Sports stadium and mall likely to replace old Tsukiji fish market

Tsukiji Fish Market 3

According to insiders at a major Japanese real estate company, a sports stadium and shopping mall are being considered as a replacement for the former Tsukiji fish market site in downtown Tokyo.

The famous 80-year old fish market is scheduled to move to its new location on Shin-Toyosu Island in Tokyo Bay in early November 2016, leaving a 23 hectare site prime for redevelopment. The outer market, which has retail and restaurants catering to the general public, will remain in its current location, while the wholesale market will move to a much larger site in Shin-Toyosu.

After the move, demolition of the old market buildings will begin in order to make way for the Arterial Ring Road No. 2, which will pass through the southern part of the site. This road, which is currently under construction, will provide additional traffic links between the bayside islands and the centre of Tokyo.

Tsukiji Fish Market 2

Tokyo’s Bureau of Urban Development, which is responsible for the former Tsukiji site, said that future plans for the site were still under discussion, and any current plans would likely involve a temporary bus terminal to operate during the 2020 Olympics.

Future use of the site has been a contentious topic for several years. In 2014 some media reports suggested the site would be the home of Japan’s first casino, however the governor of Tokyo later squashed any hopes of a casino in the city and the gambling legalisation debate has been put on the back burner. If a casino development is ever approved, it is unlikely to be in the city centre, and is more likely to be somewhere out in the bay area where it might draw less opposition.

The cost of relocating the fish market has been estimated at around 392.6 billion Yen. To help cover these costs, there have been suggestions that the city would sell the land in Tsukiji to private developers.

According to insiders, the most likely development for the site will be sports and retail facilities. Apparently several major real estate developers have already started preparing submissions which include a 40,000-seat baseball / soccer stadium which would begin construction after the 2020 Olympics. Neighbouring facilities would include movie theatres, restaurants and hotels.

Anyone hoping to snag a bargain in anticipating of gentrification and future price rises might be disappointed to find that local landowners are well-aware of the area’s potential and those that have even contemplated selling have already started to ask high prices. A 2-storey, pre-war shop building on a 225 sqm block of commercial zoned land in the outer market can be bought for approximately 2 billion Yen (16.8 million USD), which works out to around 9,000,000 Yen per square meter (7,000 USD/sq.ft) for the freehold land.

In February 2015, Chuo Mayor Yoshihide Yada indicated a preference for sporting facilities, and maybe even a theme park, rather than office and apartments.

One issue, however, is that the Tsukiji site lacks adequate public transport options. This is something that the city is currently considering as transport will need to be improved immensely if the site is to become a sports entertainment destination.

Tsukiji Fish Market 4

The original Tsukiji Fish Market in an undated photograph via Gocho Construction Industry.
Shin Toyosu Fish Market
The new fish market in Shin-Toyosu (currently under construction).

Source: Sports Hochi, January 6, 2016.

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