TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After meeting with a construction company to negotiate the terms of the fate of his home, a Taipei man returned to his residence on Changan W Road to find it had already been demolished.
The man, surnamed Chang (張), who was the last holdout on an urban renewal project for the building he was living in, on the morning of Mar. 1 went to the Taipei Urban Regeneration Office to discuss the terms of the sale of his property. When he returned the location of his home at noon, he was shocked to find the entire building had been razed.
Chang had been unable to reach an agreement on the selling price of his home during his negotiations with the project's contractor, SWJ Construction Co (欣偉傑建設). He had been asking for NT$120 million (US$3.87 million) for his house on the top floor of a four story building, but the company was only willing to pay NT$30 million, according to Chang.
The firm claims that the property was appraised at NT$23 million, but after seven years of negotiations, 26 tenants had come to terms, with the exception of Chang, who they had coordinated with 80 times and were willing to raise the price to NT$30 million to finally close the deal, but Chang's number was too high for them to accept.
Despondent owner in front of remains of his demolished home (CNA photo).
After the negotiations fell through, Chang claims that the he was then hit by a scooter and had make a police report about the accident, which he contends was a delaying tactic used by the company to prevent him from getting home in time to stop the wrecking ball.
SWJ president Cheng Ko-shi (鄭可熙) claims that he had ordered his workers to dismantle the houses "around" Chang's on the lower three floors, but that his home on the top floor was "inadvertently damaged" in the process. He said they are willing to give him "reasonable compensation," but if his demands are too high, they will be forced to pursue the matter in court.
On Mar. 4, SWJ offered to pay the man NT$250,000 (US$8,000) in compensation for the surprise demolition, however Chang refused the offer. Chang said because of the way the company publicly chastised him over his selling price, threatened him with a lawsuit, and used the time he was meeting with company officials to tear down the building behind his back, he can never trust them again.