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Hyundai’s skyscraper faces hurdle over flight safety

The construction of Hyundai Motor’s 596-meter Global Business Center in southern Seoul has run into a new problem with the Ministry of National Defense raising safety concerns.

Talks between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Defense Ministry over whether to conduct flight safety and radio wave evaluations of the 105-story building took place earlier this week, the government said Thursday.

The latest discussion was arranged by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to address concerns raised by the Defense Ministry last month.

“The capital of Seoul is the core of national defense. Examination of the impact the 105-floor building will have on air combat and radar masking is needed,” said a post on the Land Ministry’s website.


A bird’s-eye view of Hyundai Global Business Center (Hyundai Motor)
A bird’s-eye view of Hyundai Global Business Center (Hyundai Motor)

Last month, the Land Ministry hosted a meeting to screen the use of land formerly held by Korea Electric Power Corp., which Hyundai bought to build the Global Business Center.

Hyundai Motor bought the 560,611-square-meter plot of land for 10.5 trillion won ($9.9 billion) in 2014 to construct the building in Samseong-dong by 2022.

Previously, it took 30 years for Lotte Group to build the 555-meter high Lotte World Tower due to concerns over national security and public safety.

The site of the Global Business Center, which will be a neighbor to Lotte World Tower, is not categorized as an aircraft safety zone by law.

“There are radar sites and Army units near Seoul, so we have decided there is a need to review the impact the new building has on radio wave signals,“ an official from the Air Force told reporters under the customary condition of anonymity.

The latest safety concern raised by the Defense Ministry could push back construction of the Global Business Center, which was widely expected to start in the first half of this year.

Seoul said it has discussed the land use with the Air Force, and deemed additional discussion with the Defense Ministry was not necessary, but added it would do so if needed.

“The South Korean Air Force will review aircraft safety and radar masking assessments. It will take about six weeks to settle discussions between the Ministry of Defense and Seoul City Government. If everything goes as scheduled, construction can begin in the first half of this year,” said Seoul City Government.

By Kim Bo-gyung (