Town slated for redevelopment

Authorities taut revitalization of 600-year-old watertown, among other projects to develop outlying district.

A number of historical sites in the 600-year-old Nanqiao Town will be developed and opened to the public, according to urban redevelopment plans unveiled yesterday.

The town, located in Fengxian District, dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) and is famous for its waterways and peaceful ambiance. Plans including developing its old-town area, covering over 530,000 square meters, into a tourism and commercial community named “Nanqiao Origin,” the district government announced yesterday.

Eight areas within the town featuring heritage sites such as the Shen’s Garden Villa, the only remaining villa from the 1920s in the southern district, and the once-famous Dingfeng soybean sauce workshop, will be restored and developed.

“The historical features and glory of the ancient watertown will be revitalized to create a comprehensive community with history and urban warmth,” said Chen Shuai, from the district’s investment promotion bureau.

The district government also held a meeting yesterday to attract investments to develop sites in the town. Developers and commercial operators have been invited to take part in the soybean sauce workshop project, while art exhibition halls have been planned near the historical garden villa.

“The Nanqiao Town involves the history and charm of southern Shanghai, but has long been underestimated and neglected during urban development in the past decades,” said Yuan Feng, a professor with the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University.

Other heritage attractions slated for development include the memorial hall of Auguste Leopold Protet, a French Navy admiral who was killed in the Taiping Rebellion (1851-64) in Fengxian in 1862. A lane behind the hall has also been planned as a commercial street.

Apart from the ancient town, the district released a blueprint for four other projects. The Fengxian government aims to develop the outlying area into Shanghai’s “southern downtown” as well as a “comprehensive service core” for the Hangzhou Bay region.

“Fengxian’s geographic advantage will be highlighted through the integrated development of the whole Yangtze River Delta, serving as a connection point between Shanghai and Zhejiang Province,” said Lian Zhenghua, deputy director of Fengxian.

Several construction projects are almost finished at Fengxian New City, a key center for Fengxian’s ambitious development. The artificial Jinhai Lake is close to completion and will open to the public soon, the government said.

Construction has also started on the urban planning exhibition hall and the Nine Tree Art Center, which will open to the public in October 2019.

A 13-kilometer-long central boulevard is planned for the Oriental Beauty Valley, which will develop and promote local cosmetic brands globally and help turn the city into “Asia’s largest beauty and health” industry center.

The Jianghai Industrial Park, built in 1995, will be converted into a scientific and cultural innovation zone, the government said.

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