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Old March 14th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #121
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Hostel’s proposed location meets opposition
Taipei Times
By Mo Yan-chih / Staff Reporter
12 March 2011
http://taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/a.../12/2003498002

A plan by the Taipei City Government to build an international youth hostel above a traditional market met opposition yesterday, with critics saying the market’s poor construction and sanitary conditions could hurt the city’s image abroad.

The proposed location for the youth hostel, the first city-operated youth hostel in Taipei, would be on the second floor of Shuanglian Market near the Shuanglian MRT Station. The 33-year-old market is a four-story building, with the first floor and underground floor housing food stalls and a wet market.

New Party Taipei City Councilor Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) said she had concerns over the quality of the environment at the proposed site and called on the city government to find a better -location for the hostel.

“The first international youth hostel in Taipei City should be a model with the highest quality. What would become of Taipei’s international image if the city offered foreign tourists a youth hostel that is above an old market that sells raw meat?” she said after inspecting the market.

Jessica Huang (黃雅智), chief executive of the Taiwan Youth Hostel Association, joined Wang in challenging the city government’s choice of location.

The poor appearance of the building and the stalls at the market, she said, would not be the best living environment for tourists.

Ding Juo-ting (丁若亭), director of Taipei City’s Market Management Office, said the second floor of the building had been vacant since 1996 and the office planned to turn the abandoned area into a youth hostel that is equipped with 70 to 80 rooms, or 160 beds.

The price of a room would be less than NT$1,400 per night, and the office would set aside a budget of about NT$5 million (US$169,000) next year to start renovations, he said.

He added that the location was chosen because it would given foreign tourists a chance to experience local culture.

Ding said the hostel would be conveniently located near an MRT station and Ningxia Night Market, and the office would work on improving the overall environment and sanitary conditions to build a quality hostel.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #122
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Nangang high-speed station to open by 2015, bureau says
11 March 2011
Taipei Times



The high-speed rail system will be extended to Taipei City's Nangang District by 2015 amid efforts to ease congestion at Taipei Railway Station, the Bureau of High Speed Rail announced yesterday.

The bureau said the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) had appropriated land needed to build an underground tunnel connecting downtown Taipei and Nangang to the high-speed rail line in October, adding that the tunnel was scheduled to become operational by January 2015.

Like Taipei Railway Station, three main railway systems TRA, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) and the Taipei MRT will also converge at Nangang Station, the bureau said.

The bureau said passengers from Keelung, Sijhih in New Taipei City, Nangang and Neihu District will be able to board the high-speed rail at Nangang Station, adding that this would greatly ease congestion at Taipei Railway Station.

Statistics from THSRC showed that an average of 60,000 high-speed rail passengers accessed the service through Taipei Railway Station daily last year.

That number rose to 62,000 in January.

Meanwhile, THSRC chairman Ou Chin-der said -passengers on the high-speed rail could soon make reservations through their smartphones.

Under the system, passengers would receive a QR Code on their mobile phone after they -complete the transaction, Ou said. People will be able to enter the platforms by placing their phone close to the sensors at ticketing gates.

The company said the service would target passengers making seat reservations, adding that the number of reserved seats would be sent to the passengers phones.

The company also said that it was in talks with EasyCard Corp about the possibility of allowing people to access the high-speed rail using their EasyCard.

We will make an official announcement when all the details are finalized, Ou said.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 12:32 PM   #123
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ANALYSIS: Effects of planned luxury tax already being seen
12 March 2011
Taipei Times

The governments planned tax on speculative property transactions has dampened market sentiment and is expected to trigger a price correction in New Taipei City, where home costs have surged to levels near those in the capital, analysts said yesterday.

Prospective home buyers are now taking a wait-and-see attitude in anticipation of price drops after the Cabinet on Thursday approved a bill to introduce a 10 percent tax on real estate resold within two years of purchase for investment purposes. The rate would climb to 15 percent of trading values if the property is sold within one year of purchase.

