Just three months after buying a 50 percent stake in a site in Shanghai’s Huangpu district from financially troubled China Minsheng Investment Group, state-backed Greenland Group has unveiled plans for a relaunch of what it says is a RMB 100 billion ($14.66 billion) mixed-use riverfront project.
Now renamed as the Greenland Bund Centre, the 1.2 million square metre development, will include four grade A commercial buildings, one of which will include a five star hotel, eight residential blocks and retail space built around a central green square, according to an announcement by Greenland Group on May 8th.
The developer, said to be the largest enterprise under the auspices of the Shanghai municipal government, is showing off its plans for the project after Minsheng Investment’s default on a RMB 3 billion bond forced the company to sell the long-stalled property.
The efforts by Greenland Group promise to bring a bustling new urban hub to an area a few kilometres south of Shanghai’s historic Bund waterfront where earlier attempts by Minsheng Investment and other developers remain rubble-strewn construction sites half of a decade after sites were purchased for record prices.
Adding a 300 Metre Supertall to the South Bund
Speaking to the local press this past week, Greenland Group’s Zhu Yibin said that most of the project’s commercial space will be held en bloc with the company expecting to market seven low-rise office blocks to corporations for investment and self-occupancy. In all, Greenland Bund Center will have 760,000 square metres of built area on its 130,000 square metre site.
Currently in the early stages of construction, Greenland’s plan centres on a 300 metre supertall tower, which will be home to the hotel, along with three office towers of 240 metres, 150 metres and 141 metres in height respectively, with the cluster of buildings decreasing in height as the project along Dongjiadu Road approaches South Zhongshan Road.
The Greenland project, which is part of an urban renewal effort of what was once one of Shanghai’s oldest working class neighbourhoods, includes the renovation of the St Francis Xavier church on Dongjiadu Lu, which dates from 1853 and is the city’s oldest Catholic house of worship.
Greenland Builds a Skyscraper Brand
By adding the hotel-centred supertall tower to the Dongjiadu Road project, Greenland Group is following a model it has pursued in many of China’s provincial capitals in recent years as it builds a chain of commercial towers and aspires toward its own hotel chain.
The Greenland Bund Center now joins the company’s plans for a 636 metre tall Greenland Center in Wuhan, a 458 metre tall Kunming Greenland Center in the capital of Yunnan province, a 600 metre Nanjing Greenland Center in Jiangsu province, a 501 metre Xi’an Greenland Center, and several other world-scale projects in second-tier mainland cities, including Hangzhou, Chengdu, Dalian and Ningbo.
In August of last year, authorities in Wuhan dictated a 21 percent reduction in height for Greenland’s tower in the capital of Hubei province, capping the partially constructed structure at 500 metres, due to air navigation concerns more than ten years after the project was first proposed.
Aiming to Begin Sales This Year
Greenland took over the Huangpu district site after Minsheng Investment, which originally purchased the project in 2014, had failed to bring any element of multi-building plan to completion during the five year interval.
At present, the headquarters office buildings are under construction, with project signboards indicating completion in 2020. In his presentation this past week, Greenland’s Zhu indicated that the company expects to begin pre-sales of homes in the project during this year and to complete the residential blocks by 2021.
Visits to the Dongjiadu location during this past week showed that, apart from the headquarters buildings, much of the project remains in the foundation or site preparation phase. During Greenland’s presentation, the company emphasised the importance of support from the Shanghai government in enabling it to make rapid progress on the development, which has become a high priority for local authorities, according to media accounts.
Showing Some Love for the South Bund
When Greenland took over the half-stake from privately-held Minsheng Investment, it brought the Bund Center project completely under the ownership of local government-controlled entities, with municipal vehicle Shanghai Bund Investment Group holding the remaining 50 percent of the project since joining with Minsheng to buy the site for RMB 24.85 billion in 2014.
An adjoining mixed-use project along Dongjiadu Road was acquired by developer Sunac China in January of this year when the top five builder spent RMB 12.6 billion to purchase a development each in Shanghai and Beijing from China Oceanwide Holdings, which has been struggling to bring down its debt burden.
With Sunac’s Dongjiadu road mixed commercial and residential project approved for construction of up to 628,000 square metres, more than 1.8 million square metres of new properties are expected to be reaching completion within the next few years in the area around 3.5 kilometres south of where Nanjing Road brings visitors to the Peace Hotel and the European-built banks along the Bund.