From left: HDC Hyundai Development Co. CEO Yoo Byung-kyu, HDC Group Chairman Chung Mong-gyu, HDC Hyundai Development Co. CEO Ha Won-ki speaks during a press conference held in Seoul, Wed)nesday. (Yonhap
HDC Group Chairman Chung Mong-gyu said Wednesday that HDC Hyundai Development Co. would demolish and rebuild an apartment complex in Gwangju that claimed nine lives in January from a fatal collapse caused by loose safety.
“Following the request of residents who were expected to move in to the apartment complex in Gwangju, HDC Hyundai Development Co. decided to entirely demolish all of eight buildings of the complex and rebuild I-Park from scratch,” said Chung during a press conference held in Seoul on Wednesday.
I-Park is HDC Hyundai Development Co.’s major apartment brand that has a presence across the country. In the January accident, the floor slabs and exterior walls of a 39-story apartment building of Hwajung I-Park in Hwajung-dong, Gwangju, crumbled during construction. Residents for a total of 847 households were expected to move in from Nov. 30.
As residents’ anxiety and the public distrust in the builder continued to grow, the company has also been seeking ways to soothe many angry hearts, the chairman said.
“We believed that the only way to resolve public worries and distrust was to completely demolish the buildings and start from scratch -- this is also the fastest way to recover public trust.”
Chung stepped down from the chairman post of HDC Group’s construction and engineering affiliate HDC Hyundai Development Co. soon after the accident sparked nationwide criticisms on its loose safety measures and poor practices, as the January accident occurred only a few months after another critical accident happened in the same city.
Though leaving the chairman title behind, Chung still controls the group as the major stakeholder. He owns a 33.68 percent stake in HDC Holdings Co., which controls HDC Hyundai Development Co. as well as the group‘s chemical and retail affiliates.
HDC’s renewed plan may cost some additional 200 billion won ($150 million) as the company has to rebuild all eight buildings and provide subsidies for residents for the construction delay. The entire construction process might take up to 70 months, it added.
In February, the company had tapped an outside safety expert as its new chief safety officer, as part of safety improvement efforts.
By Kim Da-sol (email@example.com