Shuwa Aoyama Residence redevelopment to start in 2021

Nomura Real Estate Development and Asahi Kasei Realty & Residence have received official approval from Shibuya City Council for the formation of the redevelopment committee for the 56-year old Shuwa Aoyama Residence condominium.

Built in 1964, the 8-story Shuwa Aoyama Residence was the very first of the ‘Shuwa Residence’ series of apartments. They were developed by Shuwa Corporation, which filed for bankruptcy in 2000. The earlier buildings are easily identified by their often blue tiled roofs and white stucco exteriors, although the Aoyama one is quite different in design. The architect was Yoshinobu Ashihara. He also designed the Ginza Sony Building (now demolished) and the Komazawa Gymnasium.

Despite the age of many of these buildings, they have somewhat of a cult following. When these buildings were first developed in the 1960s, buying a privately-developed apartment was somewhat of a luxury for consumers. They were considered upscale for the time, with Andalusian-style decor, iron railings, and hotel-like entrances.

Redevelopment discussions began back in 2014 in response to the ageing of the building and its insufficient earthquake resistance. Deterioration of the building had worsened over the years, with issues of water leaks, and poor sound and heat insulation. A total building overhaul did not seem a reasonable option. Both Nomura and Asahi Kasei stepped in to assist the homeowners association with reconstruction planning. 

This is the first building in Shibuya Ward to receive approval for the special floor-area ratio allowance system introduced in 2014 under the Condominium Redevelopment Act. This system provides additional floor space when rebuilding an older building that did not meet current earthquake codes. The first project to receive approval under this system was The Parkhouse Mita Tower project in 2017. The Shuwa Aoyama Residence redevelopment received a floor-area ratio bump from 500% to 655.40%. This has created much-needed floor space that can be sold by the developers to help cover the costs of reconstruction. 

Demolition of the old building is scheduled to start in August 2021. The new building will be completed by February 2025. The total floor space of the new building will be 19,037 sqm, double the size of the old one. Apartments will range in size from 44 ~ 121 sqm (the older apartments were 42 ~ 174 sqm).

Condominium redevelopments are often a difficult and long-drawn-out process. It requires at least 4/5ths of the apartment owners to agree to the redevelopment. This can sometimes prove close-to-impossible when there are elderly residents who have no desire to move out or be bought out. The financial cost is another issue. Either the homeowners association has to have the funds available to pay for the reconstruction themselves, or they need to bring on a developer who can sell the new floorspace created to fund the project. Creating extra floor space for a developer to sell is only possible in rarer cases where the older building is much smaller than what current zoning allows.


3-3-10 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Source: Nomura Real Estate Holdings Press Release, September 16, 2020.

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