Gale Hits Milestone with $35B South Korea Enclave

Realization of the Songdo International Business District, the $35 billion master-planned enclave New York City-based Gale International has been developing in Incheon, South Korea, becomes more tangible with the completion of the 1.3 million-square-foot Songdo Convensia Convention Center, its first building. More structures in the 1,500-acre development are on target to deliver within a year. The $150 million Songdo Convensia (pictured), designed by Kohn Pedersen Architects of New York and London, occupies nearly 25 acres near what will be the city’s 100-acre Central Park. In addition to providing a vast amount of flexible meeting space, the building holds the distinction of having a main exhibition hall that provides one of the largest column-free spaces in Korea. “There exists huge demand for meeting and convention space in Northeast Asia,” a Gale spokesperson told CPN. “The Convention Center will be marketed globally as a destination for not only U.S. and European conventions, but also marketed to businesses in all of Asia. Many meetings are already scheduled for 2008 and 2009.” Conceived as the world’s first city to be designed as an international business district, New Songdo will ultimately feature 50 million square feet of office space, 30 million square feet of residential accommodations, 10 million square feet of retail, five million square feet of hotel accommodations and 10 million square feet of green space. The mix of offerings will include an international school, hospital, ecotarium and museum. Additionally, the city will be thoroughly green; in July 2007, the U.S. Green Building Council accepted the international business district as a pilot project and partner for the organization’s LEED for Neighborhood Development certification. New Songdo is in a prime location, situated approximately 20 minutes from the Incheon International Airport–providing access to one third of the world’s population within three hours flight time–and 40 miles southwest of Seoul. “Songdo IBD’s unique location is a big part of what is driving demand,” the spokesperson said. “It’s located at the epicenter of Northeast Asia’s booming economic region, which contains 60 mega-cities, those with over a million inhabitants. And the city’s designation as a free economic zone, with multinational financial incentives and English as its primary language, makes Songdo IBD a place where the international corporate community can work, live and recreate.” Over the next 12 months, additional buildings will sprout in New Songdo, including the 1.5 million-square-foot Northeast Asia Trade Tower, which, at 65 stories, will be the tallest structure in Korea. Other buildings due to come online within the next year are the International Preparatory School, the 2,500-unit First World residential tower, the Convention Center Hotel and the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. New Songdo is on target to reach full completion in 2014. The city will become home to 65,000 residents, and will serve as the commuting destination for 300,000.