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Years of MRT Land Development Launched by DORTS to Realize Win-win Situation for Both Public and Private Sectors
  • Source: Department of Rapid Transit Systems, Taipei City Government
  • Date: 2021-07-23
  • Why does DORTS need to carry out MRT land development?
            In addition to MRT land expropriation, land development is a way for a government to obtain lands for its MRT system, which will promote land-use efficiency, urban development, and improvement of the local environment and urban scenery. The lands of landowners who are willing to participate in a land development project will not be expropriated, and they can secure a portion of the profits from the project, as well as enjoy the benefits of more efficient land utilization and improvements in the living environment. The investors can also expect a reasonable reward from the project they participate in. Through leasing real assets of the project for business operations after the MRT land development is completed, governments can also obtain more revenue for other MRT constructions. Therefore, through land development, the goal of creating a win-win situation between the public and the private sectors has been substantially achieved.
    What is the course of development of MRT land development by DORTS?
            DORTS established a responsible unit in 1989 to take charge of carrying out MRT land development. At that time, related laws and regulations were still in their infancy, so DORTS' MRT land development projects were the first of their kind nationwide and encountered many hardships and challenges. By learning from the issues and difficulties during the roll-out of MRT land development, DORTS has put forth improvement measures and reviewed its operating procedures, regulations, and laws, amending them on multiple occasions. The policy in use consists of five standard procedures for preliminary work, application, evaluation and selection, as well as contract fulfillment, and rights and interests distribution; furthermore, it is a solid guarantee for a win-win situation for the Taipei City government, landowners, and investors.
    How is MRT land development rolled out by DORTS?
            MRT land development buildings are commonly integrated with MRT facilities and using a method of co-construction. These MRT facilities include entrances, vent shafts, parking area, and depots. However, under certain conditions, the MRT land development buildings and the MRT facilities are designed separately, for example, the space for transit facilities does not conflict with the development building and all the landowners of the site agree to the development plan, and the site reaches a certain scale or terms.
            The co-construction structures of the aforementioned joint development buildings that are integrated with MRT facilities include the spaces for MRT facilities and the development buildings. If the co-construction structures are implemented by DORTS, according to the related laws of MRT land development for transit systems, the costs for design and construction, which the development buildings are held accountable, can be shouldered by the MRT construction organizations in advance, and the reimbursement should come later without interest. However, there are many procedures and restrictions on the funding of MRT construction. At present, the tendering strategy for a co-construction project in an MRT development zone is partially carried out by entrusting investors (i.e., real estate developers) to carry out construction. In this case, the need for funds from DORTS will be lower. In addition, if the planning, designing, and construction tasks are carried out by investors, better outcomes can be generally achieved in terms of project duration and efficiency, compared with those whose works were done by DORTS.
    What are the current status of  land development by DORTS?
            Since the roll-out of MRT land development policy, there have been 88 development sites so far, 62 of which were completed and handed over, two of which are under construction, five of which are undergoing design, and 19 of which are in the process of investor solicitation or undergoing preliminary work. Of all the sites, the Taipei Main Station Special District (C1/D1) draws the most attention. During the development period, it is estimated that this project will generate a value of NT$25.5 billion per year by stimulating construction and industrial activities in the surrounding area. In addition, following the development period, this project will increase an annual extra income of NT$1.46 billion for the municipal treasury and create 16,000 job opportunities. Taipei City government will be able to obtain a roughly estimated NT$84 billion in land rights, and it will generate an annual rental income of approximately NT$1.87 billion. This construction project is scheduled to commence at the end of this year (2021), and it will be inaugurated in 2027.
    What are the specialties of MRT land development by DORTS?
            The developed districts in Taipei form the core of the Taipei MRT routes, and it extends to important neighbouring regions. However, the available lands in the city centre are scarce and expensive. Thus, in order to promote the MRT smoothly, the government established a land-use priority order for MRT facilities such as entrances/exits and ventilation shafts; namely, public-owned land would be used first, vacant land second, and land with low-density development last. For the lands that are privately-owned, in order to boost the willingness of the owners to cooperate, a system of MRT land development was introduced. At the beginning of Taipei MRT construction, land development was based on the original and existing land-use purposes of the zones chosen. The density of land development was determined according to the original floor area ratio and an MRT incentive floor area ratio up to 50% of the original floor area ratio. With the continuously rising land prices in Taipei City and increasing attention on land and residential rights amongst citizens, at the later stage, the regulations for land development of Taipei MRT were changed. The amendments are explained as follows: 1. The land which has undergone development can be used for commercial purposes. 2. The original limit of floor area ratio has been loosened by 50%, where the MRT incentive floor area ratio is still applicable. The introduction of these two measures aims to provide more incentives for landowners to participate in land development.
    What is the benefits of MRT land development by DORTS?
            The Taipei MRT enables people in the metropolitan area to move around conveniently and brings benefits and business opportunities to areas along the MRT routes. Given that the Taipei Metropolitan Area is a densely populated area where land resources are scarce, DORTS has set up a land development model for 30 years in line with the construction of MRT systems. To date, there have been 88 land development sites, which have reduced land acquisition costs by over NT$35.4 billion,  repaid NT$7.3 billion for self-liquidation, attracted more than 1,900 landowners participants, and created a total value of NT$280 billion in real assets. There are several advantages of combining MRT construction with land development: the facilitation of land acquisition, the promotion of urban development, the provision of public construction via overall development, and finally the realization of a fair and win-win situation between the Taipei City government, the landowners, and the investors.
    Where can I find the information about MRT land development by DORTS?
            In order to make the information about land development in Taipei more convenient for the public to check and improve their understanding, DORTS has introduced the Implementation Plan for Administrative Transparency of Land Development over Lands for MRT Use. All related divisions and offices are requested to act accordingly in order to make land development information public. The information about each of DORTS' land development projects has gradually become publicly available on its website. People can now log onto DORTS' website (https://www.dorts.gov.taipei/) and easily obtain the information they want by selecting an MRT line, a site, or a stage of development.
            The perseverance and endeavour of DORTS' construction teams are the foundation of high-quality MRT construction. However, support from the public and participation from landowners are the keys to building a larger MRT route map which makes the Taipei MRT more convenient and safer for people in the Greater Taipei Area to enjoy.