Guryong redevelopment finalized

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Guryong redevelopment finalized

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Gangnam District Office finally agreed on a redevelopment plan on Thursday for Guryong Village, the capital’s largest shanty town.

However, the decision could not fully reconcile long-standing conflicts between the two authorities, which have been at odds for years over what to do with the land.

In a briefing on Thursday, the city government announced that it would accept the development proposal suggested by the district office, which earlier recommended purchasing the entire area from the village’s landlords.

“The city government originally concluded that returning some of the land to its owners would be a better way, but we decided to look at the matter from a broader point of view and accepted the district office’s idea,” said Vice Mayor for Administrative Affairs Lee Geon-gi.

At a separate press conference, Shin Yeon-hee, the head of the Gangnam District Office, welcomed the city government’s decision and promised the district would cooperate to finish development as soon as possible.

But she added that the district office was not willing to drop charges against former and active employees of the city government and its housing arm, SH Corporation. In July, the office accused five people from those authorities of intentionally opposing the district’s plan, suspecting that they had corrupt connections with village landlords. An investigation is ongoing.

“Development plans to create a safer environment for [Guryong Village residents] have been delayed for more than two years,” Shin said. “Someone should be held responsible for that.” The city government appeared baffled by the district office’s reaction. “We would like to settle all our issues, including those involving our accused employees, before moving on to the new redevelopment plan,” said Vice Mayor Lee. “We regret that the district office did not accept the deal in the way we did.”

The dispute between the municipal government and the Gangnam District Office dates back to 2012, when the city government’s Urban Planning Committee turned down the district office’s plan to purchase the entire area and instead announced another plan that would allow landowners to maintain some of their property while receiving compensation.

All plans were terminated in August after neither side could agree. But after a fire broke out in Guryong Village in November, the city and the district office retuned to the negotiating table.


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