The levy, intended to stem property speculation, would spare properties intended for self-occupancy, inheritance or non-investment purposes, according to the draft act on tax levied on specific goods and services.

Buyers for pre-sale and newly completed housing units have plunged 40 percent, with transactions shrinking by 50 percent in Sinjhuang, Tamsui Sansia and Linkou districts.

Housing prices in those areas are approaching those in suburban Taipei City on strengthening public transport facilities and speculation that have sent costs in the capital skyrocketing and made them unaffordable for most people.

Investors are fleeing the market, which is positive for the property markets long-term health, said Ni Tzu-jen, spokesman for the Chinese-language Housing Monthly. False demand cannot support the sector for long.

The decade-high volume for pre-sale projects to be rolled out later this month a traditional high season reflected the developers wish to shun the tax rather than them having a bullish outlook, Ni said.

The government aims to implement the luxury tax on July 1, provided that the bill clears the legislature this session.

The cautious sentiment also weighed on commercial properties, whose prices repeatedly hit records in auctions for office buildings last year, thanks to excessive liquidity and low interest rates.

Domestic financial firms all aim to increase real-estate investment in the greater Taipei area, but to no avail because of scarce supply.

On Thursday, however, the auction for the fifth floor of a Taipei City office building at a prime location on Zhongxiao E Road Sec 4 failed to attract a single bidder despite a low floor price of NT$108 million (US$3.65 million).

Auction organizer Savills Taiwan Ltd said it was better to put the product back on the market after the tax plan settled. Other auctions met the same fate or were canceled at the last minute.

Stanley Su, head researcher at Sinyi Realty Co, said while it was premature to gauge the impact of the luxury tax, it was likely to sink property prices by between 10 and 15 percent, on par with the tax rates.

Sinyi Realty saw its home-buyer numbers falling 20 percent, while sellers picked up by an equal amount for the past two weeks, Su said.

Sellers in need of funding will soften prices to accelerate transactions as the planned tax will erode profitability, Su said by telephone. Home buyers, however, would prefer to wait.

The tug of war will shrink -transactions with prices in New Taipei City and Taipei City suburbs seeing larger corrections because earlier price hikes were largely linked to speculation, he added.

Jeffrey Huang, an assistant manager at Yungching Rehouse Group, expressed a similar view.

Housing transfers have dipped 6 percent so far this month at the brokerage, while home supply has increased 20 percent, Huang said.

Paradoxically, home buyers stayed flat as the tax plan drove up bargain hunters, Huang said by telephone. Surely, they will not rush to close deals.

However, the property may not remain depressed in the long run, given the nations sound economic fundamentals and easy monetary policy.

Chuang Meng-han, an industrial economics professor at Tamkang University, said the government must come up with supporting measures to show it is serious about reining in property prices.

Chuang linked property price hikes in recent years to a series of government measures to lure foreign funds and encourage capital return from overseas.

Sizable funds have flowed to local properties owing to long-term asset allocation plans, Chuang said. The need will sustain property prices in prime locations where demand far outweighs supply.

Ample funds, coupled with global hot money, have rendered tightening measures to curb real-estate prices in Hong Kong, Singapore and China futile, even though they have helped to cool transactions, Chuang said.

The phenomenon is good food for thought, although we dont know whether it will repeat here, he said.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 02:46 AM   #124
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 02:48 AM   #125
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 02:50 AM   #126
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Sindian Yulon City is one of major development people should pay attension. So far they build a park for public use and sell some of land to HTC. General manager of Yulon Motor talked with media about this development. Whole development will have 300,000 square meters floor area in the remain site of Sindian Yulon City, which is about 30,000 square meters. With this capacity, I doubt that they are planning at least a couple of skyscrapers in their development plan.

http://www.ke.com.tw/new_page_259.htm

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HTC Taipei Headquarters


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Real Picture


A supertall with 88 fl was shown in the news in 2007.
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 06:19 AM   #127
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Old March 23rd, 2011, 04:44 PM   #128
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Land sales to show luxury tax's impact
The auctions are for two plots in Sinjhuang, and while analysts do not expect to see record prices, one foresees the bids still reaching about NT$2m per ping
21 March 2011
Taipei Times

The upcoming auction this week for two large plots of land in Sinjhuang, New Taipei City is being closely watched after several auctions in Taipei City were canceled last week, leaving the property market in the dark about the impact of the governments luxury tax plan on property values.

