Designed by famed architect Togo Murano and built in 1959, Yokohama’s former City Hall is still awaiting a final decision on its fate, with some arguing that it is underpriced.

The municipality had a deadline of September 30, 2021 to sign the contract for the old town hall building, but local residents were critical of the low sale price that had been agreed.

In 2020 city offices moved to a new 155 meter high office tower one kilometer north. In 2019, a joint venture of eight developers was selected to redevelop the 16,000 m² site of the former municipal office, replacing the old buildings with a tall office tower with a university on the lower floors. The Murano-designed modernist building would be preserved and converted into a hotel. Surprisingly, the city had no specific request to save the modernist building. Coincidentally, the winning proposal, of the three proposals submitted, was the renovation of the existing building.

The sale price for the five old office buildings was 77 million yen, with the land to be leased under a fixed-term lease of 77 years with an annual land rent of 210 million yen (US$1.88 million). The country is said to have a market value of 17.9 billion yen ($161 million), with some arguing that the annual land rent is extremely low and that the buildings were also underpriced.

The redevelopment is estimated to cost about 50 billion yen (US$448 million).

Source: The Asahi Shimbun, September 29, 2021.

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