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Mitsui Fudosan reveals plan to create waterfront zone in Tokyo's Nihonbashi area

An artist's rendering shows the redeveloped Nihonbashi Bridge area after the Metropolitan Expressway is moved underground. (Image courtesy of Mitsui Fudosan Co.)

TOKYO -- Real estate giant Mitsui Fudosan Co. announced on Aug. 29 a revitalization plan to turn the area around Nihonbashi Bridge in the capital's Chuo Ward into a waterfront zone.

The company, based in the Nihonbashi district, aims to set up promenades, commercial facilities and office buildings as part of a project to turn the area into a place where visitors can enjoy taking walks or participating in local events. The project is expected to be completed around 2035-2040, after an elevated Metropolitan Expressway running over the bridge -- designated as a national important cultural property -- is moved underground. The plan also includes construction of a waterfront park around the bridge measuring about 1.2 kilometers in length and 100 meters in width.

In the Edo Period (1603-1868), the Nihonbashi district was known for being surrounded by a network of canals, and was also the starting point for five major routes collectively known as "Gokaido." Mitsui Fudosan is mulling turning the place into a hub for waterways in Tokyo connecting routes from Nihonbashi to Asakusa, Toyosu, Odaiba and other major districts, to be used by tourists and commuters.

The company plans to renovate a total of approximately 1.22 million square meters of facilities including commercial and office buildings, as well as hotels located within the five districts along Nihonbashi River covering an area spanning about 6.7 hectares. Overall the project is expected to cost several hundred billion yen.

Mitsui Fudosan has long been pursuing its "Nihonbashi Revitalization Plan," including the opening of "Coredo Nihonbashi" in 2004. Company President Masanobu Komoda told reporters at a press conference, "Nihonbashi will regain views of the blue sky after the Metropolitan Expressway is moved underground, and a spacious waterfront area will be created. We want to increase its attractiveness by making it easy to get around the city by land and water."

(Japanese original by Munehisa Ishida, Tokyo Business News Department)

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