Lotte Group has gained approval to open the first part of its $3.3bn project in the Gangnam district of Seoul.
This finally puts a stop to the delays over safety concerns at the site that will ultimately include the tallest building in the country.
Lotte is due to open the three low-rise mall buildings during the latter part of this month, now that they have been granted permission from the Seoul government. Seoul Metropolitan Government has sent notification that the approval may be revoked if Lotte defaults on the promises they made relating to safety and prevention of traffic congestion.
The new announcement ends the stand-off between South Korea’s largest department store chain and the government department of the city. Lotte estimates a loss of around $85m in monthly sales since it applied for the opening of the malls during June. The government stated that permission was granted after the completion of an investigation into sinkholes close to the site was found to be of low relevance to safety.
The retail project, said to be equal to around 47 soccer fields, will cost Lotte around 3.5 trillion won. The landmark on the site will be its 555-meter, 123-storey Lotte World Tower, which should be completed by the close of 2016.
A six-star hotel will be placed within the tower, along with the highest observation deck globally.
The Lotte project is one of many major developments in this area. Hyundai Motor Co. is set to move its headquarters to the area, and is planning a hotel, auto theme park and convention center in the area.
3 OCTOBER 2014, South Korea
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