8City is not the subject of the new Star Wars movies, but South Korea’s plans for a gigantic $280 billion mega-city complex on the islands of Yongyu-Muui, next to Incheon International Airport. Believe it or not, what now is just a small fishing village off South Korea’s western coast, in 20 years now it will be unrecognizable. Covering 80 square kilometers (about 31 square miles), the mammoth new tourism hub is said to be the most ambitious project since the Egyptian pyramids onwards.
If the designers manage to complete this development until 2030 as they proposed, it would be the largest single architectural plans on the planet, which would dethrone the extravagant tourist mecca in the Middle East, Dubai, and would be three times bigger than the gambling heaven of Macau, a major tourism destination in China (which is approximately 28.2 square kilometers). As the vice chairman of EIGHTCITY Co., the developer of the project, said, “it will become the world’s top city that has the creativity of Dubai, convention centers and casinos of Las Vegas and Macau, as well as the shopping centers and financial hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore.” Impressive, isn’t it?
According to mass media, Korea’s latest project will be the new hot spot tourist destinations in the world, an all in one destination that will attract about 134 million tourists annually, taking into consideration that at the moment 5.7 million passengers pass through Incheon International Airport each year. This will create 930,000 new decent jobs in the services sector, providing a vibrant boost to the local economy. When it will be finished, it is expected that more than 350,000 people to reside in. Plans for the city include both leisure and travel facilities from luxury hotels, condominiums, shopping centres, casinos to theme parks, a water park, a 50,000-seat concert hall, a medical tourism-based “healing town” and a “hallyu town” introducing Korean entertainment, and even a Formula One racing track.
Symbolizing good fortune in Chinese culture, the number “8” is present both in the development’s name and architecture. The main landmarks of this mega-city will be the ‘Inner Circle’ – a “smart” tubular 14-kilometer building along the coast and the ‘Megastrip, which as 200 meters high, 880 meters wide and 3.3 kilometers long will be the world’s largest building. Housing facilities and tourist attractions, the Megastrip will have a gross surface area of 4.85 square kilometers, larger than Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 and also larger than the Boeing Everett Factory’s usable floor space.
Due to its “astronomical” scale and enormous budget, there are of course some questions about its economic feasibility and the posibility to come to fruition such a project. Incheon City officials announced the cost to be project to be around ₩300 trillion, or US$275 billion, the massive undertaking being expected to be financed by the city and both foreign and domestic investors. They say they have already attracted about $3.8 billion in investments. But that’s just only drop in the bucket considering the high ambitions and expectations.
Photos © 8CITY