized the bidding and forced the city to pay more than its budget could afford.

A local construction company, Kung Sing Engineering Corp., won the civil engineering bid for the MRT's Neihu section and selected Canada-based Bombardier to be responsible for the electrical and mechanical part of the system.

The Neihu Line was designed to link up with the former Muzha Line, which was built by French contractor Matra Co. in the 1990s.

But because of compatibility problems between the Matra and Bombardier systems, the line suffered repeated glitches after opening last July, leading to questions over its design and quality.

Control Yuan member Hung Chao-nan asked Ma if he would be willing to share responsibility for the problems since the line was built in part during Ma's term before being inaugurated under his successor, Hau Lung-bin.

Ma answered that "if there is responsibility to take, I'm willing to shoulder it," according to Hung.

Ger said the meeting shed light on the controversy and that the investigation would conclude at the earliest before Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 14 this year.

Ger said investigation officers did not accompany the Control Yuan members to the Presidential Office to avoid giving the impression that the president was "under investigation."

But the DPP criticized the encounter, contending that the Control Yuan should have first determined if it has the right to investigate Ma for possible negligence occurring before he served as the president.

If such a right exists, they should have had investigators accompany them, DPP spokesman Tsai Chi-chang said. If they do not have such a right, they should not be allowed to investigate the case until after the president steps down"

"They should by no means close the case rashly," Tsai said.

The right to impeach a president belongs to the legislature, and whether the Control Yuan members have the right to investigate the president is a gray area.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #18
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Developments around Dajia Riverside Park by Taipei Walker first posted at : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...907458&page=13



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Old February 12th, 2010, 02:38 PM   #19
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TAIWAN GOVERNMENT TO BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEAR MRT STATION
12 February 2010
Asia Pulse

TAIPEI, Feb. 12 Asia Pulse - The Taiwan government will offer 4,000 affordable housing units for sale near the projected Linkuo station of the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system in 2013, with low income families who do not already own property given purchasing preference, a Ministry of the Interior official said Thursday.

Yeh Shih-wen, director of the ministry's Construction and Planning Agency, said the government will use approximately 226 hectares of reserved land and farmland around the projected MRT station to build the housing, with each unit price kept as low as NT$150,000 per ping (3.3 square meters).

While housing prices in Taipei City and some locations in Taipei County have been skyrocketing over the past few years, a survey report released by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission under the Cabinet last December indicated that high housing prices in the city topped the list of public complaints.

To help the payroll class live in their own apartments, the government therefore decided to build affordable housing units with traffic convenience. The 4,000 units at Linkuo are expected to be completed in 2013, when an extension of the MRT system to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is completed.

According to Yeh, the travel time from Linkuo to the MRT's Taipei Main Station stop will be around 30 minutes.

He said more affordable housing units are planned along the line and added that the government is also planning to build public housing units on the outskirts of Tamsui township in Taipei County when a light rail system is built to serve the area.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 02:55 PM   #20
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I was wondering where "Linkuo" is until they mentioned airport MRT. It is Linkou, not Linkuo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoyuan...ess_MRT_System
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