+ A

Seoul to extend manufacturing hub revitalization

Mar 28,2018
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon looks at products made by local merchants in the Sewoon Arcade in central Seoul Tuesday, after the kick-off ceremony of the 2020 Re-Sewoon project. [YONHAP]
The Seoul Metropolitan Government kicked off the 2020 Re-Sewoon project on Tuesday at Hotel PJ in central Seoul. The Seoul government completed the renovation of Sewoon Arcade last September, giving the 47-year-old industrial complex a fresh, new look.

The first Re-Sewoon project transformed Sewoon, Cheonggye and Daelim Arcades, and the second project will continue from Daelim and move southwards to include Sampoong Arcade, Hotel PJ, Inhyeon Arcade and Jinyang Arcade - all of which will be connected by pedestrian walkways. The seven different buildings will become a single structure connected by the new walkways, which will extend over 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) in length.

While the merchants and manufacturers located in and outside of Sewoon, in central Seoul’s Jongno District, were focused on electrical and electronic products, the Euljiro region surrounding the second part of the redevelopment project is a neighborhood filled with printing companies. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, 67.5 percent of all the printing companies in Korea are located near Euljiro, amounting to over 3,000 offices in total.

“Today, we announce a new future of Sewoon, which will lead the future of manufacturing and printing,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon at the ceremony. “Four years ago on this day, Seoul decided to renovate Sewoon. And today, we begin the second part of the project. I hope the date, March 27, comes to be remembered as the day for Sewoon.”

The decision to keep the old mega-structure instead of completely demolishing it to build something new comes mainly from the idea of regeneration that Seoul decided to pursue since 2011, but also from the fact that the gigantic concrete building is the work of Kim Swoo-geun, (1931-1986) a monumental name in the history of architecture in Korea.

After construction is finished, Seoul hopes the newly born arcades will serve as a hub of business where skilled artisans can meet with young, fresh minds to create a new future.

“We will respect old values, and build new ones upon them,” said Park. “[The regions around Sewoon] used to be the most underprivileged neighborhoods. Some ask what the meaning is of keeping something that’s almost 50 years old. But there, you see history. You see the life of the people that have kept the space [alive].”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]