The $30 billion New Songdo City is the largest private real estate venture in history, with more than $3 billion in construction slated for 2008 alone.
Construction of the city is under way on 1,500 acres (607 ha) of a man-made island totaling 10,000 acres (4,047 ha). The reclaimed land was formed from 110 million cu. yds. (84,101,034 cu m) of rubble and sand dredged from the Yellow Sea at Incheon, South Korea, approximately 40 mi. southwest of Seoul.
The project owner is New Songdo International City Development LLC, a 70/30 joint venture between Gale International, headquartered in Manhattan, and POSCO Engineering & Construction (POSCO E&C), a subsidiary of Korean steel giant POSCO based in Pohang, Korea. Gale International is developing the project.
A coalition of Korean financial institutions led by Seoul’s Shinhan Bank negotiated a loan of $2.7 billion for the project last year, the latest in a series of financings and equity investments.
The city of Incheon and the Republic of Korea’s central government is building more than $10 billion in roads and infrastructure for the project, including a 7.4 mi. (11.9 km) bridge called The Second Airport Bridge linking New Songdo City to Incheon International Airport and a subway spur linking the new city and Seoul.
New Songdo City is the first new city to be built for more than half a century and as part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone will serve as an Asian hub for international trade and finance.
Construction began in 2004 after two years of viability studies carried out by Gale International at a cost of $10 million. Work is on schedule, with a completion date of 2014.
“Currently there are over 15 major mixed use projects in construction,” said Charles Reid, executive vice president, design and construction of Gale International. “These total approximately 10 million square feet with 10 million more in design development. Our total project is a city of 100 million square feet. The plan is to construct 10 to 15 million square feet each year for seven more years.”
When completed New Songdo City will feature:
• 45 million sq. ft. (4,180,637 sq m) for offices
• 5 million sq. ft. (464,515 sq m) of hotel space
• 10 million sq. ft. (929,030 sq m) of public access open areas
• 30 million sq. ft. (2,787091 sq m) of residential space
• 10 million sq. ft. of retail
Amenities will include an international hospital, preparatory school, a water taxi service plying a saltwater canal, museums, a massive two-story mega-mall, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, and hotels including a 300-room, 25-story property.
The international business district will include the $125 million Convensia Convention Center as well as a landscaped 100-acre (40.5 ha) Central Park. The iconic 65-story Northeast Trade Tower will be the tallest building in Korea when completed in 2010.
Many residential units will be ready for occupancy in early 2009. Interest in New Songdo City is so great that in 2005 the line of applicants to purchase one of the 2,500 apartments in 1st World, the first phase of residential construction, stretched for 3 mi. All the apartments were sold in 24 hours for a total of $1 billion. It is estimated about 65,000 people will live in the city and 300,000 will work there.
POSCO E&C has committed to relocating its current headquarters from Seoul to a “tandem” of office buildings totaling more than 1 million sq. ft. (92,903 sq m), and many international commercial ventures are expressing interest in a presence in the city.
In another first, architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC, headquartered in New York and London, undertook the task of designing the master plan of the city before land reclamation was completed. One striking feature of the project is that skyscrapers in New Songdo City will rise on 7-ft. (2.1 m) diameter concrete piles drilled through 108 ft. (32.9 m) of seabed and 23 ft. (7 m) of landfill to a bedrock depth of 56 ft. (17 m).
Impressive Equipment Fleet
The equipment fleet is as impressive as the scope of the project, whose construction involves approximately 1,200 contractor employees with about 5,000 more working for subcontractors.
POSCO E&C is the 1st World residential project contractor. Four 16-ton (14.5 t) Comedil, three 12-ton (10.9 t) Potain, a pair of 10-ton (9 t) Liebherr and four 14-ton (12.7 t) TCI tower cranes are working on this section, aided by six Alimak (two single plus a pair of 2-ton [1.8 t] twin models), 12 one-ton (.9 t) Seil, and four one-ton KyungNam hoists plus two 2-ton KyungNam hoists, rounded out by four Putzmeister CPBs.
