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Land sale has Omoromachi residents still sputtering

Date Posted: 2008-04-11

Naha City’s weekend meeting to placate Omoromachi residents angry over the sale of its land earmarked for a new city hall failed to garner support.

Residents of the fast-growing district are unhappy that Naha City decided not to construct a new city hall, instead selling the property to a consortium of private companies including Daiwa Housing, Orix Real Estate and Daikyo. Angry residents don’t want more residential construction in the upscale area, and charge the city with devaluing their property by selling too cheap.

City officials, responding to criticism it hadn’t adequately explained its financial woes that led to abandoning its plans to build the new government offices, called the meeting to calm the Omoromachi residents. “We are not the ones to tell residents about building new apartments,” a staffer explained. “It’s the business for these consortium companies.”

Consortium companies further angered the crowd gathered to listen to the city’s explanations after they asked the media to leave the forum. “Why?” asked residents, who insisted “the mass media should stay.” The consortium companies couldn’t explain their building visions to the residents, leading Naha City officials to make a promise to “listen and coordinate. That is all Naha City can do.”

Residents charged “Naha City has promised to coordinate between us and the vendors and union companies, but they haven’t yet.” The city contends “Explanations of new apartment buildings construction should be done by the private companies, and not Naha City offices.” A city spokesman promised to “coordinate between the consortium and residents, and if the residents have opinions and consortium’s plans, we’ll listen and coordinate.”

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