Sunday, April 25, 2010

Make way for more apartments.....

It was about a year ago that I just happened to cut through the backstreets of the city block across the street from my old apartment when I realized that the entire neighborhood was one giant ghost town. Walking through was just one street after another of vacant villas (small brick apartment buildings) and businesses. All I could think of at the time was why it wasn't full of squatters, but I guess things don't work like that in Korea. It wasn't until later that I stared to think to myself why an entire neighborhood would disappear overnight like that.

Upon my return to Korea, I moved into a villa that was also quite close to this area and I noticed every day that more and more buildings were missing. Two whole city blocks are in the process of being demolished to make way for an enormous (is there a word that is bigger than enormous? I really want to emphasize the size here) apartment complex. Just Imagine two entire city blocks... basically the distance between two subway stations (Sindang and Sangwangsimni stations) being torn down, residents relocated, and probably hundreds of new apartment high rises built instead.

This area is probably considered prime real estate due to it's close proximity to the Cheonggyechong (stream through central Seoul), Downtown and Wangsimni Station, which will be a hub of 4 subway lines somewhere in the foreseeable future.

Every time we drive through this area, all you can see is the cloth fencing that hides the actual construction site, but we've stopped curiously several times to try to peak through the cloth to get a better look. Sunday, on the way home from some shopping in Kyungdong Market we decided to actually walk through the area and see what we could see. Here is what we saw:

One of the small alleys that cut through the construction. It's lined with a cloth fence that is very typical of Korean construction sites. This fencing just goes on and on in all directions.

They left this big beautiful tree intact.
This building is half torn down. It kind of looks like a bomb went off and tore it up...

We actually managed to peek inside that half torn down house. It was covered in glass and trash. It looked like it was probably a pretty nice place before they decided to tear it down... I was too scared to go in any further than this though....

More streets lined with fences.

The size of this area is a bit of an extreme example, but it's basically what's going on all over Seoul. It's hard to go anywhere without seeing some construction going on. Usually apartment buildings. It's hard to imagine, coming from the States, that the housing market could still be pumping out so much housing every year and still have buyers. I'm just waiting for the housing market to collapse here, frankly. There's no way you can construct so much new housing and have people who can actually afford to live there. I just don't know how long it will take for the Korean housing bubble to burst...

No comments:

Post a Comment