The 65-story Northeast Asia Trade Tower is being constructed by Gale International (70 percent) and POSCO E&C (30 percent). Two 24-ton (21.8 t) Liebherr, a 32 Favco, and a 3-ton (2.7 t) Sammok crane as well as a 1.2-ton (1.1 t) Alomak hoist are being used. Three Volvo excavators and a Bobcat loader complete the fleet operating on this part of the project.
POSCO E&C equipment working on the 1.3 million sq. ft. (120,774 sq m) Convention Center includes a 20-ton (18.1 t) BKT tower crane, and a pair apiece of Daewoo and Samsung excavators.
Construction in the D20 sector, where erection of 41-story multi-dwelling housing is under way by GS Engineering & Construction Corporation of Seoul (formerly LG Engineering & Construction Company Ltd.) uses a 150-ton (136 t) Kobelco tower crane. Two Daewoo SCWs and an excavator apiece from Daewoo and Samsung also are in use.
In the D21-1 section, 33-story multi-dwelling housing is being constructed, again by GS E&C.
The company fielded two 80-ton (72.6 t) cranes (Kobelco and Sumitomo) as well as a Nippon (120-ton [109 t]) and a Zeppcine (84-ton [76.2 t]) tower crane, two pairs of Bauer RCDs (1500 and 2000, respectively), one apiece Daewoo and Samsung SCWs, and excavators from Samsung and Hyundai (one of each) and Doosan (two).
In Section D22, a 47-story mixed-use residential complex is being built by POSCO E&C. There four 20-ton (18 t) tower cranes are at work, supported by three Alimak hoists plus four Hyundai and six Volvo excavators.
A Samsung 15-ton (13.6 t) bulldozer, four Mitsu crawler drills, 25 25-ton (22.7 t) dump trucks, and three pumps also are in use by company employees.
Construction of the Central Park and garage was another POSCO E&C job. The company fielded nine Daewoo and six Volvo backhoes along with 24 Hyundai, 11 Daewoo, eight Volvo, two Scania, and six Mercedes-Benz dump trucks, the majority of which are 15-ton (13.6 t) models.
Employees also worked with nine Samsung bulldozers, Halla and Samsung payloaders (one apiece) and a 10-ton (9 t) roller.
Four generators (three 75K from Hyuksung and one 400K from Daewoo) contributed to the job, and in addition, four Samsung pile drivers, three Dongkwang power backs, and a 246-ft. (75 m) boom Daewoo tower crane were used.
The equally large fleet working on infrastructure construction includes:
• Five Doosan backhoes
• Two Daewoo backhoes
• Three Hyundai backhoes
• One Hyundai backhoe
• One Volvo backhoe
• One Caterpillar D3 bulldozer
• Four Samsung bulldozers
• One 80-ton (72.6 t) Hitachi crane
• One 70-ton (63.5 t) Kobelco crane
• Two Liebherr cranes (80 and 120 ton [72.6 and 109 t])
• Two Sumitomo cranes (40 and 77 ton [36.3 and 70 t])
• Three Hyundai cargo cranes
• One Volvo payloader
• Two Samsung shovel loaders
• Two Sumitomo hydraulic compactors
• 25 15-ton (13.6 t) dump trucks (two Samsung, nine Daewoo, and 14 Hyundai)
New City Will Be Green
The U.S. Green Building Council has named New Songdo City a LEED-ND pilot program, one of only three such pilots in Asia. Indeed, New Songdo City is the first to seek LEED-ND certification for an entire city. LEED-ND (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development) certification sets standards not just for “green” construction but also for enhancing and protecting the overall health, natural environment, and quality of life of a community.
“Project design is concentrating on energy efficiency and renewable resources,” noted Gale International’s Reid, “and although a number of projects worldwide have integrated ’green’ features, this will be the first complete city to be certified under the LEED program.”
New Songdo City will be constructed with provisions for recycling sink and shower wastewater for toilet flushing and irrigation uses. Gearless elevator systems will run on a quarter of the energy used in standard models, operating on electricity generated by the movement of their cages. Wireless networks will link information systems via built-in computers in housing, offices, and streets and automatic adjustments to air-conditioning and heating will take place as the weather changes. CEG