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Old June 22nd, 2010, 05:09 PM   #41
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Rail bureau looks into speeding up airport train link
8 June 2010
Taipei Times

The Bureau of High Speed Rail (BHSR) said yesterday it would meet with the contractors of the Airport Rail System to discuss the possibility of increasing the system's operating speed.

The meeting was proposed after President Ma Ying-jeou twice asked the bureau to figure out ways to reduce the commute of the Airport Rail service between the Taipei Train Station and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to about 20 minutes.

In its inspection tour on Sunday, Ma said a shorter train ride would be an incentive for people to leave their cars and use the high-speed rail instead. The BHSR's original plan for the Airport Rail system was to offer express train services and regular train services. While the regular train services would make stops at every station along the way, the express trains would only stop at the Wugu Industrial Zone and Chang Kung Memorial Hospital stations.

The express train service will take about 35 minutes, while driving from Taipei to Taoyuan Airport takes approximately 40 minutes.

To shorten the travel time, the bureau is now considering a non-stop service that goes straight from Taipei Train Station to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The estimated travel time is between 28 minutes to 29 minutes. BHSR *Director-General Chu Shu said the route for the Airport Rail was chosen 10 years ago. Aside from bringing passengers to the airport, the route was designed to help develop Linkou Township. Therefore, the route also passes through the slopes in Linkou, he said.

"Construction has already started, so it is impossible to change the route," Chu said, adding the bureau could only consider the possibility of increasing the speed of the trains.

Hence the bureau would talk with the Marubeni Corp and Kawasaki Heavy Industries - the contractors in charge of the Airport Rail's electromechanical system - to evaluate the possibility of raising the maximum speed and altering the design of the rail, he said, adding that any change to the design must not compromise the safety and comfort of passengers.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 07:20 PM   #42
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New rule will make Taipei businesses warmer next month
30 June 2010
Taipei Times

More than 500 office buildings, department stores, supermarkets and hotels in Taipei will have to keep their air conditioning at 26ºC or above starting tomorrow, after the Taipei City Council passed a regulation compelling private businesses to increase energy saving.

The regulation, passed on May 31, sets limits on the use of air conditioners and lighting for private businesses, and the city government will first target more than 500 businesses using more than 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month before applying the regulations to smaller firms.

The Department of Economic Development said that businesses will be given a six-month period to adjust. Starting from January next year, businesses whose air conditioning is below 26ºC could be fined between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000.

Representatives from 12 businesses, including Taipei 101 Mall, Pacific Sogo and Carrefour, yesterday joined Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin in pledging their dedication to saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Cathy Yang, an assistant vice president at Taipei Financial Center Corp, owner of Taipei 101, said the company had installed energy-saving measures, including using efficient light bulbs and setting higher temperatures for air conditioning to reduce carbon emissions.

The skyscraper's annual electricity bill is about NT$100 million (US$3,120,000) and the energy-saving measures helped the company save a total of NT$65 million in the past two years, she said.

"It's a win-win situation for us and our customers. The energy-saving measures saved us money and created a more comfortable environment for customers," she said.

Hau said the 500 businesses used about 2.57 billion kilowatts last year, or 38 percent of the city's electricity. Those businesses could save enough electricity to supply about 7,000 households by reducing their power consumption by 1 percent.

"I want to also call on all residents to support this policy and join us in saving more energy," Hau said.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 05:49 PM   #43
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Taoyuan HSR area attracting interest
5 July 2010
Taipei Times

Several multinational companies are interested in developing the area around Taiwan High Speed Rail's (HSR) Taoyuan Station, almost a month before the Bureau of High Speed Rail is set to begin seeking developers for the area, bureau officials said yesterday.

The businesses include several well-known jewelry companies, hotels, shopping malls and amusement parks, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The bureau is scheduled to stage a presentation at the end of this month or the beginning of next month to explain the ground rules for the development of the commercial and manufacturing zone of the Taoyuan Station area before choosing a developer through public tender.

Noting that the bureau tried in vain to contract developers for the zone, along with a similar zone around Taichung Station, three years ago, the official said with confidence that the plan would succeed this time.

The officials said the area to be developed covers 22 hectares, much bigger than the three-*hectare and four-hectare plots offered previously.

