Sunday, August 23, 2015

Seoul Station 7017: Forget 2017?

Seoul city announced Friday that MOUs have been signed with five downtown buildings for connections to the future Seoul Station 7017.


In case you missed the previous episodes listed below, the highly controversial SS7017 (a.k.a. Seoul's Highline) is Mayor PARK Won-soon's pet project to crown his mandate in 2017:
Here are the 5 buildings, all in Jung-gu (I listed their addresses), all around the Toegye-ro / Tongil-ro intersection facing the station:
  • Metro Tower (10, Toegye-ro) 
  • Daewoo Foundation Building (18, Toegye-ro) 
  • Hotel Manu (19, Toegye-ro) 
  • Seoul Square (416, Hangang-daero) 
  • Yonsei Jedan Severance (Yonsei Severance Foundation - 10, Tongil-ro)
Among other buildings likely to plug in later, the Namdaemun Church, and the Hilton Hotel*, which itself shall serve as a gateway to Namsan Park. Seoul confirmed April 2017 as the target for the inauguration.


*

Now these MOUs were signed in January. So what's the actual message? 

That Seoul Mayor is not giving up his dream.

The Seoul Station  7017 project is officially dead because national authorities have blocked it for many good reasons: major safety concerns, awful design ruining the surroundings of the old Seoul Station, unsolved traffic issues...

One more good reason is the fact that many people don't want PARK Won-soon to parade with a spectacular new landmark just months before the 2017 presidential elections. If Saenuri's KIM Moo-sung is closing the gap, PARK is still leading in polls that, one should note, don't include BAN Ki-moon (will the UNSG run for South Korea's most suicidal job?):

PARK Won-soon still leads in polls for 2017 prez, but KIM Moo-sung up (NB: no BAN Ki-moon): gallup.co.kr/gallupdb/reportContent.asp?seqNo=677
(twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/632069833425727489)

Every month of delay makes less likely a delivery on time for the elections.

Personally, I wouldn't have bet on this very risky SS7017 as my main option for a landmark. For instance, solving the Seun Sangga conundrum was also very tricky (starting with safety issues), but much more important for Seoul's balance and urban regeneration.

Still time to reassess priorities, I guess.


Seoul Village 2015
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* The Hilton was not among the 5, as I wrongly thought last Friday:
Seoul announced 5 MOU with buildings for connection with Seoul Station 7017 (Hilton etc). National authorities nixed projects, PWS needed lobbying power. (twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/634720342787796996)

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