Back To Top

Seoul mayor backtracks on city renovation plans

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said Sunday that a plan to renovate two commercial districts in the metropolitan city will be postponed, citing fears on the real estate market that has seen a rise since the announcement.

During his visit to Singapore last month, Park said he would have three major downtown areas, including the financial district of Yeouido and Yongsan, where US troops have long been based, to be renovated under the 2030 Seoul Plan.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)

In an emergency press meeting Sunday, however, Park said his urban redevelopment plan will be put on hold until house prices stabilize. He didn’t set a timeline for the delay.

“I was deeply concerned on the housing market showing signs of overheating,” he said. “I entirely agree with the (central) government’s stance that prioritizes stabilization of the housing market to provide stability in people’s residential (environment).”

Under Park’s plan, old apartments will be replaced by high-rise apartment buildings of up to 50 stories while more parks and leisure spaces are to be designed to reinvigorate the city’s financial hub Yeouido.

Following the scheduled relocation of US troops, Park, said in 2016 he would create an urban park in Yongsan that could become a city landmark bridging past and future.

The mayor’s urban renovation plans, however, stoked the market, raising house prices by more than 100 million won ($90,000) each in Yeouido over one month, according to industry insiders.

“Development plans for Yeouido and Yongsan have been prepared for a long time and it reflected the need for a comprehensive urban planning for sustainable city development,” he said.

The mayor instead said the city will build more public housing to stabilize the market. Previously he said he would have 240,000 housing units for permanent rent. But the city will provide more, on hopes to curb surging housing prices.

By Cho Chung-un (