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SUWON, KOREA-Korea’s first vertical mall development, a $375-million endeavor, opened recently in Suwon, a historical city of two million people located south of Seoul.

Designed by Seattle-based Callison Architecture, the 1.5 million-sf regional mixed-use center is a public-private-partnership project with one of Korea’s biggest conglomerates, Aekyung Group of Companies, whose two key areas of operation are manufacturing and retail mixed-use developments. The project was conceived as a “civic living room” for the multiple ages and diverse lifestyles that make up the Suwon urban environment. The city has a large population of students from the many surrounding universities and the area in general is expected to grow in every age group.

Suwon Gateway Plaza is anchored by a 230,000-sf Aekyung department store and integrated with heavily used Suwon Railway Station via a multi-story truss system spanning the railroad tracks that was designed by Seattle-based structural engineers Skilling, Ward, Magnusson, Barkshire. The center is divided into three distinct zones: the Lifestyle/Fashion zone, provided in the department store; the Gateway zone created by the railway station; and, the Adventure zone that includes the entertainment offerings of a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, and cultural center.

“Suwon Gateway Plaza is the first and largest of its kind in Korea to offer the tenant mix, public spaces, and amenities, such as a food court and entertainment center all in one location,” stated Bill Karst, Callison’s Chief Executive Officer.

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