Furthermore, the officials said, Taiwan's economy, which was in the grip of the global financial crisis two years ago, has turned the corner since the end of last year and could expand even more now that the country has concluded a trade pact with China.

Under the bureau's plan, the zone in the Taoyuan Station area will be developed into an international commercial city in view of the fact that it is only a 10-*minute drive from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, which would make it attractive to international businesses.

The officials said the areas around the high-speed rail stations were designed to promote land development along the 345km rail route, which has made cities along its length accessible to each other within a maximum of 90 minutes.

In addition to the Taoyuan Station area, there are four other areas around Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi and Tainan stations, and authorities hope commercial and manufacturing zones will make them the centerpiece of development in their respective areas.

However, none of the commercial and manufacturing zones have yet been established, except for one at Hsinchu Station, which has been designated by the National Science Council as the location for a biotechnology park.

The areas, with advanced infrastructure - including optical fiber broadband networks and major roads linking them to nearby cities - already in place, would be ideal locations for businesses eyeing overseas markets, according to the officials.

The Taoyuan Station area will be particularly favored, given the fact that a rapid transit system connecting Taipei and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport through the station is expected to be completed by 2012.
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Old July 17th, 2010, 09:09 PM   #44
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KMT candidate wants bigger MRT
Friday, Jul 16, 2010, Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Sinbei City candidate Eric Chu yesterday said he would roll up his sleeves when it comes to transportation, promising the city’s residents that he would quadruple the size of the MRT system if elected.

The multi-billion dollar plan is Chu’s first major policy statement since he announced his candidacy for the hotly contested election in May.

Speaking at a farming association in Taipei County’s Sinjhuang City yesterday morning, Chu unveiled the plan, saying it would decrease journey times, encourage local development and increase the use of public transport.

Chu vowed to open at least one line per year and targeted the completion of 10 new MRT lines in Sinbei City over the next decade.

The announcement also included a pledge to construct three new circular lines extending around the city.

His plan would mean that the current 21 MRT stations standing on 25km of track around Sinbei City would be quadrupled to at least 80 stations covering 100km by 2020, involving a mix of heavy, medium and light capacity tracks.

“In the future it won’t be a dream to travel from Sijhih to Taoyuan International Airport in 45 minutes.”

— Eric Chu, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayoral candidate for Sinbei City

Phase one of Chu’s plans calls for the completion of the 35km MRT circular line by 2017, with part of the line operational by 2014.

That line, currently under construction, will connect Sinbei City’s Sanchong (三重), Lujhou (蘆洲), Wugu (五股), Sinjhuang, Banciao (板橋), Jhonghe (中和) and Sindian (新店) areas with Taipei City’s Zhongshan (中山), Shilin (士林) and Wenshan (文山) districts.

The election pledge would see construction of the Wanta-Shulin line begin, with Chu targeting completion by 2021. The Wanta-Shulin line will connect with the Sinjhuang line, slated to open in 2013, to form the second circular line.

The third circular line will include the construction of the Bannan-Sanying line along with light rail lines in Tamsui (淡水), Ankeng (安坑) and Sijhih (汐止).

“In the future it won’t be a dream to travel from Sijhih to Taoyuan International Airport in 45 minutes,” the former vice premier said.

These remarks were welcome by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of the KMT yesterday, who challenged Chu’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), for allegedly failing to offer “solid campaign promises.”

Tsai, who also serves as DPP chairperson, had said earlier she would like to see authority over Sinbei City MRT lines returned, adding that she believed the city should have its own transportation policy separate from Taipei City’s.

“The MRT is not just about moving people from point A to point B, it has the capacity to change the economy, society and lifestyles of Sinbei City residents … we want to consolidate MRT development and city renewal together,” Tsai’s campaign spokesperson Luo Chih-chung (羅致政) said yesterday.

Luo said that these issues would be covered by Tsai’s own transportation policies to be released in the near future.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 04:36 PM   #45
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Fights over land in Taipei continue to push prices up
While the value of land sold so far this year approaches the total value for last year, commercial properties are seeing much slower sales

15 July 2010
Taipei Times

The fight over land in the greater Taipei area among land developers and construction companies will cause further price hikes for well-located properties, contrary to what the central bank hopes to see, executives of real estate consultancy DTZ Debenham Tie Leung said yesterday.

