Another Central Green Space to Open to Public in Seoul

  • By Choi Jong-seok

    October 07, 2022 13:07

    Another unsightly waste land in central Seoul temporarily opens to the public on Friday after being off-limits for about 110 years.
    The Seoul Metropolitan Government said the land formerly occupied by U.S. embassy staff will be turned into a verdant park until construction of an art gallery begins in 2025.
    The stretch of land in Songhyeon-dong in Jongno district measures 37,117 sq.m, three times the size of Seoul Plaza in front of city hall, and is close to popular tourists attractions like Gyeongbok Palace and Insa-dong.
    The city government wants to plant a lawn there and remove the unsightly 4-m fence that now keeps trespassers out.
    An aerial view of a waste ground in Songhyeon-dong in central Seoul on Thursday
    The land was seized by the U.S. military when Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II and used to house American embassy staff.
    Samsung Life Insurance bought it in 1997 and tried to build an art museum there but scrapped the plans. Korean Air bought the land in 2008 to build a hotel, but that idea was also scrapped when it failed to get permission.
    Last December the city bought the land from Korean Air. It plans to open an art gallery there by 2027 to showcase part of the world-class collection of late Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee that was donated to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax.
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