Gemdale Properties & Investment Getting down to Cultural Creativity, a Forgotten Old Plant Becomes a Place Popular on the Internet

From: Time Weekly

Standing quietly on a bustling street in Huangpu District, Shanghai, feeling the charm of collisions between its history and modernity, you can find a park transformed from an old plant leaps to the eyes. Without the booming noise of machines, the loud noise of people or dust flying in the air, this abandoned plant has morphed into a low-density and low-plot-ratio ecological creative industry park.

It goes by the name of Shanghai – Qike Weixin No.8 Bridge (hereinafter referred to as “No.8 Bridge”), a flagship project of cultural and creative real estate developed by Qike Weixi, a subsidiary of Gemdale Properties & Investment, and one of the first creative industry parks in Shanghai.

Covering a total building area of over 60,000 m2 in downtown Shanghai, the No.8 Bridge project consists of 24 buildings of different styles built after new China, including industrially transformed buildings and distinctive contemporary buildings.

No.8 Bridge in Shanghai

Covering a total building area of over 60,000 m2 in downtown Shanghai, the No.8 Bridge project consists of 24 buildings of different styles built after new China, including industrially transformed buildings and distinctive contemporary buildings.

Knowledge-based industries, such as architecture, home furnishings, design, advertising, film, and technology, have taken root here, regarding No.8 Bridge as a totem, a symbol and hope and expectation for the future. More than 5000 outstanding cultural and creative talents have been attracted here to start business or learn more expertise from one another.

Since the beginning, No.8 Bridge has grown fast all the way, writing a new cultural pattern with culture as the channel and creativity as the vein, releasing a cultural magnetic field of its own. Moreover, it has started an upsurge of old plant transformation and creative industry park development in Shanghai and even the whole country.

Openness and Inclusiveness

The reason why No.8 Bridge can achieve success is that it has eliminated the pain spot of cultural creativity and met the needs of enterprises.

The word “bridge” in the project name provides some information. The bridge implies a connective corridor of creativity between the domestic and international, considered a cultural symbol and a platform for communication.

Shanghai No.8 Bridge

Times Weekly learns from Qike, the operator of No.8 Bridge, that they considered building an overhead bridge between every two office buildings during project reconstruction so that the enterprises in the park could communicate with one another freely.

The “bridge” also links history with the future.

The region where Phase II, III, and IV of No.8 Bridge are located is also the birthplace of China’s modern industry. It was home to the Shanghai Auto Brake, Shenbei Machine Plant, White Elephant Battery Plant and Yarn-dyed Fabric Mill III. Transformation is not demolition or reconstruction of the old buildings, but construction of a creative and design industry park in the old plant.

Before and after transformation

In other words, fashionable and creative elements are injected into the historic relics, making it a cultural and creative park composed of an office space, exhibition hall, creative bazaar and salon platform.

No. 8 Bridge is considered to be user-friendly for two reasons: first, it boasts excellent park facilities and environments, such as an ecological office community, a divisible office space and a leisurely, comfortable outdoor green space; the second is the industry agglomeration based on the integration of industrial resources, and industrial activities, carried out for communication and collaboration, have formed a unique park culture. From different angles, No.8 Bridge has truly built the industry into a high-quality living space that is significantly different from traditional office buildings and more suitable for the creative design industries.

Top companies from all kinds of creative industries have settled in No.8 Bridge, directly making No.8 Bridge the first creative industry park model of Shanghai. Today, No.8 Bridge is a gathering place for many global top companies, such as DYSON UK, Herman Miller, the world’s second largest office furniture manufacturer, LKK, China’s only to carry off four international top design awards, and GREY group, a subsidiary of the world’s second largest advertising communication group WPP. No.8 Bridge is not only a representative of fashion, but also the birthplace of innovative ideas. In recent years, leading Chinese high-end communication group Modern Communication and international music & video social network platform have settled in No.8 Bridge too. Thus far, more than 70% of the enterprises in the park specialize in architectural and interior design, industrial design, advertising media and network technology innovation.

