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December 15, 2010

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Home » Metro » Environment

Plan to renovate slum at Bund

ENGINEERS are investigating whether they can save a sinking 100-year-old building near the Bund, after residents complained that they were living in a dangerous slum.

"We are planning to uplift the building's sunken foundations from the outside to help it stand straight again," said a manager surnamed Zhang with property management company Duanzheng Co.

Zhang expected the project would be a great challenge, and said no decision had yet been taken as engineers had to determine its feasibility.

It is feared that renovations might destroy the decrepit structure.

Over the past few months, engineers had drawn up proposals for the four-storey building on Zhongshan Road E2, but these were vetoed due to concerns about the building.

"The final plan will come out in the beginning of next year, otherwise we will tear the building down and rebuild another one for its residents," said Zhang.

Gangsi Building was built in 1910 to serve as dormitories for workers from a British ship company.

Later, Shanghai locals moved in, and now around 200 residents - mainly elderly people - live in 73 households there.

But the building is now suffering from serious subsidence, with noticeable tilting and wide cracks spreading along its walls.

Residents said their complaints fell on deaf ears until media reports about "slum conditions" on the doorstep of the wealth and glamor of the Bund brought action.

While householders yesterday expressed relief that work may soon begin to improve the building, many were sceptical that this may just be another empty talk from the property management company.

Recent temporary repairs have included fitting wooden supports to bolster the sinking building.

"They made similar promises before, saying the old building will be repaired after the World Expo, but repairs only meant temporary wooden supports," said a 60-year-old resident surnamed Liu.

"Now I don't buy their words until I see them taking some action."

Another resident, surnamed Pang, asked why, since Duanzheng Co was working on the project, it never asked residents for their opinions.

Duanzheng Co manager Zhang said the company did not inform residents as the company didn't want to disappoint them should provisional plans not proceed. He promised they would contact residents once these were finalized.


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