"The central bank's efforts to contain property prices [in Taipei City and Taipei County] only work among small-sized property investors, never with big-time developers," Charlie Yang, director of real estate appraisal for DTZ, told a media briefing.

20 percent jump

For example, among land deals in Taipei County's to-be-*developed subcenter of Sinjhuang for the first half of this year, the closing unit price for both residential and commercial land has jumped by more than 20 percent on a quarterly basis, he said.

In Taipei City, plots of residential land auctioned off in the first quarter closed between NT$950,000 and NT$1.2 million (US$37,319) per ping (3.3m²), which further jumped to between NT$1.3 million and NT$1.5 million per ping in the second quarter, he said.

Record High

Such record high prices will translate into a unit price of up to NT$600,000 per ping in the satellite city for some to-be-built housing projects, he said.

If the pace of land price hikes continues, commercial land in Sinjhuang at future auctions will possibly net up to NT$2 million per ping, up from its range of between NT$1.3 million and NT$1.4 million per ping in the first quarter, he said.

Competition

Yang forecast stiff competition at an auction to be organized by the Taipei County Government next Friday to liquidate 12 parcels of residential land in Sinjhuang.

The 12 plots of land, totaling 7,887 ping with a combined asking price of NT$7 billion, are likely to close for more than NT$14 billion, or an average unit price of NT$1.8 million per ping, he said.

The realtor's statistics show that in the first half of the year, plots of land with a total value of NT$56.9 billion have been auctioned off nationwide, close to last year's total of NT$57.5 billion.

The fight for land in Sinjhuang has showed no signs of easing, while that in Taipei County's Linkou is also building up steam, Yang said.

The agency's statistics also showed that a total of NT$53 billion in commercial properties had changed hand as of Tuesday, which Yang said is still far from last year's full-year value of NT$100.3 billion.

Its statistics also found that the monthly rental of Grade A offices in Taipei saw flat growth to average NT$2,320 per ping in the second quarter, with the vacancy rate climbing slightly to 12.1 percent.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #46
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Joint venture targets Taipei's 30-something shoppers
The ground level of a new shopping development in Taipei's Xinyi district will double as a bus terminal, while its top floors will house a hotel
26 July 2010
Taipei Times

Commuters alighting at Taipei City Hall MRT station in October will be greeted by a new department store catering for 30-somethings, especially office ladies working in the Xinyi neighborhood.

The much-touted Uni-President Hankyu Department Store - a joint venture between Taiwan's Uni-President Group and Japan's Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores Inc - is gearing up to compete on the frontline of the city's shopping war zone.

Xinyi district is already home to four Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Stores - the A4, A8, A9 and A11 malls. Across the street lies New York New York, which, following a change of ownership, is set to close next month for a facelift that will last until March.

Just minutes away, the Taipei 101 Mall beckons shoppers with deep pockets, especially those from China. Its main rival in the area, the European-themed Bellavita (塲) is moving into its ninth month of operation. Bellavita, dubbed "the mall for the rich," sets its sights on a VIP clientele.

But Uni-President Hankyu is undeterred by the competition, banking on its position as a "station mall" to secure a steady flow of traffic.

Uni-President made its mark in the department store business by launching the first Uni-President Hankyu outlet in Kaohsiung in 2007.

Located adjacent to the Dream Mall - another of the group's businesses - Taiwan's first Hankyu outlet "could have performed better last year," said Wang Po-ming, Uni-President Hankyu's general manager, adding that its sales only reached about NT$1.9 billion (US$59 million).

The group is banking on its Xinyi mall, part of a complex that will house a hotel and bus terminal. The mall itself will span nine floors - including two basement levels - over 8,000 ping (26,400m²), while US brand W Hotel will occupy floors eight to 31.

The ground level of the complex will double as a bus terminal operated by the Taipei City Government and serve as a hub for 19 bus routes.

An estimated 100,000 commuters will use the Taipei City Hall MRT and the bus terminal on an average day, with the terminal set to open early next month at the latest, Wang said.

The station mall concept has proved successful in Taipei as shown by Qsquare.

