First buildings at Lotte World Mall given green light to open
The Seoul Metropolitan Government yesterday approved the early opening of all low-rise buildings part of the Lotte World Mall, better known as the second Lotte World, on the condition that Lotte keeps working on the city government’s safety requirements.
Lotte has been planned on opening the lower buildings in the complex since last year, but a series of accidents at the construction site, a lack of safety precautions and traffic measures have caused several delays.
“We decided to permit the early opening of the complex after safety inspections, discussions with related authorities and institutions, and a review of an advisory panel comprised of 23 experts,” said Lee Geon-gi, a vice mayor for administrative affairs, at a press briefing yesterday. “Considering safety and traffic measures of the complex and its economic influence on related enterprises and the job market, we concluded an early opening is reasonable.”
The municipal government made it clear the decision could be revoked if Lotte fails to meet the requirements suggested by the Seoul government, which are safety measures for the construction sites; measures to control traffic; and measures related to the sinking water levels of Seokchon Lake.
The city government requested that Lotte set up additional safety nets around construction sites to catch falling objects from the 123-story tower, which is to be completed by the end of 2016. It also requested that CCTV systems and a broadcasting system for emergency announcements be installed.
Also, the government requested that Lotte expand the prohibited area around the tower and resubmit construction specs for some of its facilities, such as the spire of the tower, for approval.
When it comes to traffic, Lotte is obliged to implement policies to curb the inflow of visiting cars by using a reservation system for parking spaces and collecting parking fees from all visiting cars.
Thus far, most visitors to shopping malls or department stores were exempted from parking fees if they purchased goods.
“Six out of eight traffic measures have already been completed and the remaining ones are connecting two nearby roads with an underpass and setting up a large underground bus transfer center,” said Lee.
The Lotte World Mall is a complex with a 555-meter (1,820-foot) tower, expected to be the sixth-tallest skyscraper in the world, and three low-rise buildings: a shopping mall, a department store and a multiplex cinema. Once it is open, it is estimated that about 200,000 people will visit the complex every day.
“It will take two to three weeks to prepare the opening,” said an official from Lotte at the press briefing. “We will do our best to make it the safest and the best landmark in the world so that visitors enjoy the complex without concerns.”
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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