Sanzhi Pod City was built in 1978 near Tamsui, not too far from Taipai on the northern coast of Taiwan. It was marketed towards American soldiers stationed in nearby East Asian countries and wealthy Taiwanese who would buy the properties as second homes. The soldiers would find it a home away from home, a futuristic haven, very much similar to the designs for Tomorrowland and It’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow as envisaged by Walt Disney in his theme parks and before that, at the New York World Fair. The buildings were designed to resemble Futuro houses and were constructed by the Hung Kuo Group. They’ve come to be known as the Sanzhi UFO houses. They were equipped with a number of modern conveniences and technologies still strange to Taiwan. It was very much a precursor for what the country would soon become and perhaps, the designers were aware of this. However, it was the country’s traditional beliefs that were to be the project’s undoing.
In 1980, the project was abandoned for financial reasons due to a major loss in investment over a number of car accidents during construction which were said to have been caused by the unlucky act of bisecting the Chinese dragon sculpture located near the resort gates for widening the road to the buildings. Other superstitions said the resort was built on an ancient burial ground and a number of alleged sightings of ghosts prompted many to believe the resort had actually been abandoned because it was haunted. Rumours surfaced that 20,000 skeletal remains were found on the site, supposedly the remains of 17th century Dutch soldiers.
In 1989, the president of a local beer company took over the site with a view to completing the project however it was soon realised that the original designs were not as structurally sound as previously thought. The concrete structures with fiber-reinforced plastic coverings were deemed an earthquake risk an area prone to seismic activity. The Sanzhi Pod City project was once again abandoned.
The planned resort became a ghost town, abandoned and left decaying with a widely held fear among locals that should the area be disturbed again, the spirits which plagued the original development would return. As a result, developers interested in what is prime real estate near Taipai were warned off by locals and the government eventually had to intervene to do something with the Sanzhi area.
For years, debate raged over what to do with the famous Sanzhi UFO houses of the future with many calls for some of the buildings to be retained as a museum however in 2008, they were all destroyed making way for a resort and water park. Many photos and videos remain however as the site was popular amongst urban explorers before its demolition.