The New Taipei City Government is slated to sell two plots of land on Friday in a booming area where the increases in home prices have exceed other parts of the nation during the past two years, as a result of rezoning programs and a strengthened infrastructure.

The auction is widely deemed as a resiliency test for property prices after the government unveiled plans early this month to introduce a luxury tax that would also target short-term real estate transfers.

The two plots, measuring 3,369 ping (11,137m2) and 3,533 ping, are adjacent to the mass rapid transit line under construction that will link Sinjhuang and Taoyuan International Airport and have a floor price of NT$3.03 billion (NT$102.71 million) and NT$3.18 billion respectively.

The auction definitely offers a confidence guide on the influence of the luxury tax, said Stanley Su, head researcher at Sinyi Realty Co, the nations only listed brokerage. No one can foretell the outcome until it is settled.

Last year, the bids for land plots nearby repeatedly hit new highs of more than NT$2 million per ping, pushing up home prices in the area more than 50 percent over the past two years and prompting authorities to tighten regulations on land financing.

Su expects the auction to attract major domestic life insurance firms and land developers, which remain hungry for investment tools to digest excessive liquidity. However, the luxury tax and other credit -controls might warrant a conservative approach, Su said.

Despite their development potential, the two plots are unlikely to break records this time as the market is enveloped in a cautious sentiment, he said by telephone.

The weak sentiment led property owners to call off an auction for a shopping complex in Neihu District on Thursday and the bidding for an undeveloped plot of land in the prime Xinyi District on Friday.

The auction on Tuesday for a land lot in Taichung failed to draw a single bidder with organizer DTZ saying uncertainty sidelined potential buyers.

Taiwan Realty Co spokesman Chiu Tai-shuan said the market is closely watching the Sinjhuang auction.

The outcome may boost or bust investor confidence as the market remains at a loss about the potency of the luxury tax, Chiu said by telephone.

Chiu expects the bidding to be confined to buyers with deep pockets after the central bank in December last year capped land financing to 65 percent of -acquisition costs or price evaluation, depending on which is lower. In addition, lenders must hold 10 percent of the loan until after construction begins.

Only investors awash with cash can afford to buy massive land plots as in the Sinjhuang area, he said, expecting the auction to end at about NT$2 million per ping.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 05:23 AM   #129
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Cranes busy again as Taiwan expands ports
19 March 2011
South China Morning Post

Just two years ago, the Port of Keelung, Taiwan's No 2 port, had a near-death experience.

As harbour cranes lay idle and empty ship containers piled up onshore in the depths of the latest world economic downturn, port workers in the northern coast city wondered if it was time to pack up.

Roll forward to the same time this year and the cranes are once again busy at Keelung, and a little further along the northern coast a new channel is being dredged at the Keelung-managed Port of Taipei, along with a warehouse and three new berths.

The Port of Taipei developments are part of a US$558 million harbour expansion that will run for eight years as officials expect global marine shipping to pick up sharply this year.

Taiwan's export-reliant economy is expected to grow 5 per cent in 2011, with exports at a record US$305.1 billion, after a 2010 rebound from the downturn. Boom times in Taiwan mean that its major markets - China, Europe and the United States - are ordering more goods, translating to direct gains for marine shippers.

The International Monetary Fund has increased its growth estimate for the US economy to 3 per cent, easing some of the concerns of shippers.

Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine, the world's No4 marine shipper, has welcomed the port expansion and says it will gradually add ships to its fleet, including 20 vessels for Asian, European and North American routes. "If we looked purely at the growth scope of 2011, it still will be quite good," it said.

