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Foreign pavilions may stay
Date: 2010/11/12 Click: 1529
Expo organizers in discussions as architects begin evaluating buildings

A number of foreign pavilions at Expo 2010 Shanghai are expected to remain on their original sites as event organizers decide the fate of these structures.

In an interview with local television, Shanghai Party Chief Yu Zhengsheng said Expo organizers would negotiate with countries if they wish to have their pavilions stay in Shanghai permanently.

It is the first time organizers have spoken openly about the fate of foreign pavilions, some of which cost tens of millions of dollars and were on display for only half a year.

"More than 10 pavilions have the possibility to be kept, which means they have a good foundation and are structurally solid," the city's top leader said. Experts from the Architectural Society of China were invited to evaluate the look and structure of the buildings, he added.

The plan for redeveloping the site will also be considered, Yu said. According to the original plan, only a few structures will remain after the Expo, which ended on Oct 31, those being the China Pavilion, Theme Pavilion, Cultural Center, Expo Center and Expo Boulevard.

All foreign pavilions were to be dismantled and the site redeveloped, but some countries wanted to keep their pavilions in Shanghai, or elsewhere in China, as a testament to their friendship with the host country.

Italy is in discussions with organizers on keeping its structure on site and may sign contracts next week, its pavilion news officer Marianna Drago said on Wednesday.

France expressed its wish as early as 2007 to have its pavilion remain in China.

But the US Pavilion, for which the world's largest economy scrambled together $61 million from corporate funding for construction and operation, is unlikely to stay, according to the US commissioner-general to the Expo Jose Villarreal, who cited the rules of organizers.

During the interview, Party Chief Yu also said the government would not profit from redeveloping the site, a 5.28-sq-km plot composed of two parts in Pudong and Puxi.

The Pudong site, around 3.93 sq km, will be redeveloped into an area composed of cultural, exhibition and commercial facilities, according to Yu.

"We hope the income from transferring the land of the Pudong site will be equivalent to the expenditure that the government made on dismantling old buildings and relocating residents from the Pudong plot," Yu said.

If the proceeds from selling the land exceed expenditures, the government will reduce the amount of land to be sold and instead build more public rental buildings or facilities serving the public.

More than 10,000 households were relocated from Pudong to make way for the largest Expo in history, which attracted 73 million visitors.

The government has yet to decide on the redevelopment of the Puxi site, Yu said, but he was quick to add that the plan would follow the principles of low carbon, energy saving and serving the public.
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