Monday, October 7, 2013

[Tour] Visiting Daegu Technopolis

Located in Dalseong County and scheduled for completion by the end of this year, Daegu Technopolis will provide a new town for a population of 50,000 and foster the growth of local science and technology. It is already home to four major institutes of research, including the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), and two companies.

Marking the entry point of Daegu Technopolis is the spacious and open Techno Boulevard linking far into Mt. Biseulsan. On its left side is a residential district and on its right is an industrial cluster. The high scaffolds here and there about the area indicate that the area is still busily under development.
Since the commencement of construction in December 2008, the area of Daegu Technopolis has undergone a major transformation over the last five years. Few traces of the almost wild prairie that once existed in the shadow of the Mt. Biseulsan can be found today.

The infrastructure of Daegu Technopolis, including roads, waterworks and sewage facilities, and a waste water treatment facility, is to be completed by the end of this year. Ninety-five percent of all the planned works have been completed so far, except for those on the site of the Yonghwa Buddhist Temple and the KEPCO electric district. The works on these sites have been delayed due to civil complaints and disputes over compensation and will be brought to an end next year.

As the majority of the lots assigned to research institutes (eight blocks and 725,982m in total area) are located in steep zones, the lots other than the five blocks (293,518m in total area) assigned to Kyungpook National University are not likely to be rented any time soon. A review will thus continue regarding changing the use and functions of these lots until late next year so as to make these areas more appealing to potential tenants.

On the other hand, 95 percent of all the industrial lots (except for the 398,640m reserved for foreign investing companies) have been bought or rented by 84 companies. Eleven of these companies are currently constructing their facilities in the area, while two companies (Hyundai IHL and Nakamura Tome Precision Manufacturing) are already operating their plants here.

Of the 20 blocks making up the collective housing district, 16 blocks have already been sold or rented. Six companies have secured licenses to erect apartment buildings on these lots, with three of them having already commenced construction works.

Although it is still under development, Daegu Technopolis is already home to leading institutes of science and technology, including DGIST, the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Research Division of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Center (ETRI), the Daegu Division of the Korea Institute for Industrial Technology (KITECH), and the Daegu National Science Museum. The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) is also building its facilities in the area.

In response to the increasing level of vitality that characterized the area even before its completion, the City of Daegu and the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone Authority (DGFEZA) are accelerating their efforts to consolidate Daegu Technopolis.

These efforts include the Daegu Technopolis Development Council meetings that were held in February 2012 and April 2013 to hear tenants’ complaints and suggestions and strengthen their network of cooperation. The authorities have also created new routes for public transportation (Buses 8 and 8-1 serving the Dalseong area), in addition to developing a new road (linking the Hyeonpung Interchange to Technopolis, scheduled for completion by the end of this year) and a new entry passageway (linking the Botanical Garden and the Technopolis, scheduled for completion in August 2014).

The authorities intend to hold additional Development Council meetings in the future, specifically catering to businesses and companies contemplating tenancy in Daegu Technopolis. The authorities will also establish an effective system of academic-industrial collaboration and implement policy measures for improving the living and working conditions in the area.

With the infrastructure completed by the end of this year, and the apartments distributed and the new entry passageway completed in the summer of 2014, various amenities will naturally spring up in the area, including commercial, financial, and medical facilities, completing its transformation into a new town.

With a hundred or so companies starting their operations by 2015, Daegu Technopolis will position itself as one of the newest and most attractive new towns (population of 50,000) and will create 84,000 more jobs, generating an additional KRW 3.5 trillion for the local economy and creating KRW 6.4 trillion in values added in total.

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