I wrote about North Korea’s unsettling hotel, the Ryugong, in April. Marmot now has updated news on the future of the structure: the taxpayers of the ROK city of Incheon are going to pay US$1 billion to repair the structure.
How did poor Incheon denizens get stuck with this? Their mayor headed off to North Korea to make a co-hosting bid with Pyongyang for the 2013 Asian Games. I guess he got his agreement, but he did also got stuck with one hell of a bar tab.
Check out Marmot for the full story.
UPDATE: Great comment at the Marmot by Cowboy Architect Kor, reprinted here:
As an Architect I can tell you that most likely the building is not structural sound. In order to building a 1,100 foot tall structure the concrete must develop very high compressive strengths. This requires very high tech concrete. Oridnary gravel, sand, cement, and water can’t do it. In addition the building has stood unoccupied and not maintained for almost 15 years. Rain, snow, freezing weather have all done damage.
My guess is, Inchoen is making promises just get get Pyongyang’s cooperation. It fascinated me what South Korea will do to prevent the collapse of a building and regime. They call it the Unification Minister, but in reality it’s all about how to prevent it. S. Korea saw what happened to Germany and knows the Korean ecomony could not handle it.
The hotel is a classic metaphor for the entire county of NK and the promise to fix it is a classic metaphor for the south attitude.