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March 11, 2011

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No return for popular bar area

Tongren Road, the former well-known street of bars, will not be making a comeback, -authorities said.

Instead, high-end stores, restaurants and studios are planned to feature along the road, between Nanjing Road W. and Yan'an Road M., which will open to the public by the end of this year, said a -government notice yesterday.

Such planning means the bar strip, quite popular among expats and foreign tourists, won't open again - one year after it was closed before the World Expo 2010.

According to the Jing'an District government, the Tongren Road area will be transformed into a high-end commercial block, with a hotel also being built. The whole renovation and reshaping process should be complete this year, as it has been listed one of the area's major projects.

Dong Xinguo, a senior engineer from a construction company responsible for the area's renovation, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that two international stores, Milan Station and Villa Grandis, have signed up to open stores on the first and second floor of a three-story building on the corner with Nanjing Road W. - they are expected to open before May 1 this year.

According to Dong, the building's construction was completed at the end of 2008, but was not put into use due to the effect of the global financial crisis.

He also said the southern part of Tongren Road, where bars and pubs once featured, will copy the building's operation and become an upmarket commercial area.

Before last year's Expo, the bar strip was closed down, mainly because it did not complement the image of neighboring Nanjing Road W. commercial area, government officials explained earlier.

Benjamin, also from France, said he supported the change. "This place was horrible. Any foreigners I knew avoided this place like the plague. So many prostitutes and beggars there."


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