Huangpu District plans to develop Shanghai's principal shikumen residential community into a financial center.
Historic buildings will be preserved and new cultural venues built as part of the city government's plan to build a Central Activities Zone in the downtown area, officials said yesterday.
Zhou Jianfei, deputy director with the planning authority of Huangpu, said the CAZ was an urban planning concept that included business, culture, entertainment, shopping and tourism.
Dongjiadu area, where the city's earliest shikumen, or stone-gate neighborhoods, were built, will be developed into Dongjiadu Financial City to become the heart of Huangpu CAZ, on a par with Pudong's Lujiazui financial center.
The 700,000 square-meter core area of Dongjiadu-- equivalent to about 100 football pitches-- would be set for residential communities, with commercial, cultural and entertainment facilities taking up a fifth of the land area.
Office buildings to house financial companies from both home and abroad would occupy the remaining space, she added.
A 12,000 square meter plot in the middle of the area will become a central park.
Historic buildings such as the baroque-style Dongjiadu Cathedral (also known as St. Francis Xaviers Church) and the Maritime Merchant Guild built in 1761 will be preserved as landmarks.
Another highlight will be the city's earliest chamber for shipping bosses during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) on 38 Huiguan Road. This is to be converted into a memorial museum. Once Shanghai's most luxurious club, it will have a two-story stage and a 200 square-meter assembly hall.
Several pedestrian skywalks have also been planned to connect office, commercial and residential buildings in the area, Zhou said.
"We aim to develop an area to be active both day and night, where people can work, live, shopping, entertaining and take part in various activities."
Most old residential buildings in a dilapidated condition in the Dongjiadu area, which was Shanghai's earliest downtown area, have been demolished to allow for the construction of the future financial city, scheduled to be completed by 2020.
To better connect the Dongjiadu area with the neighboring Bund and Xintiandi, the district government plans to extend Fangbang Road and convert it into a major sightseeing street to connect the city's two popular venues. The road will feature artificial creeks, gardens and innovative shops.
Furthermore, the district has planned two new cultural venues for Huangpu CAZ-- Huangpu District Cultural Center and Dashijie Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition Center, said Cao Genlin, the Party secretary with the district's culture bureau.
The district cultural center would be built near the former Nanshi Cinema on Lujiabang Road as a multifunctional center for residents to watch stage performances and films, as well as to hold public activities and meetings, Cao said.
"It will become a new cultural landmark like Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Grand Theatre in downtown area after its completion by 2020," he added.