Seoul Scraps Height Limit on Apartment Towers

  • By Ahn Joon-ho

    March 04, 2022 09:43

    Seoul is likely to see more skyscrapers after the city government decided to lift a 35-floor height limit that has been in effect for the last eight years. The decision is expected to lead to bristling towers rising on top of aging apartment clusters along the Han River.

    Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced the decision on Thursday as part of plans to transform the urban landscape over the next 20 years. It replaces a blueprint drafted in 2014 by his predecessor Park Won-soon, who had imposed the 35-story limit.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government believes that the height limit is responsible for the capital's monotonous skyline. Scrapping it was one of Oh's main campaign pledges amid a growing housing shortage.

    The city intends to authorize a wider range of rebuilding and extension projects in areas of Seoul designated for redevelopment but will retain a 15-story cap on buildings right on the river front.

    The city also plans to revamp rules on land use and floor area ratios. At present, the capital is divided into residential, commercial, industrial and green zones, but city officials believe strict zoning hinders the construction of multi-purpose buildings.

    But there are also concerns that the easing of height and other regulations could drive up residential property prices even further and led to a bonanza of speculative development.

    Yoon Ji-hae, a senior researcher at Real Estate 114, said, "Hikes in property prices are inevitable. There have to be safeguards to retrieve profits from development projects resulting from easing height limits and other construction regulations."

    But Oh said he does not anticipate property prices will rise.

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