The Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Employee Welfare Committee yesterday signed a contract with Medlight Group to restore the agency’s old employee dormitories in Taipei and turn the area into a cultural park, which is to open in 2025.
Located between Bade Road and Changan E Road, the dormitories, which were built during the Japanese colonial era, have a total floor area of 3,910m2 and were designated historic buildings by the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs in 2007.
Medlight has since 1999 been managing the shopping area at National Taiwan University Hospital’s Outpatient Department building, which was built in 1921, group chairman Lai Tiao-yuan (賴調元) said at the signing ceremony.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Railways Administration
It has renovated, maintained and managed the shopping area based on the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), Lai said.
“People will not feel the history of the dormitories if we turn them into completely new buildings, but they will not be able to imagine what the future of these buildings could be like if the current exterior is retained,” Lai said. “Our restoration will ensure that businessowners and visitors to the cultural park will feel a connection to these historic buildings.”
The planned cultural park, along with the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, Taipei Brewery and houses used by US officials when Taiwan was still under the US’ aid, can collectively form a large tourist attraction, Lai said.
The group plans to have hotels, bookstores and performing arts venues at the park, it said, adding that an exhibition room would showcase the history of the dormitories.
The dormitories were built during the Japanese Showa era and later used by TRA workers, the committee said.
Medlight is planning to spend NT$300 million (US$10.66 million) to restore the dormitories, with the project scheduled to be completed by 2025, the committee said.
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