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April 23, 2018

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Time to move after 116 years in situ

A 116-year-old townhouse block in downtown — one of the oldest remaining lane-style residential buildings in the city — will be shifted to give way to the construction of a tunnel beneath Huangpu River.

The terraced complex, comprising six units, on 104 Jiangpu road in Yangpu District will both be moved a few meters eastward and renovated, the local government announced over the weekend.

The site of the house near Yangpu’s waterfront will then be dug out for the construction of the Jiangpu Road Tunnel, which will be the 17th beneath Huangpu River, to stretch 2.28 kilometers and connect Yangpu and the Pudong New Area.

“Though the townhouse is not a listed historic site under protection status, the authority decided to protect it due to its historic and artistic values,” said an official with the district’s house management bureau.

An adjacent seven-story residential building will also be torn down due to the tunnel construction, and the townhouse block will be shifted to the site where that building stands now, the official added.

The 43 households of residents living at Number 104 were relocated by February with subsidies from the government. The 44 households in the seven-story building have also applied to be relocated, according to the bureau.

Workers have started preparation works in both buildings over the weekend for the demolishing and shift project. Detailed plans and schedule has yet to be released.

The three-story townhouse block covering 2,100 square meters was built in 1902 by the Japanese firm Mitsui Bussan Kaisha to accommodate its senior clerks.

The firm bought the Yujin textile plant from renowned Chinese entrepreneur Huang Zuoqing and built the terrace block on Jiangpu Road in the English terrace style, according to the district’s cultural heritage authority. All the other English terrace style houses have been demolished and replaced by commercial residential communities.

The wood and brick structure has been well preserved with the original lamps, wooden floors, stairs and fireplaces all preserved. The building is adorned with decorative pillars and iron handrails.

Walnut doors in some large sitting rooms on the ground floor divide the room into two separate spaces. A line of air intake ports were installed on the ground floor to prevent damp.

Many people have come to visit the building recently despite it being strewn with rubbish and abandoned furniture, said Niu Chengxi, a security guard living on the ground floor of the building.

“I walk along the house every day but never thought it was a century-old historic structure,” said a nearby resident surnamed Tang. “I seldom came here before due to the once poor living environment,” she added. The rooms have been divided into smaller quarters with shared bathrooms and kitchens.

The housing authority said they will renovate the structure and preserve the building after its relocation, though its future usage has yet to be decided.


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