Skywalk nears completion at Xujiahui malls
Part of a skywalk connecting malls in downtown Xujiahui will be completed by the end of the year and open to the public early in 2020.
The 400-meter initial phase of the Xujiahui Skywalk will connect the renovated Xiya Hotel, now the T20 building, Huilian Mall and once popular digital markets, Metro City and Pacific Digital City.
Construction will start in 2020 on the next phase linking the Orient Shopping Center, Grand Gateway 66, the Pacific Department Store and Xujiahui Center, which will become the tallest building in Puxi upon its completion in 2023.
Connecting scattered commercial, cultural and entertainment venues, the project is part of an exploration of skywalks in mature downtown commercial complexes.
The main steel structure, bridge decks, drainage system and electric facilities are finished. Half of the wooden floors have been laid and most of the greenery planted.
Designed by French architect Jacques Ferrier, who designed the popular France Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, the skywalk will be an "urban pubic artwork" with a practical function.
LED lighting will feature different colors corresponding to the notes of popular folk song "Jasmine" and visitors will feel like the tune is flowing along with them when they walk at night.
Some adjustments have been made to the original blueprint, including adding shelters from sun and rain from the brutal summer sun and plum rains.
The skywalk is a part of a major facelift of the Xujiahui commercial zone with its shopping and electronics malls, as entertainment venues take center stage.
The commercial zone was established in 1992, one of eight in the city. Business boomed between 1999 and 2008, but sales have been falling since 2009 due to online rivalry.
The former three-star Xiya Hotel, built in 1995, has been redeveloped into the upmarket T20 complex. The renovated Metro City and Pacific Digital City have largely lost their computer and electronics retailers, replaced by fashionable brands, eateries, a theater and book store.
The Grand Gateway 66 mall will also get a new look. The staircase in front of the mall will make way for an outdoor square for street performances.
Xujiahui Cathedral has become a core landmark of surrounding venues including a planetarium, library and the tomb of Xu Guangqi, a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) scientist and the official after whom Xujiahui is named.