Lotte agrees to build traffic tunnels around mall

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Lotte agrees to build traffic tunnels around mall

Lotte Group yesterday cleared a major hurdle in opening part of its Lotte World Mall in Jamsil, southern Seoul, by yielding to the Seoul city government’s demand to build underground tunnels for transport around the landmark complex that is still partly under construction.

The Lotte World Mall consists of Lotte World Tower, a 123-story skyscraper, and three smaller auxiliary buildings that will function as a shopping mall and entertainment complex. The group was hoping to operate the lower-rise buildings before Chuseok, as construction on those is complete.

Seoul, however, rejected a request made on June 9 for an early opening, and said in July that measures to prevent traffic congestion in the area, as well as more safety measures, would need to be put into place in order for the complex to open early.

The municipal government demanded that Lotte Group spend 110.8 billion won ($107.8 million) building a 1.12-kilometer (0.7-mile) subterranean road connecting Jamsil Jugong 5th Apartment Complex and the back road of Jangmi Apartment Complex near the mall to ease congestion.

Lotte said earlier this month that it would cover the cost for a part of the underground road that is near its new mall, but the Seoul government refused its proposal.

As the two sides iron out the sticky issue, many expect the city government to grant a provisional service approval, which would give Lotte the right to open the completed part ahead of Chuseok.

The city government has still not announced definitive approval, saying it will reveal its decision as early as this week.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]




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