Taiwanese group gets priority status for Twin Towers project

10/18/2019 07:48 PM

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) A consortium consisting of contract computer maker Clevo Co. and affiliate Hongwell Group has been awarded priority status to develop a high-profile property in downtown Taipei, the city's Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) announced Friday.

In a statement, the department said the Taiwanese team, which originally finished second in the bidding process, will take over from previous winners Nan Hai Development Ltd. of Hong Kong and Malton Berhad of Malaysia in carrying out the multi-billion Taiwan dollar Twin Towers project near the Taipei Train Station.

To officially win the right to develop the long-stalled project, the group now must meet two basic conditions before signing a contract with the Taipei City government.

After receiving a formal written notice of its priority status, the group must set up a corporate task force for the project by a specific deadline and pay a NT$1.8 billion (US$58.8 million) guarantee deposit within a specific period of time.

The Taiwanese consortium said Friday it had just received formal notification from the department and will set up a special company dedicated to the project within 60 days as required.

Nan Hai and Malton Berhad were named most favored bidders for the project in December 2018. According to DORTS, they lost their status because they failed to set up a new company dedicated to the project and sign a deal with municipal authorities in a timely manner.

In fact, however, when the Investment Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs revoked the two companies' priority status in June 2019, it said it was due to national security concerns because it deemed Nan Hai as being Chinese funded.

Though Nan Hai and Malton Berhad then applied twice for injunctions to put the project on hold, their requests were rejected by the Supreme Administrative Court in August and October, respectively, DORTS said.

The Hong Kong-based company, meanwhile, has filed an appeal with the central government and the Taipei City government in hopes of regaining its priority status to handle the project.

Over the past 10 years, the high-profile development project aimed at reviving western Taipei has been marred by bribery scandals and repeated tenders that failed to yield a winner.

Eager to invest in Taiwan despite its close links with China, Nan Hai had plans to complete construction of the mixed-use towers featuring residential and office units, retail space and hotels that were to serve as a major transportation hub by 2025.

(By Flor Wang and Chen Yi-hsiun)


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