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Swire Properties celebrate the grand opening of ZHANGYUAN, Shanghai
Friday, 2nd December 2022
Source : Swire Properties and Jing’an Real Estate Group

ZHANGYUAN West Zone is now open to the public, introducing a unique cultural and commercial landmark in the heart of Shanghai.

ZHANGYUAN, Shanghai’s first urban regeneration project to implement protective expropriation and historical restoration, officially opened. The project is operated and managed by a joint venture between Swire Properties and Shanghai Jing’an Real Estate (Group) Co., Ltd. (“Jing’an Real Estate Group”). ZHANGYUAN West Zone is now open to the public as the first phase of this unique project.

An opening ceremony was held today to mark the launch of this ground-breaking development. Officiating at the ceremony were ZONG Ming, Vice Mayor of Shanghai Municipality, the main leaders of Jing'an District of Shanghai Municipality and Shanghai Municipal Commission, SHI Yunlun, Chairman of Jing’an Real Estate Group, and ZHANG Zhuoping, Chairman of John Swire & Sons (China) Limited.

The development is owned by Shanghai Jing’an Urban Regeneration Construction and Development Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Jing’an Real Estate Group, and operated and managed by Shanghai Kaiye Commercial Management Co. Ltd., the joint venture between Swire Properties and Jing’an Real Estate Group.

The Shikumen heritage buildings in ZHANGYUAN are among the best-preserved and richest historical architectural forms in Shanghai. Over forty buildings, in more than 20 different styles, some dating back over 100 years, include Western-style garden villas as well traditional Chinese styles. The newly unveiled ZHANGYUAN has been reshaped into a high-quality "first urban public space", providing trendy lifestyle and cultural experiences and offering a place where Shanghai’s citizens can work, relax, shop and be entertained.

Swire Properties has introduced a host of luxury brands to the area, including original concept stores and will be presenting a diverse range of events, exhibitions and arts and cultural activities. Swire Properties’ responsibilities in the ZHANGYUAN project extend to design, leasing, operational management and marketing.

A new model for urban regeneration projects in Shanghai

ZHANGYUAN is a vivid example of the Jing'an District government's drive to develop. Shanghai as a "people's city", combining people-centric innovation with high-quality development. It is also the first urban regeneration project in Shanghai to implement protective expropriation and historical restoration. This Shikumen building complex – the most complete in Shanghai, with an abundance of iconic architectural forms and artistic features – reflects the city’s "diversified and inclusive" characteristics.

The project brings together Swire Properties’ expertise in commercial planning, property leasing and management and Jing’an Real Estate Group's extensive experience in the protection and rejuvenation of historic buildings. The two parties adopted an innovative approach to renovation at ZHANGYUAN, combining the protection of historical features with organic urban regeneration.

Drawing on the humanistic characteristics of Shanghai-style architecture, the comprehensive renovation protects the historical features and layout of Shanghai’s traditional Shikumen lanes. Careful efforts have been made to revitalise and repurpose historical buildings, improve transportation connections to the area, and create new underground retail space beneath the existing buildings. The renovation project marks the rebirth of ZHANGYUAN and sets a new standard for Shanghai's urban regeneration that focuses on history and culture at the same time as bringing energy, internationalisation and the latest trends to the area.

Tim Blackburn, Chief Executive of Swire Properties, said, "As Swire Properties celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are delighted to participate in this unique project where we can leverage our experience and proven capabilities in urban revitalisation. ZHANGYUAN will play an important role in Shanghai's urban regeneration and will make a significant contribution to the city’s economic and cultural development. It is a great honour to play such a key role in the regeneration of this historical and cultural area that has witnessed many of the significant events that have taken place in Shanghai over the past century.

“The opening of ZHANGYUAN West Zone is only the beginning. We will continue working with Jing’an Real Estate Group on ZHANGYUAN’s ongoing development and commercial management, further promoting the regeneration and economic development of the Nanjing West Road Area and helping to set a new benchmark for Shanghai’s central urban area and its development as an international consumption centre.”

Shi Yunlun, Chairman of Jing’an Real Estate Group, said, “ZHANGYUAN is a comprehensive urban governance project featuring old district renovation and urban regeneration. We have strived to preserve and protect the Shikumen lanes’ architectural integrity. Each ZHANGYUAN building serves as an historical architectural file that enables research on the original craftsmanship and materials of Shikumen buildings, and the study into preventive protection technology, as well as guidance on the repair, protection and utilisation of ZHANGYUAN buildings from a historical and scientific perspective.

