China’s most ambitious replica: Manhattan
Developers in Guangdong province might be constructing an entire historic Austrian town in Huizhou, but up north, city officials in Tianjin (天津市) are going one further: they're building a bigger and better Manhattan.
And on current planning, it will be the "largest single financial center in the world," reported The Atlantic.
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Scheduled for completion in 2019, the new 3.86 million-square-meter financial center will be situated in Yujiapu (于家堡), in Tianjin’s booming central business district Binhai (滨海). With an estimated construction cost of RMB 200 billion, it will provide some 9.5 million square meters of office space.
Yujiapu was previously a fishing village, which traces its origins to the 15th century.
“Our goal is to build a first-rate base for financial revolution and innovation and to steer international finance towards Yujiapu,” said Li Cailiang (李彩良), supervisor of the policy research bureau in Binhai.
According to Vincent Lee, an official from Tianjin’s business bureau, the future Yujiapu financial center will have three main landmarks: one skyscraper modeled after the Rockefeller Center and one Tishman Twin Towers, the result of investment and construction from Tishman Speyer’s China arm, Yinfeini Property.
Lee added that compared to cities such as London and New York, China has a key advantage in city building.
Other cities are not removing old buildings while the Chinese can build new things in cities as if they are blank slates, Lee told the press.
The major contributing factor to Tianjin’s Manhattan flavor is its construction and planning company.
The Rockefeller Group officially announced the start of operations in the financial center on August 8 by establishing an affiliate company, Luo Si Luo Ke (罗斯洛克), with Tianjin Innovation Finance Investment, the direct operator of Yujiapu.
This means The Rockefeller Group is directly involved in the investment and construction of Yujiapu’s infrastructure.
“This is the key project of all our projects in China -- at the moment, no other project is more important than this,” said Xu Silin (徐斯霖), the executive partner of Luo Si Luo Ke. “We are proud of investing in Yujiapu.”
The Yujiapu financial center is now two years into its 10-year construction plan and 12 major projects, occupying 1.76 million square meters, have started construction.