Monday, December 23, 2013

A Big Pit in Changsha

When I visited Beizheng Street in Changsha, Hunan province, last month, I saw much had changed from a year ago due to the demolition of numerous buildings. About 10-15 minutes away on foot there is another place where I noticed significant change. Here is a photo of the construction site last year:

Construction site for the Changsha International Financial Square (IFS) in 2012
October, 2012

I wasn't sure what I'd find upon returning last month. Would there be a partially built structure? No, even better, there was a bigger pit.

Construction site for the Changsha International Financial Square (IFS) in 2013 is a much deeper pit
November, 2013

And they were hard at work in the pit, even around midnight.

Construction site for the Changsha International Financial Square (IFS) in 2013 at night
November, 2013

According to a government website, in October the pit reached a depth of 35 meters. It looks like it could serve as an aquarium for whales, but Hong Kong developer Wharf Holdings is instead using the site to build the Changsha International Financial Square (IFS). As described by Wharf Holdings:
Changsha IFS will comprise an iconic 452-metre tower, the tallest landmark in Hunan, and another tower in 315 metres in height atop a retail podium, offering upscale retail, Grade A offices and a five-star sky hotel with a total GFA of 725,000 square metres. It is ideally located in the prime area of Jiefang Road in Furong District and the mega-sized retail podium of 230,000 square metres, larger than the retail malls at Chengdu IFS and Harbour City in Hong Kong, will be among the largest in Changsha and Central China to capture the growing consumption demand in the region. Construction is underway with full completion in 2016.
The validity of the "tallest landmark in Hunan" claim depends on whether Sky City, which has received much more media attention and would be the world's tallest, is ever built. As of August, the developers for Sky City had not secured all the necessary approvals, and I am not aware of any significant change since then. Perhaps the delay is related to the developer's claims it can be built in 90 days (not counting time for prefabrication). The Changsha IFS will take quite a bit longer to build. In the meantime, Wharf Holdings will open the Chongqing IFS in 2015, the Wuxi IFS in 2014, and the Chengdu IFS next month.

Beizheng Street and the Changsha IFS construction site are both examples of how Changsha is undergoing significant change. In a later post, I will share another example that is also within walking distance. However, it differs in that its transformation is nearly complete.

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