Pei firm to design Taiwan landmark

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 September, 1997, 12:00am

New York-based architect firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (PCF) is expected to sign a multi-million US dollar contract next week to design a 50-floor office building in Taipei's prosperous east side.

The new building will occupy a site now filled by the 14-floor shell of the ill-starred Taipei Regency Hotel, Jui Ho Development Co chairman Kevin Hou Po-wen said.

A final design should be finished in eight or nine months. Mr Hou's initial plans are for a 50-floor building that will cost up to NT$10 billion (about HK$2.42 billion to ) to build, if the Taipei City Government approves the plans.

Mr Hou, who also is executive vice-chairman of the Tung Ho Steel group, bought the site at auction in March for NT$2.8 billion.

The Taipei Regency, which was closed in April 1982 after only four years in operation, deteriorated into an empty husk after renovation plans by the infamous 'underground bank', Hung Yuan Group, were aborted with the collapse of the multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme in 1990.

Industry analysts initially expected the Taipei Regency site to be rebuilt into a five-star hotel, but Mr Hou told the Business Post he had decided instead 'to build a financial and office building designed by the best architects I could find that can stand as a new landmark for Taipei'.

After reviewing initial submissions by 10 international architects, Mr Hou chose PCF and signed a letter of intent with the Pei partnership in late August.

He said he anticipated the signing of a contract next week during a working visit to Taipei by Henry Cobb, a leading partner in the architect firm.

I.M. Pei is expected to be involved to some degree in the project despite his retirement, a Jui Ho executive said.