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Global hotel brands eye Mapo in western Seoul

Paris-based Accor Hotels Group and London-based InterContinental Hotels Group are considering opening a new hotel in Mapo, northwestern Seoul, according to sources.

The two international hotel groups have recently visited a five-story Geunpung Building located at the northern end of Mapo Bridge stretching to Yeouido as a candidate spot for one of their hotels.

Officials of the two hotel groups recently had contacts with Pungnong Corp., the owner of the building and manufacturer of fertilizers, the company’s official confirmed to The Korea Herald.

Pungnong is aiming to break ground for the new hotel in early 2018.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced last Thursday that it approved construction of the fertilizer’s building into a 24-floor tourism hotel as part of its plan to turn the area from residential to commercial use. 

An image of a new hotel site recently approved by the Seoul Metropolitan Government /SMG
An image of a new hotel site recently approved by the Seoul Metropolitan Government /SMG

Domestic hotel brands have also been showing interest in the building in the relatively less developed Mapo area. Lotte Hotel and Hotel Shilla had considered the site for a new business hotel chain, according to the real estate market.

On the total landmass of 42,906 square meters, two high-rise buildings will be constructed. One will be the new hotel with four basement floors and 24 floors above the ground, offering a total of 223 rooms. The floor area ratio is 659.3 percent.

The other one will be a multi-purpose building offering studios for businesses and individuals.

“We have met with development officials of the two international hotel brands,” said a senior manager in charge of the hotel business at Pungnong Corp. “Since our target year to break ground is 2018, we will have more time to make contacts with other brands.”

Accor has high-profile business hotel brands including Novotel, ibis and Sofitel, while InterContinental owns brands including the luxurious InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Hualuxe featuring Chinese hospitality and Holiday Inns.

Accor Korea hinted its further expansion in the city.

“In the mid- and long-run, we are considering launching new hotels in Mapo and Yeouido,” said a public relations officer at Accor Korea.

“Considering the size of the construction plan, the new hotel will be at least a premium business hotel,” said an industry insider. “It is not a small project.”

Owing to the city approval that was expected since early this year, property prices rallied recently, according to realtors.

“The average priced for a 79-square meter studio rose from 110 million won ($94,000) early this year to 140 million won recently,” a realtor there said.

As part of the city‘s latest urban environmental management plan, a 353.8 square-meter road and a 156.6 square-meter park will also be created surrounding the fresh hotel. The hotel will also build and donate a public library for the Mapo residents.

By Song Su-hyun (