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September 13, 2019

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Yuyuan Road from history to the future

THE city’s century-old Yuyuan Road and its surrounding area are to be transformed by two urban renewal projects.

The former Printemps Department Store on Dingxi Road, which closed in April, will become a high-tech complex featuring artificial intelligence companies, exhibitions and applications.

In the other project, the former dormitory buildings of the Shanghai Workers College of Medical Science will be preserved and house innovative stores, small restaurants and art exhibitions.

The state-owned Joinval Trade Group signed a strategic agreement with a joint venture established by the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, and Creater Industrial Co, the firm in charge of revamping the area, to redevelop the former shopping mall.

Yuyuan Road — which dates back to 1911 — runs through the districts of Changning and Jing’an. In recent decades it has been shortened to its current 800 meters.

It features well-preserved historical villas once home to big names such as missile and space scientist Qian Xuesen, writer, translator and scholar Shi Zhecun and New Zealand-born writer Rewi Alley, who came to Shanghai in 1927 and was later involved in China’s revolution and reconstruction.

The future high-tech complex, named “AI engine,” will gather top AI companies and startups on Dingxi Road, off Yuyuan Road. The area will become the eastern hub of the Hongqiao Intelligent Valley, a key technology base planned by the Changning government.

The Changning branch of the Printemps Department Store opened in 2004 and was once a popular shopping destination. But in the face of online shopping, it shut on April 15 after its lease expired. 

In the other project, the Yu Jian complex developed from decrepit dormitories of the former college are expected to become a new attraction on Yuyuan Road.

As part of the project, the Yuyuan Public Market has opened where residents can buy traditional Shanghai breakfast foods such as youtiao (fried dough stick), dabing (flat bread) and soybean milk as well as get keys cut or broken umbrellas fixed. Four nearby buildings will be renovated for retail and cultural exhibitions.


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