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Backup ready if top 'Twin Towers' bidder fails: Taipei mayor

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said that if by midnight Feb. 22 the contract terms for the “Taipei Twin Towers” development bid is not fulfilled by the front-running bidder, the project will be awarded to the runner-up.

Terms stipulate that the winner of the bid is required to transfer funds equal to 3 percent of total construction costs, or NT$1.89 billion, to a designated bank account by midnight Feb. 22 or face a breach of contract, said Commissioner Richard Chen (陳樁亮) of Taipei's Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS).

If these terms are not met, the NT$130 million paid as a bid deposit will be forfeited.

As of press time, the frontrunner was Taipei Gateway International Development Co. Ltd. (太極雙星), with BES Constructions (中華工程) in the runner-up position.

The project's preliminary bidding process concluded on Oct. 28, 2012. The DORTS sent Taipei Gateway a notice on Jan. 22 stipulating that the required documents along with required funds must be provided by Feb. 21.

In response, Taipei Gateway told the Taipei City Government that the funds, at US$100 million, will be transferred to the designated bank account by midnight Feb. 22

Pledging full transparency, Chen said the public will be notified once the outcome is determined.

Officially named the C1/D1 Joint Development Buildings, the Taipei Twin Towers represents the largest construction endeavor ever to take place in Taipei.

The towers will be situated near the Taipei Railway Station, ensuring easier access to six railway systems and one nearby bus terminal.

Plans indicate that the Twin Towers is approximately 1.5 times larger than Taipei 101, and 6.5 times larger than the Pacific SOGO department store building.

According to development plans, the two towers will stand 76 and 56 stories high, and become the second and third tallest buildings in Taipei.

The towers will also provide over 150,000 ping of prime commercial real estate suitable for retail, entertainment and lodging.

A vast expanse of greenery will surround the structures.

According to Hau, the towers after completion will add a yearly revenue of NT$1.1 billion to Taipei, in addition to providing over 23,000 jobs.

However, the project has been mired in controversy, ranging from Taipei Gateway's alleged ties with organized crime, to it being a mere shell company, and claims of irregularities concerning its bidding process.

“Let's not make the unprecedentedly large construction endeavor into the largest joke in Taiwan,” said opposition lawmaker Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) yesterday, while urging Chen and other DORTS officials to take responsibility if the plans fall through.

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Taipei Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), back row center, gestures during a press conference held at the Department of Rapid Transit Systems in Taipei, yesterday. Wang urged government officials to take full responsibility for any mishaps concerning the Taipei Twin Towers development project. (CNA)

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