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Prison to make way for a multipurpose center

By Zhao Wen   (Shanghai Daily)

09:36, May 28, 2013

Tilangqiao Prison, Shanghai's only downtown jail, will be preserved but rebuilt into a multipurpose complex housing business, culture and commercial office buildings, the Shanghai Planning and Land Resources Administration said yesterday.

Established in 1903, Tilanqiao Prison takes up an area of some 33,285 square meters in the city's northeast Hongkou District. It still holds inmates now.

Guan Weiyong, chairman of the Hongkou District People's Political Consultative Conference, urged the city government to relocate the prison in the commercially-strong North Bund area as it is was obstructing the overall development of the zone.

"Tilanqiao Prison will become a "lonely island" in the area and influence the overall image and investment environment of the North Bund area if it still remains there," Guan said.

Guan submitted his proposal with the support of several other political advisors at the end of 2011 but did not get any reply from the city.

In January this year, Guan and five other political advisers submitted the proposal again at the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Shanghai, restating that the 110-year-old prison was severely hampering development of the area.

In its reply, the administration said it had carried out a research in 2012 to study how to use the land if the prison was relocated.

"Considering the functional purpose of the North Bund area, industrial development and the neighboring residential complexes, we suggested the prison be used as a tourist and cultural center, supported by commercial and business centers and community services," the planning administration said.

Alternative plans include a prison museum, legal education base, creative design industry, commercial office buildings and community library.

"Since Tilanqiao Prison is an important state-level cultural relic, the venue should be preserved with its original taste and flavor while its historic and educational value should be fully explored," the administration said.

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