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Possible 40-Story Limit for New Seoul High Rises

Posted September. 29, 2005 03:05,   


Some of the high-rise apartment buildings that are being constructed in Seoul will be built up to 40 stories high.

A high-ranking Seoul city government official stated on September 28, “For high-rise apartment buildings that have finalized the reconstruction plans, we plan to allow the new buildings to be as high as 35 to 40 stories.”

This will have a positive effect on the reconstruction projects of 55,879 housing units in the seven districts of Ichon, Garak, Cheongdam-Dogok, Jamsil, Seocho and Banpo, and Wonhyo.

Banpo and Seocho’s revised plans for reconstruction and development received government approval last year, and Wonhyo and the other five received government approval this year. It will also affect the real estate market, which has halted its growth since the 8.31 Comprehensive Real Estate Plan.

Reconstruction projects in Seoul only need permission from the city of Seoul with no intervention from the Ministry of Construction and Transportation or other agencies. So construction companies can start their projects any time once the administrative process is concluded.

The official added, “In consideration of city development and demand for housing, we have decided to allow 40 story buildings as long as the surroundings are not damaged in any way. However, we believe that instead of having all the buildings equally 40 stories high, it would be better to diversify them with 38, 39, 40 –story buildings.”

The official also said, “Until now, only a limited number of buildings were allowed to be built as high as 35 stories. Many citizens living in the districts slated for new construction were displeased with the height limit. We hope that they will be somewhat assuaged with this new regulation.”

The highest apartment building of the high-rise buildings in the third-level housing area (over 12 stories) permitted by Seoul Construction Review Committee is the Hanshin Sin Banpo apartment building in Jamwon-dong, Seoul, with 35 stories.

The homeowners in the buildings to be reconstructed are not happy with the limits. One apartment association official from the Cheongdam-Dogok District said, “We plan to reconstruct the 15-story buildings into 25- to 36-story buildings.”

One citizen of Songpa district said, “Low-rise buildings (5 stories) in Jamsil 2-complex will be built up to 34 stories high. Higher buildings should be built even higher.”

However, Seo Myeong-gyo, head of the Housing Environment Team at the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, said “The real estate prices in Gangnam are finally showing signs of stabilizing due to the 8.31 Plan. In this situation, it is a serious problem when local governments plan to build new reconstruction buildings into luxury apartments. If Seoul plans to permit the building of 40 story apartments, they should discuss the matter with the government beforehand.” This may be a sign of a possible conflict in the future.

Tae-Hun Hwang Jae-Seong Hwang beetlez@donga.com jsonhng@donga.com