Post: Thursday November 19, 2015
Major real estate developments in Tokyo leading up to the Olympics 2020.
Tokyo is currently facing a time of intensifying global intercity competition. Looking around the world, big cities such as London, Paris, and New York, the center of these cities are going to change greatly and be reborn by various redevelopment plans. In this global environment, various redevelopment projects are also in progress in many areas of central Tokyo. These redevelopments are linked to government-led programs such as the National Strategic Special Zone launched in 2013 and the Special Zone for Asian Headquarters launched in 2011 and are aimed at increasing the competitiveness of Tokyo as a cutting edge international city. In addition, holding the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will create further opportunity and motivation for redevelopment in Tokyo, and hence, central Tokyo will accomplish a remarkable change by about 2025.
Here are the major redevelopment plans and their prospects in Tokyo which are in progress or will be completed before and after 2020 Olympics.
Roppongi district, which is one of the major areas with business, commerce, and culture attracts many foreigners. The cityscape here has changed greatly due to redevelopment in the past 10 years. Some of the main changes include the construction of the landmarks such as Roppongi Hills, Izumi Garden Tower, Tokyo Midtown, and Ark Hills Sengokuyama Mori Tower. The district also overlaps with the Special Zone for Asian Headquarters and so government agencies and the private sector work together to enhance the city planning and development. A category 1 Urban Redevelopment Project in eastern Roppongi 3-chome is currently in progress, and the plan for Urban Redevelopment in western Roppongi 5-chome (Roppongi 5-chome, Minato-ku) will be decided by the end of the year.
Toranomon Redevelopment – A new international urban center
The completion of Toranomon Hills is regarded as the start of the redevelopment in the district. The newly opened section of Loop Road No.2 which currently runs through Toranomon and Shimbashi will be connected with the bay-side areas in 2016, enabling access to Tokyo Int’l Airport in 20 min. from Toranomon Hills. Increasing the accessibility will attract foreign business and increase tourism towards the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Redevelopment in Central Tokyo will be accelerated heading towards the Tokyo Olympics, and the plan for a “New International Urban Center” in the Toranomon district is one of its highlights. In the Toranomon district many landmark buildings and facilities will be reborn within the next 10 years. The major redevelopment projects in progress are reconstruction of Hotel Okura Tokyo Main building; construction of 2 high rise buildings for Toranomon Hospital and other facilities in Toranomon 2-Chome District; and construction of a high rise twin towers in the former location of Toranomon Pastoral Hotel.
The plan for constructing a new subway station is also in progress. The proposed location is between Kasumigaseki and Kamiyacho near Toranomon Hills and it aims at further improvement of the transportation access to every area in Tokyo.
Redeveloping Shinagawa - New train station and multipurpose city project underway
JR East has finally revealed on June 3, 2014 the much anticipated plan to open a new train station, the ‘New Shinagawa Station’. It is planned to open between the current Shinagawa and Tamachi stations for Keihin Tohoku Line and as the 30th station of Yamanote Line in the Olympic year 2020. The new station will make an easy connection to Metro Sengakuji station with direct access to Haneda airport and Narita airport; it will be the nearest JR station (2 min. ride) to Shinagawa Station which is slated to serve as a terminal for the maglev shinkansen train service to begin in 2027; it is close to Haneda Airport where more and more international flights will be arriving in. Opening this new station will improve transportation access and accelerate the changing dynamic of the area around Shinagawa. Simultaneous to the opening of the new station, the plan also includes the construction of an international exchange hub by redeveloping the extensive 13ha (hectare) area which currently is the west part of the rail yard. According to JR EAST, walkways will be made on the second floor to provide easy access around nearby areas. A huge ceiling is also planned to be constructed over the new station. Opening the new station will accelerate redevelopments and changes of the area around the Takanawa Exit on the west side of Shinagawa Station, and will also accelerate enhancement of the major streets around the area.
The area around the new station also overlaps with the “International strategic special zone” which was designated by the Japanese Government on December 2011, and new town planning aimed for inviting more foreign corporations to the area is currently in progress.
Meguro Station Front Redevelopment
The redevelopment project of approximately 23,000 square meters of land in front of Meguro station that used to be the branch office location of Tokyo Metropolitan Bus is currently in progress. The concept of “City living amongst Trees” will be realized by creating a “Real Forest” which will be an authentic re-creation of natural woods within the premise. This will give Meguro station more character and also revitalize the surrounding area providing local residents with affluent and comfortable space. The project also includes the plan for improving the station square and inviting restaurants and cafés on the lower floors along the road facing the new forest. According to the project plan, in the north zone a twin tower high rise, one 40 story residence tower with 528 units and the other a 27 story office building will be constructed. Commercial facilities and a licensed childcare center will be on the lower floors of the towers. In the south zone a 38 story residence building with 417 units is planned for construction. The project will be completed in December 2017.
