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'Bund Origin' restoration plows ahead

2009. 10 August

( Restoration of historic "Bund Origin" buildings, including the recently saved Shanghai Rowing Club, has started and is expected to be finished before the 2010 World Expo starts in May, construction authorities said.

The "Bund Origin" area, regarded as the origin of the Bund
and the city, is 170,000 square meters centered on the confluence of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek.

The area contains many historic buildings and 14 of them are on the city's protected buildings list, which means they cannot be torn down.

Scaffolding has erected outside the buildings to repair damaged parts.

Architecture experts have been invited to make restoration plans and help find tiles and wood flooring similar to the original materials.

The buildings will be also developed to improve their function, according to Pan Yihua, from the Shanghai New Huangpu Real Estate Co Ltd, the developer of the "Bund Origin."

The former British Consulate, built in 1873, will be turned into a public place that can hold major events and art exhibitions. A total of 18,000 square meters of insignificant buildings around the former consulate will be demolished to make a public park on the Bund.

The restored Union Church, built in 1866, is expected to house a local civil affairs department office for issuing marriage certificates.

The church was almost demolished after a big fire in the abandoned building in 2007 but was saved by public protest.

The Shanghai Rowing Club did not originally make the city's protected buildings list and was earmarked for demolition last month but it was found to have high historical value during the development of the "Bund Origin" project and has been saved.