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Food street's final order

ALL snack shops on the east section of Shanghai's Wujiang Road are to be shut by the end of this year and replaced with skyscrapers.

The famous snack street will become home to up-market shopping malls, according to a plan released by the Jing'an District government.

Between Shimen Yi Road in the west and Qinghai Road in the east, the street is part of a relocation program for the Dazhongli area, where HKR International Ltd and Swire Properties Ltd will join to build two tall commercial buildings and three hotels.

The Dazhongli area has been designated for high-end commercial buildings, according to the plan.

The 500-meter-long street is divided into two sections, east and west, by Shimen Yi Road.

The west section of the street reopened last June after two years of renovation with a selection of cafes, restaurants and boutiques on both sides of the pedestrian area.

Relocation work on the street's east section began in the last four months of last year, officials said.

The district authority gave notice to stores last September, asking them to move quickly as they could, according to a store worker in the street.

The Xiaoyang Fried Dumpling Shop and the Ruby Cake Shop on Wujiang Road have opened new shops in the west section.

But unlike these chain stores, most snack shops haven't found suitable or affordable locations nearby.

"I have to find another place to continue my business. So far I haven't found a suitable one. I also worried about how my business will go on in a new environment," said Xu Shouhua, a 42-year-old grocery owner.

The manager of a grilled fish store said his store was likely to close if he could not find a place with the proper rent and location.

The store has been popular with customers since its opening in 2006.

More than 10 snack vendors have already shut their restaurants.

The street has lost many customers during the week, although weekends and holidays were still busy, a security guard said.

Some visitors said they felt sorry about the demolition and that local culture was gradually being lost in the city's fast modernization.

"Wujiang Road not only has many kinds of Shanghai-flavor snacks, but also means a memory of Shanghai style to lots of locals," said Zhang Lei, a university student.

Some, however, support the renovation.

"To some extent, Wujiang Road is a window of Shanghai. So it is necessary to improve the environment," said a local resident surnamed Song.


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