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Renovation begins for luxury business zone in historic villas

DOWNTOWN Luwan District will renovate a zone containing historic buildings into a luxury office and commercial area, district officials said yesterday.

The zone, consisting of more than 50 protected villas, mostly built in the 1920s and 1930s, has relocated all its residents, after 10 years of effort.

The villas are now being decorated and are expected to be put into use by the World Expo next year.

"The villas will complement the current shikumen business hubs," said Chen Yongliang, director of Luwan District Development and Reform Commission.

The district is famous for its Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang areas, where renovated shikumen buildings now house boutique shops and coffee chains.

Stretching along Sinan Road, the zone occupies more than 20,000 square meters of land. It will be used by small offices and facilities such as boutique hotels, bars and galleries.

Some overseas companies responsible for the design or construction of their country's Expo pavilions have signed agreements to move in and use the space, officials said.

The renovation is part of a move to increase the district's business capacity. Luwan District aims to add more than 1.5 million square meters of office and commercial space over the next five years.

About 94 percent of the current 3.2 million office buildings and commercial spaces are occupied in the district, officials said.

The district will also speed up the construction of several office projects, including a 33-story building above Metro Line 9's Dapuqiao Station.


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