“We’ve consistently been benchmarking the highest standards to advance the revitalisation and utilisation of historical buildings, while integrating traditional Shanghai-style and international cultural trends. Incorporating culture, business and tourism, we strive to create a new landmark in Jing’an that blends traditional and new concepts, Eastern and Western cultures, and improves the functional quality of the central city.”

Urban regeneration commercial project to integrate art and luxury

ZHANGYUAN West Zone is located to the west of Taixing Road and to the east of North Maoming Road. It covers around 20,000 sqm of aboveground space, which represents about 35% of the total aboveground area at ZHANGYUAN. The West Zone is divided into eight clusters, including 16 historical buildings such as Deqing Li, Rongkang Li, Zhenxing Li, Xiude Li, Furu Li, and three garden-style villas.

Reflecting its deep ties to traditional Shanghai-style culture, ZHANGYUAN West Zone presents a new experiential consumption destination for the city, with new retail concepts, fine dining, immersive brand exhibitions and activities, and contemporary arts events. The West Zone is positioned as a high-end commercial experience area.

Working together with three major luxury groups – LVMH (France), Richemont (Switzerland) and Kering (France) – ZHANGYUAN West Zone will present the first urban regeneration commercial community in China that integrates luxury goods and art. The West Zone already hosts an array of well-known international brands, including Arcadia Club, Blue Bottle Coffee, BULGARI PARFUMS, By Far, DIOR, GUCCI, Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon, RE Bike Museum, Sisley and Vacheron Constantin. These include unique concept stores, special pop-up stores and a number of first stores in the Chinese Mainland, coming together to create a unique and memorable experience.

A pioneering public space with historical significance

Historically ZHANGYUAN was an elite rendezvous, a social hub and then a public park which was opened to the public in 1885. It was the largest civic park in Shanghai during the late Qing Dynasty. At that time, ZHANGYUAN was regarded as the place to discuss and debate new ideas. Many “firsts in Shanghai" originated in ZHANGYUAN: it was the first private garden that opened to the public for free, where China's first electric lamp was lit, where the first bicycle was presented, where the first bicycle race took place, where the first outdoor photo booth was located and where the first film was projected.

ZHANGYUAN was also a public lecture stage bringing together many influential figures. Arcadia Hall in ZHANGYUAN, the tallest building in Shanghai at that time, could accommodate 1,000 people and was once a significant meeting place for revolutionary figures. Sun Yat-sen, Huang Xing, Song Jiaoren and Zhang Taiyan all gave speeches here.

ZHANGYUAN was the cultural and artistic centre of Shanghai, breaking the boundaries between Chinese and Western cultures and having a profound impact on people’s way of life. The Flora Festival, the World Treasure Fair, rollercoasters, circuses and hot air balloons were all staged at Zhangyuan. Peking opera maestro Mei Lanfang made his Shanghai debut at ZHANGYUAN, while kung fu master Huo Yuanjia competed here.

After 33 years the park was closed and transformed into a residential area in 1918. By 1935, 28 different developers had designed and built numerous lane and detached houses in ZHANGYUAN, establishing a vibrant community rich in historical and cultural characteristics.

New high-end lifestyle location in Shanghai recreates cultural extravaganza

To celebrate the opening of ZHANGYUAN West Zone, international brands have customised their stores with beautiful interactive installations, various limited-edition products, and floral displays that highlight the "Best Garden in Shanghai”.

A special light show will also be hosted on North Maoming Road, using the façades of the area’s Shikumen buildings to tell the history of ZHANGYUAN, breaking it down into six chapters: the garden, the hot air balloon, the rollercoaster and fireworks, avant-garde culture, quality of life, and the area’s rebirth.

Meanwhile, Design Miami/ Podium X Shanghai is being held in ZHANGYUAN as an offshoot of Design Miami/ – one of the major international, large-scale art and design exhibitions. The Shanghai exhibition brings together design galleries, creative installations, cross-border cooperation and large-scale public art, once again establishing ZHANGYUAN as a place for cultural integration where ideas collide, blending contemporary art and design with century-old Shanghai architecture to create a dialogue through time and space.

Following the official opening of ZHANGYUAN, work will continue to advance the project to the next stage, including opening up the West Nanjing Road metro station connections (Line 2, Line 12, and Line 13). ZHANGYUAN East Zone will open to the public by the end of 2026.

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