Taiwan's goal to be a culture capital starts with real estate
The China Post news staffAmid suppressed wage levels and gloomy international economic outlook, the government of Taiwan has been jumping on the global trend of pursuing new possibilities in the so-called cultural and creative industries frontier, with some inevitable bumbling along the way.
October 26, 2013, 3:42 pm TWN
The Songshan Culture and Creative Park (松山文創園區) represents one of the government's most high-profile efforts towards the endeavor of making Taiwan into a cultural capital of the world. A relic of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, the sprawling complex once served as a tobacco manufacturing plant. Operations ceased in 1998 with the last cigarette rolling off the conveyer belts. In 2001 the site was designated as Taipei's 99th historical site by the city government. In 2011 the site was transformed into a creative park designed to provide venues for diverse cultural and creative exhibitions and performances through a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme with private sector investors.
The project has since been lauded by proponents including the Taipei City Government and the Ministry of Culture as the cradle of Taiwan's fledgling cultural and creative industries. The Taipei City Government claimed they would utilize the project site to provide new and struggling cultural and creative endeavors with affordable office space and base of operations.
However, upon closer inspection, the project proved to be of little use to up and coming cultural and creative companies. Office space at the park costs about NT$2,200 per ping, much higher than other offerings in the area. In addition, renters are required to commit to units greater than 400 ping. A ping is approximately 3.306 square meters. In contrast, retail space at the complex is priced at NT$1,050 per ping, a steep discount from the asking price of NT$7,000 to NT$9,000 per ping in the area.