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Shanghai to Restore
Historic Waterfront District

The Shanghai government yesterday launched a gigantic program to revitalize areas along the Huangpu River near the Bund and build it into a world-class tourism site within 10 years.

A new city-owned company, Shanghai Huangpu Riversides Development Construction and Investment (Group) Co. Ltd., with a registered capital of nearly 200 million yuan (US$24.1 million), was officially set up yesterday by Acting Mayor Chen Liangyü to take charge of the project.

A new government committee led by Chen was also set up yesterday to oversee development of the waterfront.

"The banks of the Huangpu River, which are now occupied with run-down warehouses, docks and factories, especially on the west bank, can not match up with the image of a modern Shanghai," explained Chen.

The 113-kilometer-long (70.21 miles) Huangpu River winds across the city's downtown area. Deemed the "Mother River" of the city, it used to be the major navigational route in Shanghai.

Huang Jü, secretary of the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China, said yesterday the city is determined to rebuild and modernize the banks of the Huangpu River so that it will become the city's answer to the Seine in Paris.

Huang pointed out that the project will help promote the city's economic growth and further push forward development in Pudong District on the east bank.

According to the city's plan, the project will cover 22.6 square kilometers (8.73 square miles), 61.5 percent of which is in Pudong.

City leaders hope the riverfront site will be developed in a way similar to the financial district in Pudong, with much of the needed investment coming from domestic and overseas investment.

The targeted riverfront area runs more than 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) from Fuxing Island in Yangpu District to the Lupu Bridge, now under construction in Luwan District.

Parts of that area, especially downtown sections, will be used for the 2010 World Expo if the city wins its bid to host the event. Otherwise, those areas will be snatched up by real estate developers eager to build residential complexes along the river.

Vice Mayor Han Zheng said city and district governments will offer preferential policies to encourage domestic and foreign companies to invest in the project. But Han, like other top leaders, won't reveal details about the city's plans for the river.

He did say the final plan will combine suggestions from six international design companies that were hired to consult on the project.

Some of the already confirmed plans include building a new international passenger terminal center to replace the existing passenger dock north of the Bund in Yangpu District, and the construction of shops and restaurants to replace shabby buildings along the Shiliupu Wharf, officials said.

(eastday.com January 11, 2002)

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