An artist's impression of how the redevelopment of Sanjicheon might look. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
One of the most neglected areas of Jeju City is slated to undergo a major redevelopment in the coming months. The Sanjicheon (river) area of Tapdong has long been eyed by developers wanting to take advantage of its riverside location and plans are being set out to give the area a major facelift.
Jeju Special Self-Governing Province is pushing for the landmark "Tamna Cultural Square" development to attract foreign and domestic tourists, and to cater to increasing numbers of cruise passengers coming through nearby Jeju City port.
A feasibility study was carried out in 2011 and an architectural design competition was held. The result is a 12.2 billion won project, slated for completion by 2015, which includes the ecological restoration of Sanjicheon and the creation of a pedestrian-only entertainment and shopping area. The project will begin in July of this year.
A total of 23 billion won is needed to compensate property owners in the area, yet currently only 8.5 billion won is available. An additional 14.5 billion won in funding is therefore needed.
The new development aims to draw tourists and locals back to the riverside area. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
The scale and nature of the Tamna Cultural Square is controversial as the provincial assembly is pushing for a landmark development to gentrify the area, while the provincial government maintains that redevelopment could take different forms.
Critics are also urging caution, stressing that it cannot be assumed that international restaurants, theme cafes and other businesses will naturally be drawn to the area. There are also concerns about potential negative effects on the established community in this historic area.
Despite recent regeneration efforts, such as that of the Sanjicheon (river) itself, the area remains beset by decaying infrastructure and thinning trade. The debate is set to rumble on over a development that could redefine an area of the city that had seemed in terminal economic decline.
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