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May 15, 2012

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High-profile Lujiazui financial zone to gain one-third more floor space

PUDONG'S Lujiazui financial area, often dubbed "the Wall Street of China," will see its office space increase by one-third and its geographical size expand by 2015, as the world continues to show intense interest to invest in the zone.

However, the planned expansion has sparked concerns about the strain on public services, especially transport.

The Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone will erect 45 new office buildings covering 3.5 square kilometers of floor area. The zone now has 200-plus buildings with about 10 square kilometers of floor space.

The Lujiazui financial zone, already crowded with glittering skyscrapers, will further exploit the riverfront's potential and also expand eastward to accommodate the growth.

"Lujiauzi, with complete banking, law and accounting services, has become a famous, world-class financial organization-concentrated area," said Shi Yinhua, deputy director of the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Administration. "Many companies told us they want to build their own office buildings and have their firm logos appearing in the Lujiazui area. But the limited space can't meet the demand."

The administration plans to enlarge the 1.7-square-kilometer core Lujiazui zone, extending it much farther east along Century Avenue. It has also removed the waterfront Shanghai Shipyard and other companies not related to finance and trade to make room for the financial companies and institutes.

The planned expansion is expected to burden the overcrowded Metro Line 2. That line's Lujiazui station is expected to see a 60 percent increase in peak hour passenger volume in 2014, according to a report issued by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Currently, the station has 25,000 passengers in the morning peak hours and a total of 120,000 passengers per day. The Metro operators said they could increase the line's capacity by various operational schemes, including shorter train intervals and traffic control.

The financial zone will also build more pedestrian facilities including riverfront platforms and public squares for the white-collar workers as part of the expansion.

Locals will be able to walk on an 8,000-square-meter waterfront promenade and enjoy performances in a riverfront public square that can accommodate 3,000 people.

"We must prevent the financial zone from becoming empty at night," Shi said.

Lots of white-collar workers leave Lujiazui for Puxi to have fun after work.


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