IFEZ enters final stage of development

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jun 22, 2015 - 19:38
  • Updated : Jun 22, 2015 - 19:38

The Incheon Free Economic Zone, the first FEZ designated in Korea in 2003, is growing into an international city as it prepares for its final development stage, to be completed by 2020.

As per its “2020 Towards Global Top 3” plan, IFEZ aims to become one of the world’s top three FEZs by 2020 with business districts, leisure, education and residential areas.

Largely divided into three regions ― Songdo International City, Cheongna International City and Yeongjong Area ― IFEZ built the foundations during stage 1 from 2003-2009, developed its infrastructure during stage 2 from 2010-2014, and has now entered its third stage, where it will finish up remaining construction and establish itself as a world-class city by 2020.

International Business District in Songdo area

A water taxi carrying tourists travels along a canal in Songdo International City, Incheon. (IFEZ)

One of IFEZ’s huge investment projects is the International Business District, located in Songdo International City, which is part of the IFEZ.

The International Business District aims to be a premium international city with a foreigner-friendly business environment featuring industry and recreational facilities, IFEZ officials said.

Its construction, spans 5.771 square kilometers, was completed in December 2014, costing 24.4 trillion won ($22 billion).

Several key landmarks in the International Business District include the Northeast Asia Trade Tower ― with 71 floors of business facilities and a hotel ― as well as Songdo Central Park, a recreational park with man-made waterways and water taxis.

There are also business facilities such as the Songdo IBS Tower and Songdo Centroad, as well as areas for recreation and education, such as the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club and international school Chadwick International, both of which opened in 2010.

Major landmarks under construction are the Art Center, which will hold a concert hall and opera house and is expected to be completed in March 2016, and the Songdo Lottemall ― a gigantic shopping mall including a theater and hotel ― expected to be completed in April 2017.

In Songdo, the construction of a mammoth Korean American Village, designed for Korean-Americans seeking to settle in Korea, will start this year.

Midan City in Yeongjong area

Artist’ rendering of Midan City

Midan City is a 2.6-square-kilometer city located in the northeastern part of Yeongjong area, which is planned to be a tourism and leisure complex city by 2020. The city has the advantage of being only 10 minutes from Incheon International Airport, as well as having close access to subways and buses.

Developers said its goal is to become the world’s top resort and convention city.

Many organizations have participated in developing Midan City since 2006, including foreign investors Lippo Limited and Koam International, as well as domestic organizations, construction and financial companies.

Midan City plans to be a global self-sufficient city that includes all types of facilities. The IFEZ website describes it as being constructed to become “Beyond Hong Kong.”

The city includes deveral prestigious skyscrapers such as the Landmark Tower, and has recreational sites such as the Fishing Village, Resort Hotel with Casino and the Mega Shopping Entertainment Complex.

It also includes an international school and an international health care center.

Cheongna International City

Cheongra International City

Cheongna International City is a 17.82-square-kilometer development project that plans to bring in about 90,000 people.

The area, located in northern Incheon, is being developed as a city of business and leisure. Hana Financial Town, planned as a financial research center and headquarters for Hana Financial Group, had a ground-breaking ceremony in 2015 and is to be completed in 2017. The GM Korea R&D Center completed construction in 2007.

The city also plans to hold other high-tech centers in the next few years, such as Robot Land, which is to be a robot industry promotion center and is expected to open in the second half of 2016.

The Incheon Hi-Tech Park, which intends to attract investments in high-tech parts material R&D, began construction in 2014 and will complete construction in 2017.

Leisure centers such as Central Lake Park and Canal Way are expected to be completed in December 2015, while Shinsegae Complex Shopping Mall will be completed in 2017.

The Cheongna City Tower will be the city’s major landmark located at Central Lake Park, and is planned to host an exhibition and recreational center. The city received approval for construction in 2013 and is expected to complete the project in 2018.

Yongyu-Muui Culture, Tourism and Leisure City in Yeongjong area

Artist‘s rendering of Yongyu-Muui City

Yongyu-Muui Culture, Tourism and Leisure City is one of the biggest projects taking place in the Yeongjong area in IFEZ. The entire area covers 3.43 square kilometers and is to cost 1.39 trillion won.

The city has eight total developmental sections, including an art museum, botanical garden, art valley, training institutes and more.

Yongyu Blue Lagon Resort Complex, Yongyu Oceanview and Muui Healing Resort are tourist sites that plan to hold theme parks, hotels and spas.

The city also plans to have recreational sites such as Muui LKs, a private villa and camping ground area and the Yongyu Wangsan Marina yachting center.

Other development projects include Muui Tesco Homeplus academy, which has education and research facilities.

By Sang Youn-joo and Lee Hong-seok ( (