2/8/2018 – Commercial Property Executive: Gafcon to Master Plan $12B Shanghai Community
Developers chose the company’s schematics for the 10.8 million-square-foot, mixed-use residential community, which will sprout up along the Huangpu River.
By Barbara Murray
Developers of the $12 billion Zizhu Purple Bay residential community in Shanghai have chosen the San Diego-based construction consulting firm’s master plan for the approximately 10.8 million-square-foot waterfront project. Gafcon will spearhead the development process for Purple Bay in its role as program manager.
Purple Bay is a project of Zizhu National Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, which is co-invested by seven shareholders including Minhang District People’s Government, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Zijiang Holdings and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. Fronting the Huangpu River, the development will be a veritable city within a city.
“Shanghai is looking for a transformative experience that will bring together a new highly integrated cultural community,” Jeff Causey, project executive with Gafcon Inc., told Commercial Property Executive. The community, he added, is based on a handful of noteworthy pillars: a leisurely lifestyle away from the traffic and congestion of the city; education in the form of a knowledge exchange focused on natural environment/cultural exchange and global partnerships; nature as the perfect balance of land/water/buildings and open space; and technology connecting and integrating people cultures and experiences.
A massive master-planned community, Purple Bay will have ample living accommodations: a full 25,000 residential units ranging from high-rise apartments, multi-story garden houses and lakeside homes will grace the site. The remainder of the vision for the project involves offerings as diverse as those found in any charming cosmopolitan city. The development will feature 250,000 square feet of retail space; a 125,000-square-foot community center; medical facilities totaling 375,000 square feet; as well as a 400-key resort hotel and a 200-room business hotel. General Electric and Coca-Cola have already staked a claim to office square footage.
And adhering to its focus on nature, Purple Bay will offer a 100,000-square-foot Aquarium, a 25,000-square-foot Aviary, 35 acres of outdoor botanic gardens—not to mention a butterfly experience and a reptile experience spanning 25,000 square feet each. The development will also encompass schools totaling 325,000 square feet for grades ranging from international Kindergarten-12.
Making the Vision a Reality
Initial construction projects have already commenced on certain segments of Purple Bay. In March 2018, Gafcon plans to kick off the $6.5 billion Phase 2 of the master plan, which will yield the InnoTown business, technology and university hub.
“Purple Bay is a highly walkable community. In Phase 2, we will be tying the residential together with a complete college town experience, including the two existing national universities and a new international university,” Causey said. The University of Southern California has already committed.
Gafcon isn’t alone in the gargantuan undertaking that is Purple Bay. The firm’s team on the project includes architectural firm AVRP Skyport, McCullough Landscape Architecture, marine engineering concern Moffat & Nichol and others.
As noted in World Cities: Mapping the Pathways to Success, a new report by JLL and intelligence firm The Business of Cities, Shanghai is part of the list of established world cities, that registered the fastest growth of any city group in real estate investment over the past cycle.