Mandalay mayor mulls prohibited building’s fate

Mandalay mayor U Aung Maung says he may force changes at a construction site near his office that contravenes zoning rules located.

The Saittara Mahi housing development on Mandalay’s 26th Street, between 73rd and 74th is set to be taller than is allowed for projects near Mandalay’s palace, but U Aung Maung said he was unaware of the project – which is about two blocks from his office – until work began at the site in the last few weeks.

“Constructing tall buildings near the royal palace, a representation of our ancient heritage, is prohibited,” he said. “But I cannot make a decision [on what to do] alone.”

U Aung Maung, who oversees Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC), added he would announce a decision shortly.

The mayor made the comments at a meeting with Archaeology Department officials, private sector representatives and official caretakers of the palace. Mandalay’s palace is in the centre of the city, with walls measuring Much of the land within the palace walls is controlled by the military and off-limits to visitors, though a portion of the largely rebuilt palace is open to tours.

The proposed site is two blocks from the headquarters of MCDC, which is located on 26th Street between 71st and 72nd Streets.

U Myo Aung, head of MCDC Building and Warehouse department, said the former military government restricted buildings near the moat to four storeys. But because a storey was not defined, the civil government restricted heights to 46 feet.

Exceptions were made for buildings like the Sedona Hotel that were located 100 feet from the street, he added.

“There are only one or two buildings over 46 feet around the palace,” he said. “We no longer allow tall buildings to preserve our cultural heritage.”

The Saittara Mahi housing project is planned to comprise 13 buildings, including six condominiums, five apartment buildings for government officials, one show room and one administration building. The development is to replace 60-year-old housing for civil servants by the end of 2015, according to Human Settlement and Housing Development department director Daw Aye Aye Myint.

Officials had notified the regional government, she said, but added an apology that there had been a delay in information filtering down to Mandalay City Development Committee.

“As Mandalay is a precious cultural city, I understand it is our duty to value and preserve our heritage,” she said. “At the same time we need to improve it as well.”

Daw Aye Aye Myint said she asked MCDC officials to propose any changes as soon as possible to minimise disruption to the project.

The apartments are to be 52 percent owned by the Human Settlement and Housing Development department, and 48pc by private companies. Companies including Myanmar Mandalay, United Pacific, New Innovation, New Starlight y and MGW all won parts of the tender to develop the project.


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