A historic shikumen lane in downtown will be preserved and turned into an upmarket commercial complex that will include a five-star hotel, the city's top planning body said.
The shikumen buildings at 358 Huaihai Road M., will become loft office buildings and sites for commercial facilities. Underground parking lots will be built beneath the preserved structures, according to Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration.
A 42-floor building, will be built behind the four rows of shikumen buildings to be home to a five-star hotel as well as stores and offices.
The planning body has displayed the plans at the site to solicit public responses and people can send suggestions via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The red-brick lane was built in 1924 with 52 houses covering an area of more than 6,000 square meters.
The lane, featuring a white Baroque-style facade, is one of the most well-preserved shikumen (stone gate) lanes in Shanghai and was listed as a city-level protected historic structure in 1989. The 395 households that lived in the houses were all relocated by last July.
The lane compound was built by a real estate company on the lawn of Shangxian Hall, an international institute founded by the American missionary Gilbert Reid (1857-1927), in 1903. Chinese and Western lecturers taught English, business, law and politics on the site.
Original residents included bank clerks, teachers and company employees.
However, the original structure of the buildings was later altered by some tenants who built illegal additions, and some knocked down walls to open stores and hair salons along Huaihai Road.
Some buildings had deteriorated to the point where walls were cracking up.
Shikumen, an architectural style using Western and Chinese elements, first appeared in Shanghai in the 1860s.