Top of City Relocated Citizens Hit Paydirt

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 10:43

Top of CityTo make way for all of the new shiny buildings in Shanghai, Beijing, and other cities, it more often than not will involve the relocation of existing residents. There are dozens of stories in the press about citizens getting the short end of the stick in land grabs, and there have been a few famous cases of nailhouses (residents that refuse to move) in Chongqing and other cities.

At the most recent Crossroads movie event, this was in fact the topic of the film Shanghai – Waiting for Paradise.. which chronicled the lives of several generations living in soon to building World Expo site. for them, all went well on the negotiation side, but the social dynamics of the process was fascinating.

Recently though, I found out about one project where being relocated appears to have been a good thing.

Top of City is one of Puxi’s more prominent developments, and it sits on what used to be lane houses (as seen in the picture above) that were between 3-5 stories.

It is located in the heart of the city, Top of City offers nice layouts, has a lot of convenient services (food and drink) on nearby Dagu Road, and it is popular with foreigners. At the height of the boom 2 years ago, it was one of the most expensive communities in the area..

Top of City is actually two developments in one. On the eastern side, there is a grouping of about 10 buildings that are all architecturally the same. They have a very nice pond and walking path in the compound, and the guards are quite friendly.

As the story goes,  there are 2 seperate towers (highlighted in yellow) that sit next to the freeway and also bear the name Top of City. They are not the same design, they do not share the same park, and they don’t have guards, and even though the buildings were built by the same developer as part of the same development, they are a grade or two apart…  To make the seperation of the developments more official (or perhaps to guard the new residents from the squirrelly old ones), there is a nice fence with a guard station between the two “properties”Apparently, these are the buildings that were built for those who formerly resided on the property before Top of City moved in. Far from being settled into the middle of Pudong (I prefer PuJersey or Pudamn), these residents were actually given an opportuniy to remain in the area.. and for a very nice price.

While Top of the City debuted at between 12,000 – 16,000RMB/ m, these buildings were offered at 5,000 to relocated residents… and it did not take long for prices to come close to parity (Top of the City is currently at 40,000+ while Top Lite is at 30,000+).

With friends in both developments, it is clear that one of the oldest rules in real estate held true. It is better to be the cheapest unit surroudned by expensive units rather than the other way around. Sure, initial investors into Top have made 3-4x their money… but those that were relocated did far better.

So, chalk one up for the good guys this time. Cause Top of City’s done their community well.

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One Response to “Top of City Relocated Citizens Hit Paydirt”

  1. Emily says:

    December 7th, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I stayed in the relocation housing section of the Top of the City as a halfpat. The rent was affordable relative to the newer development, and I didn’t need the frills. The location was great and it worked out very well for everyone. My landlord did very well out of the relocation housing. I think she bought it at 5000 psm or less, and she probably broke even on the investment within a couple of years. Like many Shanghainese, they live in a nice apartment elsewhere, and collect good rent from foreigners. First comer advantage I suppose.