Archives for Kobe

Kobe to restore 82-year old town hall

Kobe Municipal Mikage Town Hall 1Kobe City will soon carry out earthquake-retrofitting work on the historic Kobe Municipal Mikage Town Hall. The hall will close in early 2016 and will reopen in 2017. Although it survived the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake, a building inspection in 2008 found that it did not meet current earthquake codes.

With the urging of local residents, the city plans to retain as much of the historic exterior and interior as possible. Retrofitting and repairs are expected to cost 1.597 billion Yen (13.2 million USD). Read More

Kobe forcibly demolishes condemned building

Kobe FutatabisujichoThe Kobe City Government began the forced demolition of a dilapidated and abandoned building in Futatabisujicho, Chuo-ku in May. This is the second time since 2010 that the city has carried out a forced demolition. 

The 2-storey wood-framed building was built sometime in the 1950s ~ 1960s. The exterior walls were cracked and the building was beginning to collapse. Nearby residents were concerned that it could collapse and damage neighbouring homes and petitioned the city in 2010 to take action.

The city tried to contact the owners – one of whom had already died – but the surviving owner ignored all of the city’s correspondence and requests. The city eventually decided to carry out the demolition without the owner’s permission due to the hazard posed by the building. The surviving owner will be billed for 50% of the 1.4 million Yen in demolition costs.

According to recent estimates, there are over 90 buildings in Kobe City that are deemed hazardous.

The Building Standards Act has provisions which allow the forced demolition of privately-owned homes and buildings if they are deemed to pose a danger to the community and the owners ignore requests to take action.

Source: The Sankei Shimbun, May 21, 2014.

Japan Pearl Center at risk of demolition

Japan Pearl Center Kobe 2

The owners of the Japan Pearl Center building, a well-known modernist building in Kobe’s old foreign settlement area, recently announced that they are considering demolishing the 62-year old building.

The four-storey building was designed by architect Yoshimitsu Mitsuyasu completed in 1952. It was built by Hyogo Prefecture as a centre for the local pearl industry. It was fitted out with fluorescent lighting, which was very new at the time. The building survived the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake which devastated much of the city. Read More

[Foreclosed] 1898 Ijinkan in Kitanocho, Kobe

Kobe Ijinkan Foreclosed

*Update: The property was withdrawn from the auction. This can occur when the creditor/s are either paid the outstanding debt or reach an agreement with the borrower. 

The former Moore residence in Kobe’s historic Kitanocho district will go up for public auction this month with bidding starting from 45.6 million Yen (442,000 USD). 

The 2-storey western-style residence was built in 1898, with an extension to the rear added in 1980. It fronts onto Kitano Street, which is a popular spot for tourists.

Both the exterior and fence that face the street have been identified by Kobe City’s Board of Education as traditional structures and any exterior alterations require permission (internal modifications, however, are allowed).  Read More

Daiwa House to demolish modernist building in Kobe

Osaka Gas Shinkaichi Building Kobe 3

An example of Japan’s pre-war modernist architecture is slated for demolition in February. The former Osaka Gas Shinkaichi Building in Chuo-ku, Kobe, has survived WWII firebombing raids and the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake, but is unlikely to survive the urban redevelopment as it will soon be replaced by an apartment building.  Read More

Procter & Gamble Japan to sell Rokko Island HQ

P&G Japan Rokko Island BuildingProcter & Gamble Japan announced on January 8 that they will be selling their head office building in Rokko Island, Kobe, for an undisclosed sum. The buyer is Kobe-based trading and consulting firm Kengoo Group. 

The 30-storey building was completed in 1993. It has a total floor area of 43,500 sqm and is on a 7100 sqm block of land.

P&G will continue renting the building from the new owner before relocating to a new office in Sannomiya in early 2016.

Source: The Kobe Shimbun, January 8, 2014.

Kobe’s Jonas Residence to be torn down after sale falls through

Kobe Shioya Jonas ResidenceThe final bid to save the former Jonas Residence in Shioya, Kobe, from demolition has failed after the possible buyer backed out of discussions.

In late September a renewable energy-related company began negotiations with the seller – developer Anabuki Kosan – to purchase the historic house and land. Unfortunately the two parties could not come to an agreement on the sale price and the buyer walked away from the deal on October 10. Read More

Kobe Jonas Residence to be purchased by energy company

The 94-year old Jonas Residence in Kobe may have been saved from demolition as a renewable energy company have entered into negotiations to purchase the property at the eleventh hour.

Earlier this year it was announced that the historic property would be demolished to make way for a 12-storey apartment building. Local preservationists sprung into action and convinced the owner/developer Anabuki Kosan to postpone demolition. Anabuki agreed that they would delay demolition until October, and would consider selling the property for 360 million Yen if a buyer was found by the end of September.  Read More

Last chance to save the Jonas Residence

Demolition of the historic Jonas Residence has been pushed back to October as the current owner is prepared to sell the house and land for 360 million Yen (approximately 3.6 million USD) if a buyer can be found.

Developer Anabuki Kosan purchased the waterfront property earlier this year and plan to tear it down and replace it with a 10-storey apartment building. Read More

Kobe City to urge developer to protect Jonas Residence

The local assembly of the Kobe City Council have accepted a petition submitted by local residents fighting to save the former Jonas Residence in Kobe from demolition.

The property was recently purchased by a developer who has plans to demolish it and replace it with an apartment building. The developer has already postponed demolition until the end of June, but the committee will put pressure on the council to urge the developer to preserve the building or at least postpone demolition to a later date.  Read More