Lotte’s 123-story skyscraper is cleared to open

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Lotte’s 123-story skyscraper is cleared to open

The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Thursday gave final approval for the opening of Lotte World Tower, a 123-story skyscraper that is currently the country’s tallest building and the world’s fifth-tallest. The government’s clearance came six years and three months after the groundbreaking.

Lotte Corporation, operator of the tower, said it will have a grand opening in April after completing the interior work.

“The city government has rolled out a three-track safety inspection of the building by the government itself, a joint advisory group comprising civilians and experts, and a pre-opening period which includes disaster drills,” the government said in a statement.

Lotte Corporation, Hotel Lotte and Lotte Shopping applied for approval on Dec. 7.

The approved site is an 805,872-square-meter (200-acre) patch of land that includes the 555-meter (1820-foot) Lotte World Tower and a shopping mall complex next door. The complex opened two years ago.

When it opens, the tower will accommodate residential facilities such as fitness centers and hospitals on floors 1 to 12. The eighth and ninth floors will be connected to the already opened Avenuel building and will be an extension of Lotte Duty Free shops. The 14th to 38th floors will contain company offices, and from the 42nd to 71st floors, there will be premium residences. The six-star hotel Signiel Seoul will occupy floors 76 to 101.

The top level will contain the Seoul Sky observatory, which offers views as far as to Songdo in Incheon.

Considering the tower’s height, the building is especially vulnerable to fire, so the city government said it would keep the advisory group until the end of this year. The tower’s safety has constantly come under criticism, especially since it caused sinkholes in the neighborhood in 2014. The Seoul government said it will establish a monitoring group and share the process with the public through Lotte Corporation’s official website.

The erection of the country’s tallest building was the brainchild of Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho. The initial permit was submitted in 1998, and construction began in 2010. Lotte invested a total of 4 trillion won ($3.5 billion) into the project.

“We will strive to become a global landmark by giving our best effort to making the site safe so that visitors and tourists can enjoy the facilities with ease of mind,” said Park Hyun-chul, a senior managing director at the company.

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