Urban Activation

No.8 Bridge is not a patronizing cultural and creative park project.

It is an open space. The Time Weekly learns that at the beginning of the transformation, the operator considered connecting the park to the surrounding old communities in an attempt to activate the whole region and decorate the public leisure space with great care. The new functions of the project have appeared one by one, including commercial facilities, small green spaces, and a leisure square.

But the project much more features. On a more macro strategic dimension, No.8 Bridge has pushed the development of the enterprises in the park, the development of industries and its own development to a new level to promote spatial development and industrial construction at the same time.

DYSON, which is achieving continual growth in the park, is a good example. This company had only 20 employees when it settled in the park in 2013. Over the years, No.8 Bridge has not only provided an office space for it, but mobilized resources to help it gain more resources under the policy, and supported it in founding an R%D center in China.

No.8 Bridge also has another highlight: a new cooperation model, by which professional social capital has been introduced for sharing by multiple parties. For example, investors including the US AG Fund and Pingan have been introduced into the park.

Its industry operation mode is in line with the development trend of stock transformation in Shanghai.

In fact, the idea of urban renewal is taking root in this city. Through transformation and operation, the old plant plants have been rebuilt into ecological office parks and promoted the formation of an industrial chain.

Activities in No.8 Bridge

Such transformation and renovation, originating inside the city, has changed the look of Shanghai in the past few years. Once a model similar to No.8 Bridge’s gets mature and promoted, it means that the city of Shanghai will greatly accelerate the space of its renewal.

On another dimension, when some cities are expanding their territory to contend for human resources, Shanghai has started a practical exploration by putting the concepts of human orientation, cultural context, ecology and industrial upgrading together. No. 8 bridge is such a typical example.

Gemdale Weixin—a Partner of Chinese Industrial Development

In terms of product line deployment on the industrial platform, Gemdale Weixin focuses on building a “two-wheel-driven” product line. The so-called “two-wheel” refers to the urban industrial park and characteristic town. The urban industrial park refers to the high-tech R&D industry-based Weixin R&D Park, such as the Shenzhen Weixin Software Technology Park; the intelligent manufacturing industry-based Weixin Intelligent Manufacturing Park, such as the Gemdale Weixin Jiading Intelligent Manufacturing Park in Shanghai; the cultural and creative industry-based Weixin Cultural and Creative Industry Park, such as Shanghai No.8 Bridge.

In terms of geographical layout, Gemdale Weixin aims to “deep-plow China with the world in view”. In China, economically developed regions, including the Bohai Economic Rim, Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone, Pearl River Delta Economic Zone and core urban agglomerations, are breakthrough points. Currently, a total investment of over 10 billion yuan has been made in some first-tier cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Nanjing, and some strong second-tier cities. Especially, 7 projects have been started up as industry parks in Shanghai. In addition, the company has also implemented industry projects in New York, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles, etc.

Industrial Layout of Gemdale Properties & Investment

Besides, the company will actively build a global industry alliance to promote domestic and international industry exchanges by cooperating with world-renowned universities, industry associations and incubators. Moreover, financial capital has been introduced into Gemdale Properties & Investment’s industrial platform. For instance, US fund company Apollo has been introduced into the domestic industry park, developing and issuing China’s first cultural and creative asset-securitization product—Shanghai No.8 Bridge ABS.

Gemdale Weixin is committed to providing industrial development platform for the city. Relying on Gemdale Properties & Investment’s ability to develop and operate diverse industries and financial capital strength, Gemdale Weixin has positioned itself as a “partner of Chinese industrial development”.

In the future, Gemdale Properties & Investment will introduce the idea of “full-scenario service” into the Gemdale Weixin Industry Park to build a new generation of full-scenario service-based industry park around the new trend of industrial development, aimed at building an  interconnected and win-win industrial ecosphere.