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2012

Old Building Revamp Row

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The Taipei City Government launched a “Facelift Program” to renovate the facades of old buildings. While the program was intended to upgrade the area as a whole, inadequate review and inspection criteria resulted in public spending being used to subsidize commercial buildings and luxury homes located on some of the priciest streets, driving up the property values in the area. The Control Yuan Member on duty decided the case warrant an investigation (Case no. 1000800400).

The “Facelift Program” is part of Taipei City Government’s urban renewal and is designed to subsidize renovation of facades and leaky roofs. A total of 103 projects were granted subsidies between 2006 and 2011 at a budget of 606,909,317 NT dollars. However, the Taipei City Government failed to improve the public facilities within the subsidized area, forgoing the initial purpose of renewing the city for public good. Moreover, subsidies to renovate the facades of private housing and high rises seem to be misaligned with facilitating public or national interest. According to public opinion, the program seems “To have forced tenants who can’t afford a home to pay for homeowner renovation”. It was an ill-considered program by the Taipei City Government. Even more controversial is the method of designating the areas for renewal which included commercial buildings and apartments, driving up the already expensive property value in the area, taking up the resources that should have been dedicated to the poorer neighborhoods.

At the CY’s request, the Taipei City Government revised the regulation for building repair and maintenance under the urban renewal project. The new regulation effectively excludes commercial buildings and luxury apartments with higher application thresholds that only qualify buildings that have been around for over 20 years; buildings that are owned by 2 or more proprietors; buildings with usable floor area equal to or greater than 50 percent of gross floor area; buildings with 70 percent of units are less than 24sqm. Walk-up apartments of 7 stories or less enjoy a maximum subsidy of 45% of its repair cost, or no more than 10 million NT dollars.