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Spring City's tallest skyscraper nears completion

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Most major cities around the world have at least one iconic building looming over their skylines. Kunming has long been without such a signature structure, but that is about to change. An article published this week by Yunnan Net reports that exterior work on the tallest building in the province has been completed and the Kunming Iron and Steel Building (昆钢科技大厦) will open for business this summer.

The 219-meter skyscraper is located on Huancheng Xi Lu where Huancheng Nan Lu and Dianchi Lu merge. When it opens in June, the multi-use edifice will have 50 above ground stories comprising nearly 200,000 square meters of floor space. The first five floors will house a Sofitel luxury hotel complete with banquet hall, swimming pool and the near requisite KTV. Above that will be 19 stories of office space, while the highest 25 floors of the building will contain hotel suites.

Ground was broken on the project in 2010 with most of the funding provided by Kunming Iron and Steel Holding Company, one of the 100 largest corporations in China. During construction, the building received the China Steel Award, given annually by representatives from the steel industry to innovative and exceptional structures.

In addition to the award, the Kunming Iron and Steel Building received a triple-A rating from the national government for safety. It was also certified using China's Green Building Evaluation Standard — a lengthy set of guidelines outlining eco-friendly building practices.

Although Kunming is throwing up high-rise buildings at breakneck speed, only a few skyscrapers have been completed. The tower is the tallest structure in the city but that distinction may only last for a few years. There are currently at least ten buildings under construction around Kunming that will be higher than 150 meters.

Of those, six are slated to be taller than the Kunming Iron and Steel Building with the Wanda Plaza and Spring City 66 projects both expected to reach more than 300 meters in height. Two of the most ambitious projects, which have not officially broken ground, are 'supertall' skyscrapers. One, called Dongfeng Plaza, would be located in the heart of the city and stretch 456 meters. The other is a gargantuan tower named Huacheng International Plaza that would soar 558 meters into the Kunming sky.

Top image: Gaoloumi
Bottom image: Yereth Jansen

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I love this. The building will be a major traffic generator on one of the biggest pinch points on the inner ring road (Huancheng Nan Lu, Huancheng Xi Lu, meeting Dianchi Lu).
As the building is only a short distance from Er Huan Nan Lu, a lot of the traffic will want to join this second ring road. However, Er Huan Nan Lu is already overcapacity, and is perhaps the most congested section of 2nd ring road already.

Large extravagant construction nearing completion... isn't that the sign when the bubble is about to burst?

I bet the building will be half occupied.

just keep building and building them and pray they come.

To implement this grand "urbanization" plan (of secondary quality buildings) on Yunnan, seems like total madness.

Theres an old proverb in China that says when times are hard, look for the roots in the countryside. Yunnan could have been planned as an "harmnious" ecological corner amongst this mad grand urbanization.

Recently the statistics have been published on water, earth and air. Only the statistics about the mental landscape remains. Those are probably sensitive too.

Its not a coincidence that profit making counselling branches have established themselves in Kunming.

the city is about to become another polluted overcrowded chinese city.i guess it's time to think of plan b...

phallic symbols, all of them

This 219-meter skyscraper located at Huancheng Xi Lu will be dwarf by a new 345-meter skycraper located at Dong Fung Dong Road by the end of next year. Also, just a few blocks from this new skycrapper, Shangri-La Hotel is currently being constructed. That means Kunming is progressing quickly. The downside is that cost of living (rental & basic commodities) will go up. Property prices will definitely be in upward trend. So, if you have extra cash savings on-hand, a good unsolicited advice is to invest in Kunming property. My old mentality is: "Why should I invest in KM property, I will not be staying in KM for too long". A quick answer is, you can sell the property, when you leave KM. A similar experience I had in Shenzhen 8 years ago when I purchased my flat at RMB5,000 per square meter, today it can be sold at least RMB50,000 per square meter. There are no regets when you purchase a flat, it is a physical tangible asset, it can be rented out or you can live-in it. As China population grows and dispensable house-hold income increased, more and more people will be looking for a place to live, hence property prices will go up. Therefore if you invested in a couple of properties today, you will have a better retirement in the near future :-)

Will this building make things better or worse? Besides putting more cash in the pockets of a few people without them doing anything productive for it, I mean.

Only time will tell, whether this new buildings will make things better or worse. Eventually, we cannot go backward, we must all move forward and progress. High-rise building is a huge investment (in billions of RMB) and it is also a sign of economic development. All of this developments are linked to the government "One Belt, One Road" initiative & it is anticipated that Yunnan will be a new hub center among nearby countries.

True, Edward, but I'm never sure about that 'forward/progress/must' thing - occurs to me the pilots are self-selected.

Apart from when you bought real estate in a building that will never be finished. My apartment is surrounded by property developments that stood still for at least 2 years, some even for 7 years.
For the first 4 years I even could not sell my own property because the land certificate was never issued because of a corruption case between the Kunming city and the property developer.
Property prices have gone up in Kunming but at the long run they more or less correspond with the inflation figures.

Looking forward to the new 345-meter skyscraper, though it doesn't appear to be on schedule. Edward, where is this new Shangri-La Hotel situated?

Agreed. As a general rule, investing in assets hedges against inflation.

Hot & sour noodles that costs 2 yuan over a decade ago now costs 10 yuan... 15 yuan in another five years. The value of RMB saved in our proverbial piggy banks is steadily losing value.

However, anyone with cash savings on-hand who aims to maximize their earning potential ought to invest in the property market elsewhere in China, not in Spring City.

Despite sprawling high-rises along KRT stations, Kunming's property market growth has been lackluster compared to other provincial capitals, secondary or tertiary cities.

Tier ones, in the downtown/CBD areas will always be a good bet, but not so good in the suburbs unless serviced by or soon to be serviced by, Metro/subway lines.

Lower tier cities also have potential. Henan, Zhengzhou has boomed. Due to the city being named as an expanding rail hub for the Belt and Road initiative. Also, anywhere not yet serviced by a metro line. There is still room in this latter category in Kunming, but there is a need to be fast as the metro line as planned should be completed by next August.

I would also avoid buying new. Some of the more upmarket villas in SW Kunming are very poorly built, many are apartments and villas are overpriced and people are fighting to buy the more affordable.
Buying second hand may be less of an investment opportunity, unless a new metro line is going through. However, you can see quality or other issues more clearly and find out the reputation of buildings and management, you can buy already decorated (ready to occupy), there will be fewer unknowns.

Sofitel may occupy the first five floors but in a city with a huge car parking problem, isn't it time Kunming took a lead from congested cities in Thailand and insist on the provision of sufficient parking space to soak up the additional parking generated by all high rise buildings? Following the ratio used in Bangkok, the first seven floors would be allocated to parking. Of course, the cars have got to be able to get in and out in the first place and at times, it doesn't take much imagination to envisage gridlock. Does Kunming need this building at all?

Good question, nnoble. My not-too-informed knee-jerk reaction would be to say no, but I'd be happy to consider any opinion that came with reasons.
Also the question: 'Does Kunming need this building...' makes me think of another one: who, precisely, is this 'Kunming' who either needs or doesn't need?

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