Without investors, Sejong City’s viability in doubt

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Without investors, Sejong City’s viability in doubt

The Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) predicted that Sejong City, the country’s projected multifunctional administrative complex, has little potential to become a self-contained city.

The BAI yesterday said that Sejong City would not grow as a self-contained city that would have more than 500,000 residents, as it has failed to attract private construction investment that is necessary for creating a large-scale residential complex.

The BAI said that it conducted an audit on the city’s amount of private construction investment from September to November 2011. It concluded that the city will fail to have the targeted population (500,000) by the end of 2030. It stated that the central government has failed to attract large-scale construction projects from private enterprises as it failed to provide benefits such as tax benefits and government subsidies.

The BAI also said that the failure to attract investment and build apartments around the science-belt region has prevented Sejong City from enhancing the level of connectivity between it and international business in Daejeon. The BAI said that securing a certain amount of residents is important to foster Sejong City as a self-contained city. The distance between the two regions is only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

The BAI also found more elements to deter residents to move to the area. It said that LH Corporation, the country’s state run land developer, has included the fee of public facility management, which costs 400 billion won ($355.6 million) a year, into the cost of land purchase for a residential complex in the city without any legal explanation.

The BAI said this would double the burden on residences because local governments cover a large portion of the public facility management fee from residences’ taxes.

The BAI said that it warned the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency, which is in charge of the Sejong City project, to tighten the deliberation process for construction projects in order to prevent such burdens for residences.

Sejong City will encompass the entire Yeonggi County of South Chungcheong, three towns near the city of Gongju and eight small villages of Cheongwon County in North Chungcheong.

By Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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