Taiwan's bigger marine shippers expect a turnaround, based on normal economic cycles, following a troubled period of losses in 2009. Evergreen's losses came to NT$4 billion (HK$1.06 billion) over the second and third quarters of that year.

In March of the same year, a 1.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (teu) capacity deep-water container port was opened in Taipei for companies based in northern Taiwan. The Port of Keelung's expansion also features a 48-hectare container terminal, a 123-hectare offshore storage zone and a container terminal covering another 123 hectares.

The southern city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan's biggest port and the world's 12th-most active, is pumping money this year into a 2.4-kilometre access road and a 2.3-kilometre jetty. Kaohsiung harbour officials, who expect sustained world economic growth, are seeking to raise competitiveness of the port that handles about 10 million teu per year by preparing it better for ships big enough for 10,000 teu.

The Kaohsiung port often feels the impact of external economic trends before they are obvious elsewhere in Asia, as it is so integrated into the global supply chain. Local officials see the harbour as part of a broader southern Taiwan logistics centre, adding to plans that could boost overall capacity by 6.3 million teu.

By March next year, the port will finish a 2.6-kilometre pier with 97 pontoon spaces, costing NT$2.42 billion, to give cargo and chemical shippers more space.

Port officials seek to expand partly because they assume that new direct shipping links between Taiwan and the mainland, the island's top export market, would stimulate traffic.

Since 2008, as part of landmark negotiations, the two erstwhile political rivals have opened more than 80 seaports to direct marine cargo shipments. Last year, they signed a deal to cut import tariffs on about 800 items, 15 per cent of all trade.

Some are critical of the expansion under way in port capacity and Stone Lin, shipping analyst with Yuanta Investment Consulting in Taipei, warned of competition from mainland ports. The rise of nearby ports such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen along with the mainland's economic growth in the past 20 years has hurt Taiwan's marine shipping traffic. Mainland-bound transit shipments on which Taiwan once depended have fizzled out as foreign shippers head straight to the mainland, Lin said.

Kaohsiung's port ranked world No3 by volume in the 1980s and slipped quickly after 2000 as Taiwan manufacturing moved to the mainland, contributing to the growth in ports there.

"Demand is OK this year because if the economy is improving, demand for shipping goes up," Lin said. "But Taiwan's position is still headed downward. The ports are now in China and a ship from Europe can go straight through to Shanghai."
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Old March 25th, 2011, 08:08 PM   #130
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Hau considers Dongmen MRT link
Taipei Times
By Mo Yan-chih / Staff Reporter
Sat, Mar 26, 2011 - Page 2

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday promised to consider connecting the MRT’s Luzhou Line and Zhonghe Line via the Dongmen Station, while construction on two other MRT lines continues.

Dongmen Station, between Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Daan Park, will serve as transfer station for the Xinzhuang and Xinyi lines once construction of those two lines is completed in 2013.

However, the station could be used sooner to link the Luzhou and Zhonghe lines if the city government allows it.

Doing so would mean passengers would be able to travel directly on the Luzhou Line to Nanshijiao without making any transfers.

In a transportation meeting at the Taipei City Hall yesterday, Lawrence Lan (藍武王), an adviser to the city government who was a member of the MRT line inspection committee, suggested that the city first open Dongmen Station to link the Luzhou and Zhonghe lines, rather than waiting for the completion of the Xinyi and Xinzhuang lines.

With the railway construction under the Xinzhuang and Xinyi lines, as well as the building and platform of Dongmen Station already completed, Lan said that Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station on the Luzhou Line and Guting Station on the Zhonghe Line could be connected if the Dongmen Station served solely as a passageway to integrate the two lines.

Under the propossal, passengers would not be allowed to board or disembark at Dongmen Station. The city government could skip the Ministry of Transportation and Communications inspection process and get approval from the ministry for the station’s safety mechanism alone, which could be done some time this year.

