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October 28, 2009

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New firm steers Bund face-lift

THE Huangpu District government in Shanghai is expected to set up a company today that will manage development of the Bund financial area as part of its effort to attract financial institutions to set up offices there.

The new company, Shanghai Bund Investment (Group) Co, will construct office buildings in the southern Bund area totaling up to 1.8 million square meters by 2020, company officials said yesterday.

Meanwhile, more than 40 historical buildings in the Bund area will also be upgraded to accommodate financial institutions.

"The establishment of the company means the development of the Bund financial area is being fast-tracked," said Zhou Haiying, board chairman of the newly launched company.

Shanghai Bund Investment will be an investment arm under the Huangpu government.

The Bund is striving to revitalize its past allure to bolster the city's ambitious plan to become an international financial hub.

"The Bund is most in need of high-quality office buildings to attract financial institutions," Zhou said.

The company, with a registered capital of 1.01 billion yuan (US$146 million), will be responsible for removing old neighborhoods and upgrading historical buildings in the 260-hectare so-called Bund financial cluster area.

Divided by Xinkaihe Road, the southern stretch of Bund financial street is full of dilapidated buildings and neighborhoods while the historical buildings along the waterfront now mainly host government organizations and public institutions.

According to the government plan, old buildings in the area will be razed in preparation for the development of new offices totaling 1.5 million to 1.8 million square meters.

Development costs may reach 75 billion yuan to 90 billion yuan based on a price of 50,000 yuan per square meter, Zhou said.

Shanghai Bund Investment is set to sign agreements today with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Development Bank to gain a combined credit line of 20 billion yuan.


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