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English>>China Society

Leveled old building gets new lease of life

(Shanghai Daily)

10:57, October 22, 2012

LOCAL cultural heritage authorities have decided to protect the former site and remaining parts of a 150-year-old downtown building that was nearly completely demolished by a developer, ignoring a stop order.

Two adjunct buildings to the dismantled part of Shen's House still remain and the authorities will invite experts to work out a plan to preserve and restore them, the Cultural Heritage Bureau of Huangpu District said in a statement yesterday.

The bureau found that the house built in 1860 actually included four buildings, said Zhou Lijun, a bureau official.

The three-story major wooden structure was torn down by a developer late last week to make way for a new project, but the two smaller buildings hidden behind still remained.

The bureau has stopped the developer who had planned to demolish the other buildings.

Zhou said they may also relocate some important parts of the building to preserve them and eventually exhibit them.

Some residents are still living in the surviving buildings but they said they would move out soon after reaching a final agreement with the district government over relocation.

Shen's House was built by Shen Yisheng, a shipping merchant from southeast China's Fujian Province, during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was one of the most luxurious homes in the city at the time.

The heritage bureau said it was awaiting final approval for listing the house as a protected building when it was dismantled. Since it had yet to be listed as a protected cultural relic, the bureau could not take legal action against the developer.

Meanwhile, bureau officials are also moving to protect another downtown structure marked for demolition that could be the former factory building of China's earliest gourmet powder manufacturer.

The Aotu Mansion on 330 Shunchang Road in Huangpu is the former site of the Tianchu Gourmet Powder Plant. The country's first gourmet powder factory built in 1923 broke the monopoly of Japanese gourmet powder, known as ajinomoto, on the Chinese market.

However, the building, along with other structures in the block, are to be torn down, according to official plans.
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