Archives for Kobe

116-year old building in Kobe to be razed by developer

Familiar Hall Kobe 1

One of Kobe’s earliest western-style buildings has been sold to a developer and will be demolished to make way for a high-rise apartment building. The property, which was sold along with an adjoining block of land, had a price tag of several billion Yen.

‘Familiar Hall’ was built in 1900 as the Kobe branch office of the Mitsubishi Bank (now known as the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ). In 1973, the Mitsubishi bank branch was closed, and in 1977 the building and land was sold to Familiar – an apparel company. Read More

Kobe to redevelop No. 2 City Hall

Kobe City Hall 1

Kobe City is considering demolishing and rebuilding the ageing No. 2 City Hall.  Demolition could start as early as this year.

The No. 2 Building was completed in 1957. It originally had 8 floors, but the upper floors were removed after suffering catastrophic damage during the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. The magnitude 7.3 earthquake caused the 6th floor of the building to collapse under the weight of the floors above. Rather than demolish the building, the 6th, 7th and 8th floors were removed, and the building went back into use from March 1996 onwards. Read More

$100 million resort for Kobe’s Mount Rokko

Rokkosan Resort 7

Nagoya-based Resorttrust, Inc. announced plans to open a members-only resort hotel in Kobe’s Rokkosan area. “XIV Rokko Sanctuary Villa” will be a 48-room resort with Japanese restaurant, bar, spa, and shops. It is scheduled to open in March 2018.

The resort has been designed by KKS Group, a specialist architectural firm that has designed numerous hotels around the world including several Shangri-La and Hilton Hotels, the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya, and the Capitol Hotel Tokyu in Tokyo. The design of the hotel is said to be the ‘Imperial Modern’ style which can be seen in some of the old and grand estates in Japan from the early 1900s. Frank Lloyd Wright’s former Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, and the former Maeda Residence in Meguro were said to be the inspiration behind the design. Read More

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