The lines would not be integrated until 2013 if the city decided to wait for the completion of the Xinyi and Xinzhuang lines.

Taipei Rapid Transit Corp general manager Tan Gwa-guang (譚國光) said that the company and Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems are still studying the possibility, but failed to confirm they would accept the proposal.

Hau said the proposal would offer more convenience for passengers sooner, and said the city government would consider the proposal while ensuring construction safety.

Published on Taipei Times :
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiw.../26/2003499163
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Old March 28th, 2011, 02:13 PM   #131
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Taipei City looks to expand its road resurfacing program
ROAD TO NOWHERE:The mayor blamed the poor quality of work on some roads on Taipower and Chunghwa Telecom, who dig without permission
By Mo Yan-chih / Staff Reporter

Taipei will expand its “smooth road program” and begin road resurfacing work on roads and lanes less than 8m in width this year to ensure road construction quality, the Taipei City Government said yesterday.

The project is one of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) policies and seeks to improve the poor condition of roads in Taipei.

The city government began work on 36 major roads in 2009 and will this year prioritize work on smaller roads, city officials said.

Taipei City’s New Construction Office director Huang Yi-ping (黃一平) said the city would allocate NT$229 million (US$7 million) for the program.

With work set to begin in many alleys, Hau apologized to local residents for the inconvenience and called on the public to help monitor the program by reporting any poor quality work or unauthorized road digging via the Taipei Citizen Hotline at 1999.

Contractors are supposed to scrape away the old road surface and replace it with at least 5cm of tar, and any road digging must be first approved by the city government.

Responding to complaints about the poor quality of work on some major roads, Hau blamed Taipower Co and Chunghwa Telecom for digging up roads without authorization from the city government and vowed to put a stop to such practices.

“We will keep an eye on the situation and consider barring companies [that conduct shoddy work] from digging up roads for a period of three months,” he said.

In a bi-weekly transportation meeting at Taipei City Hall on Friday, Hau instructed officials to establish a mechanism to review the quality of program work.

Information provided by the office showed that the city government approved 1,410 road-digging applications last month, with Taipower and Chunghwa Telecom responsible for 38 percent of the 32 unauthorized worksites discovered.

The inspection mechanism is also to serve as a major reference point in the selection of contractors, Huang said, adding that any contractor found to have done poor work or to be involved in graft would be blacklisted.

I want to say it does not work base on what I've heard from people live in Taipei.
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Old March 29th, 2011, 05:49 AM   #132
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Old March 29th, 2011, 12:03 PM   #133
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Old April 1st, 2011, 10:32 AM   #134
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Published on Taipei Times :
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiw.../01/2003499646

Taipei to keep expo pavilions as cultural venues
Fri, Apr 01, 2011 - Page 2

The Taipei City Government will keep all of the Taipei International Flora Expo’s 14 pavilions as venues for art and cultural performances and agricultural exhibitions after the six-month event ends this month.

The expo, which opened on Nov. 6 and runs through April 26, is comprised of 14 pavilions in three areas of Datong District (大同). It is the second major international event hosted by Hau’s municipal administration, following the Deaflympics in 2009.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday promised not to let the 14 pavilions go to waste after the event. The 14 pavilions, including the popular Pavilion of Dreams, Pavilion of Future and Expo Dome, will remain as venues for performances and flora displays for at least six months after the event.

The two popular pavilions in the expo’s Xinsheng Park area — Pavilion of Dreams and Pavilion of Future — will remain open to the public after the expo, and visitors will be able to purchase tickets to watch exhibitions, Hau said.

The Expo Theater and Expo Dome will continue to serve as venues for performances and exhibitions. The mayor said various performance groups have already scheduled shows and exhibitions at the venues.

With the expo expected to welcome its 7 millionth visitor this weekend, Hau thanked the public for their support and called on those who haven’t used their tickets to visit the expo as soon as possible because the city government would not extend its duration.

According to the expo’s Operational Headquarters, about 2.1 million tickets have not been used.

