One of Korea's top entertainment agencies plans to build a huge multi-purpose space in southern Seoul dedicated to celebrating stars of the Korean Wave.
SM Entertainment said the project, tentatively named SM Town, will be based in the COEX mall in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. It is expected to welcome over 3 million foreign tourists each year. The agency has such high-profile K-pop bands as Girls' Generation and TVXQ on its books.
The Korea International Trade Association, which owns the mall, plans to rent part of it to the agency on a long-term lease to facilitate the move. The COEX, one of the biggest shopping malls in Korea, is being remodeled to extend its space by 10 percent.
The association revealed on Tuesday that it has signed a five-year lease for the COEX Artium starting from November. The Artium is a six-story building that adjoins the main COEX mall. It includes a concert hall with 808 seats and a gallery.
SM plans to use it as a venue for its artists to perform, as well as a place where fans can meet Korean Wave stars. A concert hall equipped with state-of-art holographic technology will also be built there, it said.
The association has also organized a committee to transform the area into a cultural, shopping and tourism cluster by forging links with local businesses like Hyundai Department Store, the InterContinental Hotel, the Korea City Air Terminal and Seven Luck Casino.
"We plan to turn the building into a new landmark that can one-up Tokyo's Roppongi Hills or the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore," said a spokesman for the association.