April 03, 2009 07:45
Seoul's skyline will undergo a major transformation, with five skyscrapers in the works that will be more than 100 stories tall, while a rash of building 60 stories or taller are being built. The 63 City building, once the tallest building in Korea, will soon be dwarfed by these new developments.
The banks of the Han River in Seoul will be the site of the race for the tallest building. This week alone, plans were announced to build two new skyscrapers in the city. On Mar. 30, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced it would begin construction in September of the world's second tallest building, the Seoulite (133 stories, 640 m) or DMC Landmark Tower in the Digital Media City, a media cluster under development in the northwestern district of Sangam-dong. And a day later the government gave the green light for the construction of the second Lotte World complex in Jamsil (112 stories, 555 m). The river bank will also be the site of the Hyundai Automotive Group headquarters building envisioned in Ttukseom (110 stories, 550 m), and the Dream Tower (152 stories, 620 m) to be built in the Yongsan international business zone.
Yeouido Island, which is in the process of changing into an international financial center, is also expected to join in the transformation of Seoul's skyline along the Han River. In addition to 63 City, which was built in 1985, the 72-story Parc One tower and the 55-story International Finance Centre Seoul are slated to open there between 2011 and 2013 to house both domestic and foreign financial companies.
The construction of these skyscrapers can create jobs during the economic slump and they could become major tourist attractions after completion. But experts say the skyscrapers also have drawbacks. First of all, special construction techniques and materials are necessary in the construction of buildings that are more than 100 stories tall. This means double or triple the cost of building such structures compared to ordinary buildings, which translates into higher maintenance costs and rent.
As a result, acres of office space could be left vacant. On top of that, the construction projects themselves could end up being scrapped if they run into problems in funding by investors due to the global financial crisis.
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