Hau also said he was proud that 10 Asian media outlets had awarded the expo a prize for being one of the most influential international events last year.

Both the expo and the Shanghai World Expo won recognition from the 10 media outlets led by Phoenix TV Station. The “You Bring Charm to the World” awards ceremony will be held in Beijing on Saturday.

Hau described the award as global recognition, adding that the successful experience would help the city government host more international events.
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 04:32 PM   #135
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Published on Taipei Times :
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiw.../03/2003499805

Wu seeks to calm Fourth Nuclear Power Plant fears
By Shih Hsiu-chuan / Staff Reporter
Sun, Apr 03, 2011 - Page 3

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday reiterated that the government will not halt construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant despite protests by anti-nuclear activists and residents from New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) outside the facility.

“I can assure you that we will not allow the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to start operation unless it is safe. As for halting construction, I am afraid that is not easy,” Wu told the protesters during his inspection trip to the power plant.

At the request of the protesters, three people were allowed to attend the briefing given by -state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Tai-power), the plant’s operator, on the progress of construction work and precautionary measures put in place to deal with an earthquake or tsunami.

In light of the nuclear crisis at Japan’s tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the government, in an effort to alleviate safety concerns, has pushed back the operational date for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to 2013, one year later than originally planned.

A resident described the fourth Nuclear Power Plant as a “cannibalized vehicle” as Taipower did not follow the original design of the facilities at the plant laid out by General Electric, but instead arbitrarily introduced 700 design alterations, prompting compatibility concerns.

“The residents here and I have strong doubts about the quality of construction work as there have been a number of incidents, including floods and power outages at the plant over the past 10 years,” another resident said.

Wu instructed Taipower and the Atomic Energy Council, the national nuclear regulator, to take the misgivings people have expressed about the plant seriously and communicate with them in a open and candid way.

The government will invite international experts to inspect the safety of the plant during the pre-operation testing period to make sure that no errors occur during commercial operation, Wu added.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #136
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New AIT Neihu office construction behind schedule
6 April 2011
Taipei Times

Diplomatic sources on Monday said the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) office compound in Taipeis Neihu District is almost certain to remain unfinished by next years targeted completion date, as obstacles to construction were only resolved under Premier Wu Den-yih.

The AIT has signed a contract with the Taiwanese government to lease more than 65,000m2 of -government-owned land in Neihu for a period of 99 years. The total lease amounts to NT$339 million dollars (US$11.6 million), a sum paid in full by the AIT.

A source said that although then-AIT director Stephen Young held the announcement ceremony in June 2009, it did not mean all the obstacles for construction had yet been resolved.

Obstacles delaying construction were not limited to the preservation of natural scenery, but also stem from a request by President Ma Ying-jeous -administration to the US government for information on the offices structure and location, including plans for US Marine security guard quarters.

The US Department of State placed an advertisement in the classifieds section of a local newspaper in 2008, requesting solicitations for building Marine security guard quarters at the Neihu office, sparking a highly political question on whether the US would send Marines to guard the compound.

The US declined requests from the Ma administration to provide the construction plans for security reasons, but later resolved the issue through diplomatic means, one source said.

The source said the US government had shown patience with the Ma administration over the delays, as this was the first time a foreign governmental organization based in Taiwan had leased land for construction.

However, how the US perceives and evaluates the Ma administration is another matter, the source said.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #137
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Published on Taipei Times :
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiw.../09/2003500307

Keelung-Cidu rail section to be shut next weekend
Sat, Apr 09, 2011

People considering outings next weekend may want to plan ahead because the railway section between Keelung and Cidu (七堵) will be closed for track-switching, the Railway Reconstruction Bureau said yesterday.

The tracks will be switched to a new route in accordance with a new urban planning project of the Keelung City Government that will move the Keelung Railway Station 200m south of its current location.

