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One of the sites, located in the posh Iran Zamin Street, in District 2, has been left to its own devices due to a dispute between the Oil Ministry, Tehran prosecutor’s office and the municipality.
One of the sites, located in the posh Iran Zamin Street, in District 2, has been left to its own devices due to a dispute between the Oil Ministry, Tehran prosecutor’s office and the municipality.

Tehran’s Three Urban Projects Going Nowhere

For one reason or another, three major projects in Tehran have been abandoned for years and their fates are still uncertain

Tehran’s Three Urban Projects Going Nowhere

The fate of three abandoned excavation sites has been the focus of Tehran City Council sessions lately, not least because of the risks they pose to residents of the sprawling capital.
One of the sites, located in the posh Iran Zamin Street, in District 2, has been left to its own devices due to a dispute between the Oil Ministry, Tehran prosecutor’s office and the municipality.
The judiciary has offered the site to the ministry as part compensation for the unpaid debts of Babak Zanjani, the jailed billionaire businessman who’s been sentenced to death for corruption. But the Oil Ministry says it is not interested.
Besides, the Tehran Municipality refuses to issue construction permits for the site, which has kept away potential investors.
A commercial center was planned to be built in the 313,000-square-meter land owned by Zanjani and excavations started in 2013. However, land subsidence in the site and the subsequent collapse of adjacent buildings as well as serious corruption charges against the businessman led to the cancellation of the project.
According to councilor Mohammad Mehdi Tondgouyan, Tehran Municipality has taken measures to secure the site and the surrounding area.
“The fate of the abandoned site should be determined soon to avoid further risks,” he told Mehr News Agency.
The other pit is a construction site for the second phase of Milad Project, which includes a world trade center, a five-star twin tower hotel, a commercial complex and a parking lot for 5,000 cars, which were to be constructed next to the iconic Milad Tower in northwest Tehran.
The TCC is opposed to the plan with many councilors arguing that Milad Tower’s distinguished view of the capital’s landscape would be marred by the proposed skyscrapers.
Despite the protests, the municipality managers started work on the project in 2013 before acquiring the necessary permits and later the project was suspended, presumably by the city council.
“The city council has said the big hole at the site be filled up while the case is being reviewed,” said Tondgouyan.
Another unfinished project, in Imam Khomeini Square in central Tehran, was initiated in 2014. The plan called for building a cultural center the exterior of which would resemble the old municipality building (called baladiyeh) that was knocked down in the 1960s.
The project was discussed several times in the council but never approved. Nonetheless, for hitherto unknown reasons, excavation started and was later abandoned.
“One of the problems was that it was not clear which subsidiary of the Tehran Municipality would own the building and what function it would serve,” said Tondgouyan.     
Besides, no parking lot was envisioned for the structure, which was a major problem because the area is permanently clogged and a metro station, one of the busiest subways in Tehran, is right in the center.
“The lack of parking space would obviously worsen the traffic,” the councilman argued. This construction site has been abandoned for over two years now.
An alternative project has been proposed and is being reviewed in the Article 5 Commission of the TCC.
Councilors have approved the general plan and are discussing the details.

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