New large-scale redevelopment around Shibuya Station
In many areas around Shibuya Station, large-scale redevelopment construction is now under way. The redevelopment areas are divided largely into 4 blocks, "Shibuya Station Block", "Shibuya Station South Block", "Dogenzaka Block", and “Sakuragaoka Block". The redevelopment work in all of these areas will be large scale and also include new high-rise buildings. This area around Shibuya Station will be reborn and surrounded by many new high-rise buildings by 2020 when the Tokyo Olympics will be held. The plan includes allowing easy access between each high-rise building by pedestrian decks and underground passages. The street level promenades and open spaces will be planted beautifully, and Hachi-ko Square, a famous meeting place will be expanded 1.5 times larger than the current space. One of the objectives for these redevelopment projects is “to make an environment that cultivates high quality creative contents” and also to enhance the attractiveness of Shibuya as a business hub. It plans to improve the business environment for foreign companies in hope of advancing their business in Japan, and also additional support facilities for tourists and entrepreneurs from Japan and overseas. In the residential block the plan also includes increasing life style support facilities and international medical facilities to help residents, workers, and foreign business people and emphasizes an “International City Shibuya”.
As the whole town will be redeveloped by infrastructure enhancements, disaster prevention measures, and planting additional trees and greenery, Shibuya will become an international base for transmitting Japanese culture to the world and attracting many people including not only youth and tourists but also businessmen.
Redevelopment plans for the Yaesu district of Tokyo Station
Large-scale redevelopment plans have launched in the Yaesu district near Tokyo Station. Redevelopment in the Yaesu district is far behind in comparison with that in Marunouchi district on the other side of Tokyo Station, and there are many old, small multi-tenant buildings congested together and many bus stations dispersed within the district. The overall town planning includes high rise buildings having office floors, conference halls, hotels, and commercial facilities inside, and also a large-scale open space and bus terminal all fused together in the area.
There are currently 3 major redevelopment plans, which are “Yaesu 2-Chome North District Redevelopment” led by Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., “Yaesu 1-Chome East District Redevelopment” led by Tokyo Tatemono Co., Ltd., and “Tokiwabashi District Redevelopment Project” led by Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. These redevelopment plans aim at improving city functions for reinforcing international competitiveness, and will receive government’s support by way of special deregulations designated in “The Plan for National Strategic Special Zones” which is being led by the Japanese government. As these redevelopments will advance, many skyscrapers will newly be erected, huge bus terminals and international convention facilities will be established, and the Yaesu district, which is one of the doorways of Tokyo Station and the capital city of Japan, will change dramatically in its outlook and role after the years of the Olympic Games.
New developments in Tokyo’s Koto-ward, Toyosu area, 2015
Redevelopments in Toyosu are divided largely into 2 blocks - the town planning project for the area of Toyosu 1, 2, and 3 Chome which started in 2001 and is getting into the final stage currently; and the large scale redevelopment plans in Toyosu Wharf district (6 Chome Area) which has been drawing attention since the relocation of Tsukiji Fish Market to Toyosu New Market was decided.
In Toyosu 2-3 Chome area in front of Toyosu Station and in the last large-scale undeveloped block (2-1 block with approximately 4.3ha), the project for building complex office and commercial facilities will start construction soon. In 6 Chome area various redevelopment works and plans are in progress one after another. The commercial facility will be built beside the New Market facilities; and in the east side of 6 Chome district near Shin-Toyosu Station; a large-scale condominium and housing construction, which is called "Tokyo Wonderful Project", is underway. In addition, Tokyo Gas, which owns land of approximately 20ha in the 6 Chome district, launched the town design plan named “Tokyo Smart City TOYOSU22", which aims to create a new town to last into the 22nd century. Along the west side of the district, it aims at constructing a mixed-use land city area with residence, business, and commercial functions. In June 2011 Koto-ku proposed the "Toyosu Green Eco Island Design" for the Toyosu Wharf district, which described the town image of 15 years later aiming at creating a new town full of green and with consideration for environment and disaster prevention. Based on those future images and designs, Toyosu will evolve continuously after the Tokyo Olympic Games, aiming at creating the most advanced environment friendly town with a full line of the latest disaster prevention functions.