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For the first time in more than seven years, major businesses will conclude long-term land leases to construct new buildings in the controversial Tokyo Bay waterfront development area, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Wednesday.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and a consortium of TOC Co. — the nation’s largest building leasing firm for the wholesale and retail industry — Mori Building Development Co. and Sanwa Bank will separately build two business complexes in a 3.4 hectare district near the International Exhibition Center Station on the man-made island.

Matsushita and the consortium were selected through bidding in which five parties applied to develop the three-block district. This is in sharp contrast to 1990 when 77 businesses applied to develop 18 blocks and 14 were selected.

The metro government had suspended bidding on the controversial project after the bubble economy imploded in 1991 and land values plummeted. According to the government, Matsushita will construct a building by April 2001 that will contain a technology exhibit center, guest hall and showcase rooms.

The consortium will build a 17.1 billion yen office complex by September 2002. The 17-floor twin tower will include one basement level, the metro government said. “Despite the current severe economic situation, excellent and strongly motivated projects have been presented,” said Tamito Matsui, the official in charge of land-lease bidding. “We think they will have a positive influence on bidding in the remaining areas.”

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