The Jamsil Baseball Stadium hosts a game between Taiwan and South Korea. The stadium hosted the baseball events during the 1988 games and is close to the main Olympic stadium. (Photo/CNA)
The Seoul Olympic Stadium, the venue for the 1988 Olympics, has suffered a five-year deficit of 52.3 billion Korean won (US$46.5 million), forcing the city's government to consider selling it to Chinese investors to redevelop the venue, our sister newspaper Want Daily reports.
The proposed move triggered complaints from a ruling party legislator, saying such a move would be badly received by the public. Seoul officials responded by saying it is a purely economic issue and there is no need to invoke nationalist sentiment, the report said.
The Seoul-based Korea Joongang Ilbo reported this week that the city's government is considering selling land in the sports complex to Chinese investors, but plans to do so may face many obstacles.
An official said the plan has faced strong opposition from athletics circles and it will not be easy to put the plan into action without offending local sensibilities. "The city government must provide a specific development plan before they decide to sell off the areas to foreigners," said Kim Yong-seok, a member of the Seoul Metropolitan Council.
Insiders said investors want to purchase the land to build hotels catering to Chinese tourists, while a former mayor of the city believes the government should develop the site into a hotel and conference center without foreign influence. Korean businesses have mostly given up on plans to develop the complex because of the country's stagnant real estate market.
Mayor Park Won-soon will visit Beijing and Shanghai in late April to attract investors, according to confirmed reports by the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation.
The city so far has no concrete plans to sell the sports complex, although it is seeking various proposals to develop the redevelop the district, reports Global Times, a newspaper published by People's Daily.