Opened in December last year, the 20,000-ping, seven-floor Qsquare enjoys through traffic from Taipei Railway Station and Taipei Bus Station, with some visitors coming from the Palais de Chine Hotel, which is part of the complex that links up Qsquare and the bus station.

"It looks like we are on track to meet our first-year sales of NT$5 billion, a tough target to achieve considering we are a newbie," said Sunny Liu, Qsquare strategy and planning director.

But Qsquare benefits from a steady flow of 500,000 commuters MRT, railway and bus commuters each day.

Naoya Araki, director and executive officer of Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores, said a typical station mall in Japan is able to survive as long as there are 80,000 to 100,000 commuters transferring via the station per day,

Hankyu Hanshin opened the world's first station mall in 1929. It now has 15 malls in Japan and is the No. 6 mall operator there in terms of revenues.

Taiwan's department store business is saturated, but Araki believes the new mall will stand out with its slew of differentiated offerings.

Retail space at the Uni-President Hankyu "has all been taken up" with 20 percent of the brands new to Taiwan, the company said.

One is Japan's popular casual wear brand Uniqlo, which will occupy the basement level with its first Taiwanse outlet covering 440 pings.

Another selling point of Uni-President Hankyu is the "Dream Plaza," an outdoor space on the second floor that can accommodate audiences of 2,000 for events such as concerts, fashion shows, performances or New Year countdowns.

"The Dream Plaza' will bring the performance scene in Xinyi alive," Wang said, adding that the mall hopes to see annual revenues similar to those from the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A8 mall - the top performer among its sibling malls in Xinyi, with sales totaling some NT$4 billion last year.
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Old July 28th, 2010, 04:48 AM   #47
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with the development of the society. more and more earth been used for industry product, so the price of the earth become more expensive than before.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #48
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Rise in housing prices slowing: Sinyi Realty report
Sinyi Realty said that last quarter, the pace of growth in housing prices in Taipei City showed signs of slowing for a fourth straight quarter
By Ted Yang
29 July 2010
Taipei Times

Housing prices in Taipei City are still rising, but the rate has decelerated after the central bank adopted selective credit controls to cool down the red-hot property market in major cities, the nation's biggest real estate brokerage said.

In its report on Taiwan's housing price index in the second quarter, Sinyi Realty Inc said that the pace of growth in real-estate prices in Taipei City showed signs of slowing for a fourth consecutive quarter, adding that prices would soon peak.

GREATER TAIPEI

The realtor said that the central bank's credit-tightening measures would start affecting housing prices in the Greater Taipei area in the second half of this year and might reduce investment in the area.

The headline index stood at 157.29 points, up 12.7 percent from a year earlier, while the housing price index for Taipei City rose to a record high of 236.54, up 20.8 percent from the second quarter of last year, the report said.

"If interest rates are kept at relatively low levels, property investors will not be pressured to lower prices in the near future, unless transaction volumes continue to decrease," Sinyi said.

The house price index for Taipei County also hit a record high of 187.09 points last quarter, up 20.1 percent from a year ago, because of urban renewal projects and the construction of public transportation, it said.

NEW MRT STATIONS

"Because the Lujhou [] MRT Line is going to begin operating soon and there were heated discussions on pre-sale deals in Sinjhuang City, housing prices in Taipei County were prompted to rise," Stanley Su, a senior researcher with Sinyi Realty said in the report.

However, Su said that the rising housing prices had led transaction volumes in first-tier cities in Taipei County, including Sindian, Banciao and Sijhih to drop.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 05:07 PM   #49
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Sixty percent of projects behind schedule in Taipei
28 July 2010
Taipei Times

More than 60 percent of major public construction projects in Taipei City have experienced delays in construction, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors said yesterday, accusing the city government of inefficiency and wastefulness.

Of 311 public construction projects with budgets of more than NT$50 million (US$1.5 million) in Taipei, 190 are behind schedule, with each project delayed by more than 125 days on average, DPP Taipei City councilors Wu Su-yao, Chou Wei-yo and Hsu Chia-ching told a press conference at the Taipei City Council.

The councilors said poor design and inefficiency were two major factors behind the delays and urged the city government to improve the situation.

"Major public construction projects are crucial for a city and construction delays, even for one day, cause serious damage to municipal budgets and the city's overall competitiveness," Wu said.

