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November 6, 2012

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Riverfront spot to be transformed into cultural and recreational area

SHANGHAI will preserve and renovate a series of old docks and factory buildings along the Huangpu River, converting them into attractions with cultural and recreational facilities next year, officials said yesterday.

Minsheng Road Dock, which was built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to handle grains and sugar, and the old workshop of Shanghai Shipyard, built around 1864, will be redeveloped, the river banks development office told the city's political advisors.

"The office will make it a top priority to revive the original look of the historic spots and then design new functions for them," an official with the office said.

Old tower cranes, rails and anchor piles will be kept within the green areas and public spaces, he said.

Ninety-six historic buildings remain along the river and 33 have been preserved, including a cotton factory, oil refinery and power plant. The former sites that were home to the earliest industries in the city have been turned into fashion centers and creativity parks.

The former Shanghai Cement Factory in Xuhui District and the surrounding area is being transformed into a cultural and entertainment complex named Dream Center.

The center is being jointly built by the city and the US-based film company DreamWorks Animation at a cost of 20 billion yuan (US$3.2 billion). It will include theaters, shops, restaurants, bars and hotels and will open in 2016.

A world-class animation studio will also be included in the center. It will co-produce "Kung Fu Panda 3," the third installment in the blockbuster series.

Apart from the historic spots, more public green spaces will also be built along waterfront areas in the next five years, officials said.

The second phase of Binjiang Forest Park in the Pudong New Area will start construction soon while land under the Nanpu and Yangpu bridges will be converted into public spaces for nearby residents.

Residents move out

Meanwhile, the first 20 households moved from their old homes on Luxiangyuan Road in Huangpu District yesterday, marking the beginning of the renovation of Shanghai's biggest area of dilapidated houses.

Adjacent to Yuyuan Garden and the Bund, Luxiangyuan area features some of the oldest houses in Shanghai. Before the relocation project, the building density in the area was more than 80 percent and in some extreme cases, a family of four lived in a room of 3 square meters.

The neighborhood boasts 5,056 households and 4,053 of them have accepted a compensation plan and agreed to move, according to the district's renovation headquarters.

More than 9,400 new houses in the suburbs have been built to compensate the residents in the neighborhood, which helped speed up the process, according to Zheng Songying, a director of the office.

Although most of the old residences in the 120,000-square-meter neighborhood will be demolished for new buildings, 300,000 square meters of buildings, including temples and shikumen (stone-gate) houses, will be preserved, authorities said.


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