Group fights to save historic Nangang factory
By Joseph Yeh ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Residents of Taipei City's Nangang District yesterday called for the preservation of a 70-year-old abandoned factory which is slated for demolition to make way for new construction projects.
September 24, 2013, 12:17 am TWN
Rebecca Lin, spokeswoman of a volunteer group that initiated the campaign to save the Nangang Bottle Cap Factory (南港瓶蓋工廠), said yesterday that the group hopes to preserve the unique site because of its historic significance to the district.
“The factory, which was built during the Japanese colonial period, is one-of-a-kind in Nangang and should be preserved,” she said during a press conference held at the factory.
The factory was built in 1943 by Toshio Utsubo and initially produced tin plates, according to information collected by the volunteer group.
The factory was later renamed the “Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau Bottle Factory” in 1958 and continued to operate until 2004, when it was converted to use as a cultural center and performance venue.
It is also a popular shooting site for many TV dramas and movies because of its cavernous factory buildings and empty spaces, as well as graffiti painted by street artists on its walls.
But Lin said the Taipei city government recently announced its decision to tear down the site to make way for new construction projects. The government plans to demolish the factory in November, she said.
In the hope of preserving the site, Lin said that she and a group of locals in Nangang have launched an online petition. She and many local residents as well as former employees of the factory urged the government to designate the factory as a historic heritage site to serve as a community center or a cultural park.
So far, more than 1,000 people have signed the petition to preserve the site, she said.
Factory Founder's Grandson
Yesterday's press conference was also joined by Keiichiro Utsubo, grandson of the factory's founder Toshio Utsubo.
Utsubo said he visited Taiwan two years ago to look for his grandfather's former residence in Taipei. Toshio Utsubo died in 1981 at the age of 82.
He recently learned that the Taipei government plans to tear down the old factory his grandfather founded.
Utsubo said that because of his family's deep connection to Taipei, he hopes the abandoned factory can be preserved and turned into a cultural site.
Those who wish to join the petition can visit the following website at https://avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_Nangang_Bottle_Cap_Factory