Songdo International Business District
The $35 billion Songdo International Business District (www.songdoibd.com) is a vibrant city–scale development and free-trade zone in Northeast Asia that has attracted worldwide attention for its leadership in sustainability and “smart” city initiatives.
Songdo IBD is being built on 1,500 acres (6 sq km) of reclaimed land along the Yellow Sea in Incheon, South Korea, by Gale International, a premier international real estate investment and development company headquartered in New York, and POSCO E&C (Engineering & Construction) of Korea, under the governance of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority. Songdo IBD is considered one of the largest public-private real estate ventures in the world. When completed (projected 2020), it will be home to 65,000 residents and 300,000 people will work there daily.
Songdo IBD, approximately the size of downtown Boston, comprises more than 10% of the greater Songdo City area (13,000 acres/53 sq km). The city includes such core components as the Songdo Convensia convention center; the Oakwood Premier Incheon; the Sheraton Incheon; Songdo Central Park; numerous residential, commercial and retail projects; Chadwick International School; the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea; and the 68-story Northeast Asia Trade Tower, which is South Korea’s tallest building.
Songdo IBD is a model for “smart,” sustainable city-scale development. The city is one of Asia's largest green developments and has established itself as a world leader in sustainable design and development. It has adopted the USGBC LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard, boasting 22 million square feet (118 buildings) of LEED-certified space to date, including the clubhouse of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. These achievements make Songdo one of the largest concentrations of LEED certified space in the world. Songdo has become a magnet for technology and service firms: Cisco has designated Songdo one of the company’s “Global Centers of Excellence” for its Internet of Everything (IoE) initiative, in which citywide network infrastructure enables and connects the majority of city systems. In July 2015, Hanjin Group opened the Incheon Creative Economy Innovation Center in Songdo, where IT startups will develop “smart logistics systems.” Furthermore, in October 2012, amid intense international competition, Songdo was selected to host the Secretariat of the newly formed Green Climate Fund, a global fund whose mission is to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter the effects of climate change. An additional dozen international organizations (such as World Bank Korea) have since located to Songdo.
Songdo is making its mark as a global tourism destination, in part due to its proximity to award-winning Incheon International Airport (an 18 minute drive). The city offers business travelers access to more than 60 cities of one-million or more population within a 3.5 hour flight time, and the globe’s most vibrant economic region. The bustling center of downtown Seoul is a mere 35 miles away. Songdo now has more than 1,500 hotel rooms, from traditional Korean hanok guesthouses to modern five-star luxury suites. Currently, Songdo IBD is home to more than 1,000 retail shops, with visitors from the Seoul metropolitan area expected to number more than 1 million this year. Songdo’s dramatic buildings and locales have led it to become Korea’s top location for film, TV, and music shoots, including Psy's “Gangnam Style” video.
The partnership behind Songdo IBD, led by Gale International, has been active in the promotion of Songdo IBD globally. Gale International has spearheaded the efforts to shape Songdo into a “living laboratory,” where both multinational corporations and pioneering smaller companies can “plug in,” test and develop new technologies, and bring these solutions to market. “Smart” technologies developed here are shaping the workplace, home, and the local healthcare, education, security, manufacturing, and transportation sectors, thus creating a new standard in urban quality of life.
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