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Government gives green light to Lotte skyscraper

Jan 08,2009
An artist’s rendition of Lotte’s skyscraper. Released by the group
The Lotte Group was given the green light yesterday for its long-cherished skyscraper project after the Lee Myung-bak administration decided to make some changes in the operation of a nearby military airbase.

At an administrative meeting hosted by Cho Jung-pyo, minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, the government decided yesterday to rewrite operation plans and take flight safety measures at Seoul Airport, also known as Seongnam Airbase, located on the outskirts of southern Seoul.

At the meeting, the Ministry of National Defense also proposed relocating an airport runway and the government agreed.

Since 1994, the Lotte Group has pushed forward a plan to build a 555-meter (1,821-foot) tower as a part of its “Lotte World II” complex construction project in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul.

Lotte’s plans, however, faced an obstacle after the military said the building - 9.2 kilometers (5.7 miles) from the airbase - posed a flight safety risk.

The Lee administration gave the project a second look after the government and business community met September last year to discuss ways to encourage investment and employment.

Lotte said on Dec. 30 that it was willing to pay for necessary adjustments needed by the military.

The Defense Ministry proposed yesterday that the eastern runway at the airbase be moved by three degrees to the west and flight safety monitoring equipment be upgraded to clear the way for Lotte.

Judging that the plan was feasible, the government ordered the Air Force and Lotte Group to discuss how to pay for the changes.

“Right now, the only remaining issue is the money matter,” said Cho Won-dong, deputy minister for administration affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office.

By adjusting the eastern runway of the Seoul Airport, the routes of flight landing will be redirected, largely reducing the possibility of a collision with the tower.

The ministry believes the runway relocation will cost more than 100 billion won ($77.2 million).

The conglomerate welcomed the government’s decision. “We will cooperate with the Air Force to come up with flight safety measures at our expense,” the Lotte Group said in a press release yesterday.

“The height restriction in some areas of Seongnam will be lifted when the runway is relocated,” said Kim Gwang-wu, a senior official in charge of military installation planning at the Defense Ministry. “The final conclusion will come within a month.”



By Ser Myo-ja Staff Reporter/ Kwon Ho JoongAng Ilbo [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


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