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Songshan Airport to undergo NT$40 bil. makeover program

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Department of Urban Development of the Taipei City Government (台北市都發局, DUD) yesterday announced its plans to renovate and expand the Taipei Songshan Airport (松山機場), in an attempt to raise the capital's commercial profile internationally.

The project will be overseen by the DUD, along with the Taipei City Government and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (交通部), and it is expected to attract an estimated NT$20 billion to NT$40 billion in investments. Preliminary plans suggest that venues for exhibitions and conferences, shopping, lodging and the aviation industry will be included in the airport's expansion, according to reports.

According to the DUD, Songhan Airport has risen to prominence since 2008, when direct flights to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (虹橋機場) and Haneda Airport (羽田) were established. In an effort to elevate the facilities to meet international standards, large swaths of adjacent lands, including those held by the Ministry of Defense, will be developed under the guidance of governing bodies.

Upon completion, the project will help to elevate Taipei's profile among the region's commercial capitals, including Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai, said the DUD. Business people will be able to plan out day trips in Taipei after the completion of the project, while properties in the area are expected to benefit from new momentum in urban renewal efforts, said the DUD.

Preliminary plans indicate that the project has been segregated into four zones. Most notably, Zone B, the current site of the Civil Aeronautics Administration's (CAA, 民航局) and Aviation Police Office's main buildings, will provide the setting for exhibition and conference venues, hotels, shopping malls and commercial space, said the DUD.

The DUD stated that it expects the project to attract NT$30 billion in investments, and generate annual revenues of NT$16 billion once operations commence. A NT$10 billion provision has been drawn up by the DUD for land acquisition and improvement of roadways and the airport's main plaza for greater commercial applications.

Meanwhile, a NT$12 million budget has been allocated towards acquiring properties and relocating residents on Binjiang Street near the airport. According to reports, due to flight safety regulations, property development along the Binjiang Street has long faced stringent restrictions. The budget is designed to facilitate the initiative in revamping land utilization along Binjiang Street.

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