The projects that experienced the longest delays include the bus lane construction on Zhongxiao E Road and reconstruction of *Shihlin Market, Hsu said.

President Ma Ying-jeou initiated the projects when he was Taipei mayor and left all that "baggage" behind for Mayor Hau Lung-bin, she said.

Construction work on the bus lane on Zhongxiao E Road between Linsen S Road and Guangfu S Road was announced in 2006 and was initially scheduled to be complete in 2007.

Once in office, Hau suspended the project amid fears that the bus lane would cause serious traffic congestion. However, he refused to acknowledge that the project was a mistake.

The municipal sports center in Wenshan District, which was scheduled to be completed in April, was also on the construction delay list because the New Construction Office mistook the completion date as April last year.

Weng Ruei-ting, deputy commissioner of the city's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, said the city government held a public construction review meeting every month to keep track of major public construction projects.

He acknowledged the delays and promised to demand that all departments meet deadlines.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #50
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Taipei approves urban plan
28 July 2010
Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government yesterday approved an urban renewal project proposed by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, and will start renovation of apartment buildings next month. The project aims to rennovate four and five-story apartment buildings that are at least 30 years old, with at least 200,000 property owners qualifying for the free upgrade.

Hau yesterday pledged to assist residents to apply for the renovations, saying that the city government would exercise its authority if any residents refuse to move out of buildings where work is being carried out.

"The old apartment building renewal project will improve Taipei's appearance and improve residents' living conditions. We will not let a small number of residents who refuse to cooperate affect our plan," he said at Taipei City Hall.

Lin Chung-chieh, director of Taipei City's Urban Development Office, said the city government had already held 14 public hearings with local residents to explain the details of the project, adding that the office would provide assistance with the application process where necessary.

Renewal of old apartments has been a thorny issue because the floor area of each residence would shrink after renovation under current urban renewal regulations, affecting both construction companies and home owners' willingness to renew their properties.

According to the project, four to five-story apartment buildings that are 30 years or older and over 2,000m² will qualify for improvements.

Residents who live in apartments that meet the conditions and are located in wealthier districts, such as Da-an and Xinyi, and whose property value exceeds NT$500,000 per ping (3.3m²), will be provided with a similar sized unit and a parking space for free while their apartments are being renewed.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 06:20 PM   #51
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Taoyuan residents protest against land expropriation
6 August 2010
Taipei Times

A group of Taoyuan residents who face having their properties expropriated to make way for a section of an elevated railway system in the northern county yesterday protested against the county government's planned expropriation.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Jen-chu, who accompanied the protesters at a press conference in the legislature, said the county government was pushing the elevated railway project, under which 4,000 houses and about 300 hectares of land will be expropriated, which would affect hundreds of farmers and their families.

Because the county government plans to build a 60m-wide avenue along the course of the railway line, it would have to expropriate even more farmland for the project, Huang said.

The dispute has arisen because the county government cannot afford the high construction fees or the amount of compensation demanded by the residents for their land, Huang said.

In addition, since one of the rail stations has been planned for a site on Chung Yuan Christian University's campus, the government would also have to expropriate more farmland to compensate the university in return, Huang said.

"Of course we feel upset. Our families have lived here for several generations," said A-Su, a representative of a self-help association against land expropriation for the project.

"I am so old, where can I move if my land is expropriated and my house torn down?" A-Su said.

Hsieh Hsin-man, deputy chairman of the association, said the local government had not communicateed with them before deciding to seize their land.

He said that it reminded him of the Miaoli County Government's seizure of farmland to expand the Jhunan Science Park.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #52
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Taipei property market still hot: survey
10 August 2010
Taipei Times

Land transactions remained active in the Greater Taipei area last month despite the central bank's measures to curb property speculation, a survey released yesterday said.

Transactions of plots valued NT$200 million (US$6.3 million) and more in the area totaled NT$506 million last month, the highest for any single month this year after the central bank raised key interest rates by 12.5 basis points and imposed credit-*tightening measures on residential properties in June, the survey by Sinyi Realty Co said. That amount compared with NT$157 million in June and NT$253 million in May.

"The statistics show the tightening measures have had no impact on the commercial properties in the area," said Michael Wang, an associate manager at Sinyi's global asset management division.

