Swire Properties is pleased to announce today that it will form a joint venture management company with Shanghai Jing’an Real Estate (Group) Co., Ltd. (“Jing’an Real Estate Group”) to collaborate in the revitalisation of Shanghai’s Zhangyuan district. Together, the two companies aim to reposition and transform Zhangyuan into a unique international cultural and commercial landmark in the heart of the city.
The milestone was announced today after the two companies signed an agreement to proceed with the project. With a total site area of over 40,000 sqm, Zhangyuan sits on four land parcels in the core area of Nanjing Road West, currently owned by Shanghai Jing’an Urban Renewal Construction Development Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Jing’an Real Estate Group. The area, comprising 43 shikumen blocks of around 170 historic buildings of 28 different styles, is the largest, best-preserved and most diverse shikumen compound in Shanghai. It presents a wide variety of architectural styles, from garden villas with Western elements to shikumen with traditional Chinese interiors. The area provides a valuable snapshot of Shanghai’s rich architectural past and has become known as the “Best Garden in Shanghai”.
The two companies aim to revitalise Zhangyuan into a vibrant lifestyle hub by fully preserving and restoring the shikumen houses and making full use of the underground area. With an expected gross floor area (above ground) of approximately 60,000 sqm, the urban revitalisation project will create a world-class cultural innovation venue, high-end office spaces, unique residential apartments, a boutique hotel and a wide variety of exciting retail and dining options. The underground area of more than 70,000 sqm will connect to three Metro lines (2, 12 and 13) at Nanjing Road West station and enjoy seamless access to nearby communities.
Swire Properties and Jing’an Real Estate Group will hold a 60% and 40% interest respectively in the joint venture company set up to manage and operate the project. This project not only gives Swire Properties a unique opportunity to participate in the urban regeneration and revitalisation of historical architecture in Jing’an District, but also testifies to the Company’s long-term commitment to the development of Shanghai.
Shi Yunlun, Chairman of Shanghai Jing’an Real Estate (Group) Co., Ltd, said: “As the first protective urban regeneration project undertaken in Shanghai by Jing’an Real Estate Group, Zhangyuan is a good example of urban governance through the revitalisation and regeneration of historic districts. The Group already has extensive experience in the protection and rejuvenation of historic buildings. This project will leverage Swire Properties’ expertise in commercial planning, hotel management, property leasing and management, making full use of its commercial property management experience. I am confident that the Zhangyuan rejuvenation project will create a new landmark for Jing’an District that blends the old with the new and combines East with West. By effectively preserving and restoring the original cultural fabric of the shikumen architecture we can reposition Zhangyuan at the heart of a new era for Shanghai.”
“Shanghai has always been a very special city for the Swire group. This is where Swire began its China story 155 years ago and is also the first city where Swire Properties established a business presence in the mid-1990s. As a key participant in the cosmopolitan Nanjing Road West business circle, we are delighted to have this unique opportunity to partner with Jing’an Real Estate Group to take part in the long term development of Jing’an District through taking up a management role,” said Tim Blackburn, Chief Executive Officer, Chinese Mainland of Swire Properties. “Swire Properties is very aware of the profound historical significance of Zhangyuan to the city of Shanghai and its people. We will bring all our experience, accumulated from previous urban regeneration projects, to this partnership in order to rejuvenate Zhangyuan and celebrate its cultural and historical significance.”
Zhangyuan dates back to 1872 when a British merchant bought a plot of farmland and built garden villas in the area. In 1882, it came under the ownership of Chinese entrepreneur Zhang Shuhe, who expanded it and made it into a modern public gathering spot. From the time it opened to the public in 1885 up to the early 20th century, Zhangyuan was regarded as the best-known spot for entertainment activities and cultural diversions in Shanghai. It was where Shanghai’s first entertainment park opened, becoming a popular location for exhibitions, Chinese opera, magic shows, leisure activities, gatherings, speeches, socialising and dining.