N. Gantumur: Redevelopment of Ulaanbaatar and the first metro in Mongolia are on their way


The Deputy Head of Roads, Transportation and Infrastructure Department of the Office of the Ulaanbaatar Governor, N.Gantumur, gave an interview about the construction of residential districts and the metro project.

-So far, how is the progress of the ger district redevelopment project?

-Providing comfortable homes for ger district residents became the main objective of 2012. This plan has commenced into its second year under the auspices of the Chairman of the City Council. The project was very efficient last year and currently, 20 locations for the housing projects have been selected.  Twelve locations were selected for redevelopment in the first phase, and additional locations were selected for the second phase. These include: 5th khoroo of Songinokhairkhan District, Tolgoit, Denjiin Myanga and Amgalan.

-Is there any location where construction has already started? When will the projects be completed?

-The first of the apartments will be ready by autumn. The construction has already started in Khailaast, as well as the residential areas around 12th khoroo of Amagalan District and the University of Law Enforcement. The ground work for the housing around the building material shops in Zuun Ail have finished. They will be completed within the year.

The construction work of Heera Construction is progressing smoothly. Not only have the foundations been laid but also the first two floors are finished in six places in total.

-What will be the price of apartments per square meter?

-The ger district residents who vacated their homes for the housing project will reside in the first set of apartments and the rest will be sold to private companies. Apartments will be sold at current market value. The government doesn’t have the right to exact prices. Furthermore, our national companies need to participate actively in this housing project, or our nation will lose all profit and possession to foreign construction companies. This increases the risk of losing economic stability in the country.

This is the era where those with money can buy their needs and state their thoughts. Hence, we need to primarily involve national companies in this project and support them. What we need today is to build more factories for building materials and utilize them efficiently with the help of the government.

-When will the construction for City Hall begin?

-The blueprints and plans are being made. The latest presidential decree stated that Khangarid Palace will be privatized and rented to state agencies. Therefore, this project needs to be hastened.

-Isn’t it illegal to demand rent for it after privatization? Can’t the government utilize it under its ownership?

-This way is more profitable. If it’s under state ownership, it’s not profitable at all.

-When will Khangarid Palace be privatized?

-It will be auctioned soon. The profit will be used for City Hall which will be built in the Building Material Center in 21th khoroo. It is expected to be ready by 2015.

-Will auto markets be relocated out of the city?

-Rather than relocating small auto markets, we would like to build large auto sales and service centers on the outskirts of the city to meet standards. For starters, orders to construct large auto markets out of city boundaries were given by the Mayor. Currently, the relocation of 7,000 open parking lots and 22 open auto market centers to locations on the outskirts of the city are in progress.

For the second phase, 14 auto market centers will be built on the outskirts of the city. They will all become international trade centers for companies to market and promote their cars in trade fairs, as all brands of cars are imported to Mongolia. Furthermore, sales of car parts will be organized on a 130 hectare area. The city’s traffic congestion rate is expected to drop  by around 40 percent as there will not be any auto markets in the city.

Every type of product and sale needs to be centralized in the sales and service centers. If there are many sections, such as food services, at the auto center, people will no longer need to crowd the city. For instance, if they sell products necessary for Tsagaan Sar, people from the provincial areas will not have to come all the way to Ulaanbaatar for holiday preparations, which increases the traffic rate.

Twenty trucks, full of dairy products from Chuluut soum of Arkhangai Province were transported to the city. It will be much better if we can sell those dairy products at a market located at Checkpoint 22. Approximately 10 trade fairs for only dairy products for Tsagaan Sar are being organized in the city, which contributes to traffic rates immensely. Hence, food products that meet safety standards will be transported to Checkpoint 22.

-Don’t you think that it’s difficult for city residents to travel to these centers located on the outskirts of the city?

-More public transportation routes will be created. Approximately 14 thousand open car parks will be relocated before Naadam. We are planning to start trade fairs in 14 locations after Naadam and build auto parts markets next year. Therefore, there will not be any traffic issues.

There is a streetscape showing Ulaanbaatar’s expansion in the western region around Songinokhairkhan District. Not only City Hall but market centers will be built in Songinokhairkhan.

-Will big markets such as Narantuul be relocated?

-It will go by the law. It is not right to talk about relocation and demolition as there are thousands of lives and people’s money behind these issues. Hence, there will be many adversities.

We’re planning to build an additional four large shopping centers next to Narantuul Market and spread retailers there. Also, a residential district for 5,000 households will be built there, which will commence in spring. The general layouts have already been made, and all that’s left is the final approval. It’s better to have comfortable accommodations and a shopping center that meets the resident’s needs instead of Narantuul Market.

-The Governor of Ulaanbaatar stopped some 80 unauthorized constructions. Are there any companies that are still continuing their operations?

-We checked all unauthorized buildings and eradicated all violations. Nevertheless, I’m in charge of infrastructure, so I’m not completely sure on the matter. The Urban Planning Department is in charge of construction work. However, the above stated buildings have no infrastructural issues.

Overall, we authorize the construction of buildings that are up to 16-stories tall. As for those with  more than 16 floors, they are authorized by the ministry, not by the Urban Planning, Information and Research Center. The city should actually be in charge of construction regardless of its number of floors.

-There are talks of demolishing the buildings on Tourist Street. What’s the verdict on the matter?

-There are some lawsuits. The city proposed demolishing and reconstructing some buildings. However, many of the residents have already invested and renovated them. These residents are demanding that the city payback their money if the buildings are to be demolished. The city, on the other hand, can’t meet their demands, therefore, this issue can only be resolved after providing them with compensation.

-How is the metro project advancing?

-The construction will begin in 2016. We will take a 1.5 billion USD loan to build the metro project. The Japanese government already agreed to issue 600 million USD, 700 million USD will be from other foreign sources, and the remaining 200 million USD will be lent by the private sector. The government will allocate three billion MNT from the state budget for the metro project this year. This fund will be used for geological research and detailed assessments, and construction of factories that will produce materials for the project.  All financial issues will be settled by 2016 and the construction will begin then, and it be completed by 2020.

A 16.6 km long track will be built, of which, 6.6 km will run underground. The underground track will begin from Pharmacy-25 to the Eastern Intersection.

-The city’s population is increasing rapidly. What is the current city population?

-Approximately 300 thousand new residents have just settled. The population increases every year.

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