Wang attributed the activity to solid demand and ample liquidity in the market and expects the trend to remain unchanged this month.

Wang said that a commercial property measuring 782 ping (2,580m²) in the prime Xinyi District was sold for NT$900 million last month, a record NT$1.3 million per ping for office space.

"The strong demand for land lent support to optimism that land development will remain healthy in the coming two to three years," Wang said.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 08:55 AM   #53
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MRT construction leading to cracks at sanatorium
10 August 2010
Taipei Times

Despite a law passed two years ago to preserve part of the Losheng Sanatorium, residents continue to live in fear as cracks - ostensibly caused by construction of a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) maintenance depot - continue to appear on walls and the ground.

Located on a hill on the border of Sinjhuang City, Taipei County, and Gueishan Township in Taoyuan County, Lo-sheng Sanatorium was completed in the 1930s to isolate people with Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy. Controversy surrounding the sanatorium's preservation and residents' rights surfaced when Taipei Rapid Transit Corp announced it would take over the site, tear down the buildings and flatten part of the hill to make way for an MRT station and maintenance depot.

After years of protest by conservationists, the Executive Yuan's Public Construction Commission came up with a compromise "plan three" to preserve 39 buildings and rebuild 10 elsewhere after construction of the depot was completed. The plan was known as "the 530 plan" since it was finalized on May 30, 2007.

In 2008, the Human Rights Protection and Compensation Act for People with Hansen's Disease was passed to protect the rights of sufferers and require the government to turn the sanatorium grounds into a historic park.

Unfortunately, passage of the law has not led to the happy ending many expected.

"Look at this, this is a 3cm-wide crack that runs through the church," said Wang Wei-min, a civil engineer and a supporter of the sanatorium's preservation.

Members of a panel defending the rights of individuals with Hansen's disease made an inspection tour of the grounds to determine its condition yesterday morning.

"There's another crack the same size on the other side of the church parallel to this and there are two more outside," Wang said. "The cracks appeared after construction resumed [in December 2008] and more have appeared in recent months as work has accelerated."

"Also, all cracks are parallel to the hill section - without exception," he said.

A hill section is an engineering term referring to the cut of a hill.

In addition to the church, cracks have also appeared at a Buddhist temple and in the main administrative building in the middle and in several residential houses - all along the hill section.

"You can see that some of the cracks have been sealed with concrete, but cracked again. Many of them appeared only last month," Wang said. "It's not that big a deal if cracks appeared at the beginning of construction, but when they continue to appear, it's a sign that the ground may be sliding."

Wang said a massive landslide would not only endanger the lives of Losheng residents, but also those of construction workers and Sinjhuang residents.

MRT North District Project Office director Wu Pei-jeen admitted cracks were appearing, but said they were within the normal range of construction damage.

"We're closely monitoring the development of cracks and so far, we think everything is still under control," Wu said. "When the construction is completed, we will repair the buildings."

Asked whether a massive landslide could occur, Wu said no one could say for sure.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 06:05 PM   #54
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New road to ease traffic congestion in N Taiwan
A new overpass expressway scheduled to be completed by the end of the month is expected to cut travel time from 20 minutes to four
14 August 2010
Taipei Times

Commuting between formerly hard-to-reach areas of Greater Taipei will soon be hassle-free, as the Directorate General of Highways announced yesterday that part of a special road would open in November.

Chen Jian-siang, director of the directorate's Major Bridges Construction Office, said the 12.8km Special Second Roadway will connect Wugu, Taishan, Sinjhuang, Banciao and Tucheng in the Greater Taipei Metropolitan Area.

The overpass expressway will greatly ease traffic at the Jhonghe Interchange, he said.

"The section between the Wugu Interchange and Jhongcheng Road in Sinjhuang is 3.7km long," Chen said. "Construction on that section, including ramps leading onto the expressways, is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month and will be open to motorists by the middle of November."

Chen said the expressway would reduce travel time from 20 minutes to 4 minutes. In addition to the overpass expressway, other roads will also help ease congestion during rush hour, he said.

Southbound travelers will now be able access the section from its starting point in Wugu or Fongjiang Road in Taishan.