Because of the project, the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) will suspend the railway service in this section as well. Both northbound and southbound passengers in the vicinity will have to use the Badu (八堵) train station, which will be the point of departure and the terminal station for both northbound and southbound train services next weekend.

As part of complementary measures, passengers who normally board trains in Keelung can take free shuttle buses to Badu, which will be available every six minutes between 11am and 9pm.

Buses during other hours will arrive every 10 to 15 minutes. TRA employees will be on the shuttle buses to help train passengers access the service.

To minimize the project’s impact on commuters, the track-switching project is scheduled to begin at 1am on Saturday next week and end at 4:30am on April 18.

The shuttle bus service at the Keelung station is scheduled to begin at 5am, with the last bus departing at 11:30pm. The shuttle bus service at the Badu station will begin at 5:30am, with the last leaving at 12:30am.

The bureau said that relocating the Keelung train station will cost NT$2.627 billion (US$90.6 million). Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2013.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 09:25 AM   #138
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http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiw.../13/2003500632

Protests block mayor’s entrance to Taipei City Council
Wed, Apr 13, 2011

Clashes over public housing projects and a Taipei Dome project marred Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) report to the Taipei City Council yesterday, with dozens of protesters blocking the entrance to the city council building to urge the mayor to improve communication with residents before drafting policies.

Shouting “Give the supermarket back to us, we don’t want public housing units,” a group of residents of Wenshan District (文山) criticized the city government over its plan to build 174 public housing units in their community despite opposition to what residents perceive as a rushed municipal project.

“The neighborhood is too small to accommodate so many housing units. Poor management of public housing units is also a major concern,” resident Wang Wei-lin (王微琳) said.

Taipei City councilors across party lines, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Councilor Lin Yi-hua (林奕華), KMT Councilor Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青), supported the protesters, calling on the city to distribute public housing units throughout the city’s 12 districts proportionally.

Of all 1,500 public housing units in Taipei, Lee said, 1,020 are located in Wenshan District.

“We do not oppose public -housing, but it’s unfair to build all the units in one district. The city government needs a comprehensive plan and must communicate better with local residents,” he said.

At the heart of the controversy is a plan by the city to convert an abandoned supermarket on Wanli Street into a public rental apartment as the first phase of a project to increase the number of affordable housing units throughout the city to 50,000 in the next four years.

Each of the planned public housing units would be about 21 ping (69.4m2) and rent would be about NT$11,000 per month, or about 80 percent of average rent in the area.

Meanwhile, a small group of -environmental activists protested in another corner outside the Taipei City Council against the planned construction project of the Taipei Dome, a 40,000-seat complex that is to be built on the site of the Songshan Tobacco Factory in Taipei.

Leading the protest, Green Party Taiwan spokesman Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) said the city should revoke the contract with Farglory Group and stop the project immediately.

Swamped by protesters and reporters, Hau slowly made his way into the city council building escorted by security guards without offering comments.

“I heard the protesters’ voices and we will examine the projects and see what we can do,” he said.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #139
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Housing correction expected with tax
Taipei Times
Sat, Apr 16, 2011 - Page 12

The housing market, which has seen transactions plunging for nearly two months, is poised for a price correction now that a bill to tax short-term property transfers has cleared the legislature, analysts said yesterday.

The depth of correction is expected to match or exceed the tax rates — from 10 percent to 15 percent of trading prices, if properties are resold within one to two years of their purchase — they said.

“The enactment of the luxury tax bill removes a lingering uncertainty from the market,” Lee Jain-ming (李健銘), a researcher at Sinyi Realty Co (信義房屋), said by telephone.

“The selling side will be more willing to soften prices now that the levy will be implemented,” Lee said.

Housing prices remain virtually unchanged after the government unveiled the luxury tax plan in late February, although transactions have nearly halved in parts of the nation while the number of houses for sale have increased sharply.

The number of homes for sale in the prime Xinyi District tops other areas in Taipei, picking up 40 percent last month and this month, compared with January and February, Lee said.

