Long-stalled landmark developments in Gangbuk, Seoul, are getting back on track. These include the Yongsan-gu Railroad Maintenance Depot site, one of the last “golden lands” in the heart of Seoul, the Sangam Digital Media City (DMC) landmark building in Mapo-gu, the Sewoon Rehabilitation Promotion District in Jongno-gu, and the Sampyo Ready Mixed Concrete site in Seongdong-gu.
“When these projects are completed, they will have a socio-economic ripple effect beyond building a semiconductor factory in the area,” said Kim Seung-bae, CEO of FIDES Development.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the real estate development industry, the city is in final discussions with project implementers Korail and Seoul Housing and Urban Corporation (SH) on a development plan for the Yongsan Maintenance Depot site (493,000 square meters), which will house an international business district. The city plans to finalize the plan in the first half of this year, conduct a preliminary feasibility study in the second half, and complete the designation of the urban development zone and development plan in the first half of next year.
The Yongsan International Business District Development Project, which began in August 2007, was a mega project to create a world-class mixed-use city, including the construction of a 665-meter-high skyscraper. With an estimated project cost of 31 trillion won, it was called “the largest development project since Dangun. However, the global financial crisis put the brakes on financing, and the project was canceled in 2013.
However, in July last year, the project was revitalized when the Seoul Metropolitan Government created development guidelines. The plan is to build 6,000 residential units, a hotel, and business facilities such as tech companies and R&D and AI labs. It aims to break ground in the second half of 2025.
Graphic by Younghee Lee email@example.com
The development of the Sewoon District, an underdeveloped area of the city center, has also been given a breather after more than a decade. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is working on a revitalization plan to adjust the 171-section Sewoon District into 20 zones. This includes 147 areas that have not been developed for a long time (subject to sunset). The city plans to build office buildings of up to 40 stories, residential complexes, and green plazas in these areas. “We will create a promotion plan and go through procedures such as public consultation and deliberation, and aim to publish it in August,” said a Seoul Metropolitan Government official.
Mayor Oh originally planned to develop the dilapidated buildings in the Sewoon shopping district in 2006 and create a green belt extending to Namsan, but the plan was overturned after former Mayor Park Won-soon took office in 2011. “When I look at Sewoon District, I want to vomit blood,” Oh said in a November 2021 municipal council questionnaire.
The shackles have also been lifted on the Sangam DMC landmark building development project, which has been stalled for 11 years. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will accept bids for the sale of the F1-F2 site (37,262 square meters) in Sangam-dong next month. It plans to select a preferred bidder in July and sign a contract in October. The city plans to build a landmark building there that will serve as a high-tech mixed-use business center. It will be up to 640 meters tall, including the spire. If built as is, it will be the tallest building in Korea, surpassing the Lotte World Tower in Jamsil (555 meters).
Development has also resumed at the site of the Sampyo Ready Mixed Concrete plant, where Hyundai Motor Group’s 2009 plan to build a Global Business Center (GBC) fell through. Last August, the plant was demolished after 45 years. Seoul has launched an international design competition to turn the site into a global business district. Architects will be invited to a site briefing early next month.
Area 4 of the Sewoon Revitalization Promotion District in Jongno-gu, Seoul, taken in August last year. Yonhap
If the landmark development project gains momentum, it is expected to turn around the sluggish real estate economy. It could have an impact on neighboring house prices and revitalize commercial centers. “There will be deviations by project, but the ripple effect on the surrounding real estate market will be large,” said Park Hap-soo, an adjunct professor at Kookmin 메이저사이트University School of Real Estate.
It is also noteworthy that Seoul’s Gangbuk region will have an industrial district that will drive the local economy. “It is significant that Gangbuk will also have a landmark industrial complex like Gangnam COEX or Lotte Tower,” said a representative of the implementing company.
However, as these are large-scale projects that cost a huge amount of money, there is a possibility that the project schedule may be delayed or canceled. “It won’t be easy to speed up the process because the projects are large and require a lot of money,” said Lee Chang-moo, a professor of urban engineering at Hanyang University. “If the real estate market deteriorates or the mayor of Seoul changes, the project could be disrupted.”