Northbound travelers, meanwhile, will be able to access the road via Jhongcheng Road or Fongjiang Road. Drivers exiting at Fongjiang Road will then have the option of continuing on the northbound ramp of the Wugu Interchange on National Freeway No. 1, while those exiting at Wugu will be able to take the southbound ramp on the Wugu Interchange or Provincial Highway No. 64.

Chen said the speed limit on the expressway would be 80kph, although motorists will be required to drive at 60kph on some sections.

The cost of the Special Second Roadway is estimated at NT$30.9 billion (US$966 million). The full expressway is expected to be completed by 2012, Chen said.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 08:50 AM   #55
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Marriott, W Hotels Expand in Taiwan on China Travel

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Marriott International Inc., the largest U.S. lodging chain, and other groups including Le Meridien and W Hotels, plan to open their first hotels in Taiwan as they compete to cater for rising numbers of Chinese tourists.

Marriott is working with Taiwanese businessman B. V. Riu, owner of Taipei-based luxury hotel Sherwood, on a NT$6.2 billion ($195 million), 352-room lodging franchise agreement, Victor Chou, president of Sherwood, said. Le Meridien and W Hotels, both owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., also plan to open premises in the city this year.

Visitors from China may surpass those from Japan to become Taiwan’s No. 1 source of arrivals this year, as relaxed rules spur travel to an island that has been off limits to mainland Chinese for 60 years. International hotel chains and local developers in Taiwan plan to invest NT$83 billion building 45 hotels and resorts, adding 10,865 rooms, in the next three years, the island’s tourism bureau said on its website.

“There is plenty of room for Chinese tourism to grow,” Ma Tieying, a Singapore-based economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd. said by phone. “Direct flights between China and Taiwan will also boost cross-strait business traffic, and these businessmen and corporate clients will also trigger demand for hotel rooms.”

China overtook France last year as the world’s fourth- largest source of travel expenditure, according to the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization. Germany was the biggest, followed by the U.S. and the U.K. About 54 million Chinese may travel abroad this year, the China National Tourism Administration forecast.

Increased Spending

Travelers from mainland China -- excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau -- increased their spending 21 percent to $43.7 billion last year as worldwide tourism expenditure fell 9.6 percent to $852 billion, the UN agency said.

“We are going to build a comprehensive complex for leisure, convention and exhibitions,” Chou said in an interview from Taipei this week. “We want to be there for the cross-strait travel boom.” The developer will break ground on the hotel on Sept. 9, Chou said.

Le Meridien is working with Shin Kong Financial Holding Co.’s life insurance arm on its Taipei property, said Christina Yeh, section chief at the Taiwan tourism bureau’s hotel division. The 160-room hotel, located near the Taipei 101, the world’s second-tallest building, is scheduled to start operating on Nov. 1, according to Starwood’s website.

W Hotels is working with Uni-President Group, which owns the operator of 7-Eleven and Starbucks in Taiwan. The hotel will have 403 rooms and is expected to open in December, Yeh said.

Starwood didn’t immediately reply to e-mails seeking comments.

Japanese Toppled

Taiwan dropped a ban on Chinese tourists in July 2008, two months after President Ma Ying-jeou took office and abandoned his predecessor’s pro-independence stance.

The island will receive 1.2 million tourists and businesspeople from China, exceeding the forecast 1.13 million Japanese, in 2010, Yuan Kai-zhi, who works at the tourism bureau’s international division in Taipei, said in April. Japan, which ruled Taiwan for 50 years until its defeat in World War II, has been the No. 1 source of visitors since records began in 1964.

Taiwan plans to ease restrictions and let individual Chinese visit Taiwan from January, Taiwan’s top negotiator with China Chiang Pin-kung said in an interview last month. Taiwan issues visas for Chinese tourist groups, not individuals.

Shao Qiwei, China’s tourism director, said the nation will study a plan to allow individual tourists to visit Taiwan. The announcement came in Taipei in May when Shao opened the mainland’s first official tourism office on the island.

High-Profile Campaign

China will “actively” push to allow individual Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan, Man Hongwei, secretary-general of the Beijing-based Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Straits, said at a press briefing in Taipei this week.

Chinese tourists in Taiwan reached 707,400 in the first seven months and are expected to exceed one million this year, Man said.

