Plans for a major renovation of an 82-year-old former textile mill in a historic part of China’s Xi'an city will aim to increase tourist activity in the region. The project is to be headed up by Australian company Woods Bagot.
The site, Dahua 1935, currently serves as an historically-inspired tourist spot which already hosts theatres, cinemas, art centres and boutique hotels. The textile mill sits next to the Daming Palace, the imperial home of the Tang Dynasty.
Fosun Group, China’s biggest privately-held conglomerate, has plans to revive the centre, transforming it into an “entertainment destination with a strong retail offering”.
“When it’s complete, Dahua 1935 will set the bar for retail-led historic renovation projects in China and create a world-class retail and entertainment destination for this vibrant city,” Woods Bagot principal Ian Png said.
When completed in 2019, the 65,000sqm space will reopen with a strong retail offering hosting major global and national fashion brands, a new variety of food and beverage outlets, and revitalised arts centre, theatres, museum and hotel.
A new subway station set to open in 2018 and will be the main transport node for visitors.
The factory buildings will be transformed into six individually themed spaces – including a colourful and creative “dream workshop” to inspire ideas and an “amusement workshop” which will feature Fosun’s Cirque du Soleil.
The Chinese conglomerate bought a quarter of Cirque du Soleil in 2012, making it the second-biggest shareholder.
Visitors will also be able to shop for fresh local produce in the “market workshop” and revive themselves in the “power workshop” which will showcase major sports brands. The remaining two zones will be spaces that promote the enjoyment of music, culture and learning.
“These historic buildings already have their own story to tell. We want to let them speak for themselves and then build on that story by writing the next chapter,” Png said.
Founded by “China’s Warren Buffett”, Guo Guangchang, the Fosun Group owns Club Med, along with investments in the entertainment, petroleum and fashion industries.