Songshan (松山) and Shihlin (士林) districts rank second and third, as the number of homes for sale jumped 37 percent and 32 percent respectively during the same period, he said.

Meanwhile, available homes surged 40 percent in Linkou (林口), New Taipei City (新北市), followed by Banciao (板橋) at 35 percent and Sinjuang (新莊) at 30 percent, where speculation accounts for 50 percent of transactions in recent two years, Lee said.

Sinyi Realty, the nation’s only listed housing brokerage, expects home prices to shed 5 percent to 10 percent in Taipei and drop up to 20 percent in New Taipei City until the end of the lunar Ghost Month in late August.

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), another major broker, said the luxury tax legislation showed the government was serious about cooling the property market after previously limiting its efforts to moral persuasion.

“The legislation will help put an end to this tug of war over pricing and boost transactions ahead of the tax’s implementation,” Evertrust Rehouse head researcher Jeffry Huang (黃增福) said by telephone.

The selling pressure is more evident for presale housing projects, whose transactions entail less capital and are consequently rife with speculators, Huang said.

While pre-sale housing projects won’t be liable for the luxury tax before the construction is finished, buyers have faced potentially higher interest rates after the central bank started to tighten monetary policy in June last year, the researcher said.

The National Tax Administration has also stepped up a crackdown on tax evasion by presale housing traders to close a legal loophole.

Hua Ching-chun (花敬群), a banking and finance professor at Hsuan Chuang University, who closely tracks the property market, said buyers would remain cautious until after next year’s presidential election.

“The tax legislation marks the beginning of a correction that may last longer than a year,” Hua said. “Home prices should drop by half in New Taipei City in the absence of speculation.”
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Old April 20th, 2011, 05:45 PM   #140
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Government plans airport expansion
Taipei Times
Wed, Apr 20, 2011

The government is planning to invest approximately NT$300 billion (US$10.3 billion) for the construction of a third terminal and other infrastructure at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

The plan marks the nation’s largest investment in air transportation service in the past decade.

The CAA-drafted Guidelines Governing the Development at the Airport Park (機場園區發展綱要計畫) was approved by the Executive Yuan last week. CAA Deputy -Director-General Chen Tien-tsyh (陳天賜) said the government aims to turn the nation’s largest international airport into one of the most important hubs in northeast Asia.

According to Chen, both the CAA and the Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIA) will jointly execute the guidelines. The CAA will be responsible for acquiring land needed for the Airport Park, while the TIA will be in charge of designing and constructing Terminal 3 and the airport’s third runway, he said.

Aside from building a new terminal and runway, Chen said the NT$300 billion budget would also pay for the costs of expropriating private properties in the area and building other transportation infrastructure.

Based on the guidelines, annual passenger traffic at the Taoyuan airport is expected to reach 58.9 million per year by 2030 and cargo handling is expected to top 4.48 million tonnes.

The number of aircraft arriving at and departing from the airport is also expected to reach 467,000 per year within 20 years.

Chen said the entire Airport Park area is 1,249 hectares. He said the airport would need an additional 745 hectares to accommodate all the facilities specified in the guidelines, adding that the estimated costs of acquiring the lands could potentially top NT$59.5 billion.

The newly acquired land would be used to build the third runway, depots and tarmacs for both passenger and cargo jets, aircraft maintenance zones and the airport free-trade zone, he said.

According to the CAA’s preliminary design, the third runway will be located at the northern part of Airport Park, which will be 1,200m in distance and accommodate large aircraft, such as the Airbus 380.

Terminal 3, along with the satellite boarding areas, will be able to accommodate 43 million passengers per year. Fan Hsiao-lun (范孝倫), director of CAA’s aerodrome engineering division, said Terminal 1 can accommodate 15 million passengers per year after renovations are completed this year.

Terminal 2, meanwhile, has a capacity to handle 17 million passengers per year, Fan said.

Fan added it would take the CAA at least one or two years before it can actually start expropriating the land, adding the government’s development project would all have to be reviewed by the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee.
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