Ma’s Nationalist Party severed transportation ties with the mainland when its leaders fled to Taiwan in 1949 after being defeated by Mao Zedong’s communists. China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, has more than 1,000 missiles pointed at the island and has warned it may use force to stave off any moves toward formal independence.

The island spent a record amount in 2009 on a global campaign to boost its international profile as a tourist destination amid the economy’s deepest recession, said Christine Lai, deputy director at the tourism bureau’s international affairs division, declining to specify the figure. That included advertisements on CNN and British Broadcasting Corp. channels, targeting businesspeople and professionals.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #56
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Commercial real estate market still surging: DTZ study
18 August 2010
Taipei Times

The total value of commercial property transactions, in terms of floor price, may exceed NT$30 billion (US$938 million) next quarter, with the funds flowing to Taipei County given a lack of properties for sale in Taipei City, real estate service provider DTZ said yesterday.

That would be more than double the NT$12 billion aggregate asking price for properties already sold and still on the market for this quarter.

"Sales of commercial properties just took off and the growth momentum will remain strong the rest of the year," DTZ general manager Billy Yen told a news conference.

The recent record-high prices for office space in Taipei City's different districts lend support to his optimism, Yen said.

Last week, the Central Deposit Insurance Corp auctioned a 10-story building housing Chinfon Commercial Bank's former Taipei headquarters for a record NT$2.56 billion, or a premium of 75.3 percent.

All eyes are now on today's auction of Chinfon's stake - 1,905 ping (6,300m²) of office space - in Taipei Financial Center, which has reportedly drawn nearly 20 potential bidders.

Yen said all major domestic life insurance companies had expressed an interest in real estate investments valued at more than NT$1 billion, but had been unable to find suitable targets.

Institutional investors may have no choice but to settle for properties in Taipei County, which is due to be upgraded to a special municipality by the end of the year, Yen said.

The ongoing construction to extend the mass rapid transit system will make investments in the county commercially desirable and practical, he said.

Yen said he did not expect the auction today to go over NT$650,000 per ping because the property is two decades old and located in Songshan District rather than the prime Xinyi District.

"A higher-than-expected price would show that there's no limit to commercial property [prices]," he said.

Sinyi Realty Co, the nation's only listed housing brokerage, said in a statement yesterday that the auction might be settled above NT$1 million per ping because of its relative proximity to Taipei Songshan Airport.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #57
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It'd be nice if we could get some photo compilations of the various projects going up.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 08:57 PM   #58
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This is Xinyi district, where the new CBD is being built :



Photo is a bit aged. The tall building U/C is done and beneath it will be a new department store opening in October. Believe the W Hotel is around there. To the bottom right you will see a red lowrise. Next to it will be the Meridien Hotel. Just across the street above that lot, a new luxury mall is U/C. All of these projects have opened or will open by year-end.
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Old August 20th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #59
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Jianguo Overpass to be renovated in October: Taipei City
20 August 2010
Taipei Times

The Jianguo Overpass will undergo major renovation in October to fix its uneven surface and expansion joints, the Taipei City Government said.

The road will be smoothed and a leaking problem resolved, the government said.

In a move to limit the impact on traffic, work on the bridge will be carried out between 11pm and 6am, and the bridge will not be closed to traffic during the period.

Lin Chih-feng, chief engineer at the city's New Construction Office, said work would start at the 1km-long section of the bridge connecting to National Highway No. 1.

The department will finish work on the remainder of the overpass by the end of next year.

"Drivers have been complaining about the uneven road surface of the Jianguo Overpass, and the reconstruction and maintenance work should make the bridge safer for driving," he said.

The reconstruction project, which will cost the city government NT$50 million (US$1.5 million), will also replace rusty water interception devices to fix the leaking problem, Lin said.

The 5.8km overpass was built in 1983 at a cost of NT$3.3 billion. As a major bridge connecting traffic in Taipei City, the overpass was last renovated five years ago.

Unlike the Xinsheng Overpass, which was closed to traffic for more than a year for repair work, the structure of the Jianguo Overpass remains solid, which will allow the department to repair the road surface and expansion joints phase by phase without having to close the bridge, Lin said.
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Old August 20th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #60
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Thanks. I've always loved aerials of Taipei.
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