The Asaya Department store in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, is scheduled to be demolished with work expected to begin by the end of this year. The city purchased the site from the former owner and have plans for redevelopment.
The 3-storey art deco building was constructed by Yasuzo Kida and completed in 1934. The store was opened by the former owner’s great grandfather and was the first department store in Gunma Prefecture. After the war it apparently had a ferris wheel on the rooftop.
The department store closed for business in 1964 and the building was leased out. In May, 2007, it was registered as a National Tangible Cultural Property. The previous owner sought ways to preserve the building’s status, but due to a worsening financial situation he has decided to demolish the building and sell the vacant land. The building is also at risk in an earthquake.
In August, 2010, the owner submitted a request through the City’s Board of Education to have the building removed from the national register of cultural properties and sold the land to Maebashi City.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, December 5, 2010
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