Recent moves by Hong Kong-listed Shui On Land (瑞安房地产)indicate that one of China's biggest property developers is looking to Yunnan as an important component of its future growth.
Recently Shui On has quietly pushed forward with its plans to develop a 485-hectare portion of Dianchi's northern shore, for which it has hired US-based architectural firm Sasaki Associates. The Caohai Urban North Shore project will dedicate 87 hectares to a mix of high-, medium- and low-density housing and 29 hectares to cultural infrastructure including museums, theaters, an amphitheater and an "artist's community".
The Caohai project is also expected to feature a "retail village" featuring a pedestrian street with narrow canals and small alleys lined with shops. Other aspects of the project include an office park, an R&D campus, hotels, recreational areas and a golf course.
Perhaps the boldest part of the Caohai project is Shui On's strategy toward Dianchi Lake – China's sixth-largest freshwater lake and one of its most polluted bodies of water – which it intends to "thoroughly restore". According to press releases, the plan calls for a short-term strategy of creating a lake "cell" isolated from the rest of the lake and filling it with clean water. Once the lake has reached a level of recreational cleanliness, the lake cell and the lake will be combined.
Aside from its plans in Kunming, Shui On appears to be preparing to move into Dali as well. At the end of November, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dali government regarding a proposed development in Dali's Haidong New District. Few details about the 10 billion yuan project have been made public so far.
According to a press release by Shui On Land parent company Shui On Group (瑞安集团), the company signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Yunnan provincial government this autumn to develop tourism and property projects in Kunming and Dali as well as Lijiang and Shangri-la.
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