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Seoul to build floating facilities on Han River by 2030

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : April 24, 2024 - 16:11

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Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks during a press briefing on Wednesday on the Seoul Metropolitan Government's new plans to build floating facilities on the Han River by 2030. (Yonhap) Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks during a press briefing on Wednesday on the Seoul Metropolitan Government's new plans to build floating facilities on the Han River by 2030. (Yonhap)

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced a set of plans on Wednesday to build a floating office and hotel buildings and create water sports facilities on the Han River by 2030.

The recent announcement is part of the city's Great Han River Project, which was first unveiled in March 2023. This initiative seeks to enhance the river's use, improve the quality of life for its visitors, and develop infrastructure to broaden the range of activities available along the river.

As part of the plan, a floating office and hotel will be constructed on the river, equipped with accommodation, leisure and convention facilities. The hotel, which plans to begin construction in 2026, will provide boat transportation and boat tour services to its guests.

The city government also plans to build a “floating food zone,” where its visitors will be able to taste different cuisines from around the world with a view of the Han River while also enjoying musical performances. According to the city government, the facility will be able to hold up to 2,400 visitors at once with 15 to 20 food stalls, to also begin construction in 2026.

A projected image of the “floating food zone” on the Han River, scheduled to begin construction in 2026 (Seoul Metropolitan Government) A projected image of the “floating food zone” on the Han River, scheduled to begin construction in 2026 (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

During the press briefing on Wednesday, the Seoul city government also added that it plans to make the Han River a center for leisure activities. To increase access to water sports on the Han River, a cable-based water ski range will be established, and the wind-surfing ground near Ttukseom Hangang Park in eastern Seoul will no longer be restricted to members.

Seoul also plans to host boat parades, riverside movie events and other riverside leisure programs as part of its annual Hangang River Festival which takes place throughout all four seasons of the year.

On the Jamsil and Ichon sides of the river, marina facilities will be created to be able to berth up to 1,000 mid-to large boats by 2026. According to a city government official, the Ichon marina will also be equipped with a floating swimming pool, an observation platform and other leisure facilities when it opens.

A projected image of Han River Art Pier, a marina facility scheduled to open in 2026 near Ichon Hangang Park (Seoul Metropolitan Government) A projected image of Han River Art Pier, a marina facility scheduled to open in 2026 near Ichon Hangang Park (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

In October this year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government also plans to launch a river bus service to act as a new form of public transportation. A wharf will also be created in the same period on the Mapo Bridge to facilitate cruise ferry operations.

The city also plans to open a river terminal known as the “Seoul Port” by 2026 which will operate passenger ferries along the routes linking the Han River to the West Sea.

“This project will transform the Han River into a space where citizens can enjoy their everyday lives,” said Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon during Wednesday's press briefing. “The city will work to transform the Han River into an everyday space for the citizens of Seoul while also being the center of leisure and further development.”

Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Government stated that a total of 236.6 billion won ($173 billion) of public funding will be used to develop the facilities from the city government, along with private funding of 313.5 billion won. The project would generate economic benefits of up to 925.6 billion won and up to new 6,800 jobs, according to the city.