Upgrade for iconic Huaihai Road shopping street


Street shops and department stores on Huaihai Road M.

Shanghai's landmark Huaihai Road M. will reshape its commercial format to revive its historical reputation as the "Oriental Paris Fashion Street" on par with the Champs Elysees and Fifth Avenue.

The Huangpu District government yesterday released a new master plan for the commercial arrangements along the over century-old legendary road, which aims to become an "elegant and fashion commercial street with global influence."

The upgraded commercial street will mainly attract overseas tourists, elite returnees, expats, nostalgic middle-class and the Generation Z youth, which refers to those born between 1996 and 2010, according to the blueprint released by the Huangpu District Commerce Commission.

The road will feature new landmark shopping centers gathering flagship stores of luxury brands and preserved historical residences with Shanghai-style ambiance, along with the nation's biggest electronic art gallery and the city's largest art park, said Li Guangyu, senior partner of McKinsey & Company, who is planning the makeover.

The over 2-kilometer-long Huaihai Road M. was known as Route Paul Brunat when it was built in 1900. It was better known for another name Avenue Joffre, after the French marshal Joseph Joffre (1852-1931) in June 1915. It gained its current name in 1949 to commemorate the Huaihai Campaign, one of the three decisive campaigns in the War of Liberation (1945-1949).

During its over 120 years of development, the road has witnessed the blending of east and west cultures as well as the development of the Communist Party of China.

The city's first computer shop, beauty salon, fast food restaurant and first fashion show opened on the road. The street is still synonymous with elegance, extravagance and fashion.

The 90-year-old Cathay Theater on Huaihai Road M.

However, the development of the commercial street is impeded by its current "dumbbell-shape" format.

The popular Xintiandi and iapm mall are on both sides of the road, while the middle section lacks further development for humanity and history, innovation as well as connected highlights, said Li.

According to the blueprint, the Huaihai Road M. will become more "humanistic, futuristic and integrated." It will become the window of China's commercial power.

The road will be divided into four sections, themed on the "Shanghai-style fashion," "Quality life," "Art and culture" and "Fulltime trendy."

Key new projects include an upmarket shopping center to gather top luxury brands. The 5- or 6-story landmark complex to cover about 4,000 square meters will blend stores, an art gallery and a rooftop cafe.

The garden on Huaihai and Maoming roads will open to the public as a "slow-life garden," surrounded by advanced customization stores and traditional tailors' workshops.

The Fuxing Electronic Art Center, to become China's biggest e-art gallery, will display artworks combined with cutting-edge technologies. The nearby Fuxing Art Park will have iconic installations, public performances and community activities. An art bazaar will be developed on the Yandang Road pedestrian street. The exiting skywalks and other public space will become an "urban balcony" for sightseeing and other public activities.

Shen Shanzhou, the director of Huangpu, said the new round of development on Huaihai Road M. aims to include the whole block and surrounding backstreets into the commercial hub. "It will be a trendy social space and laboratory for commercial innovations, on par with the Xintiandi."

Many time-honored brands on the road will also be upgraded. The Shanghai Lady Fashion Department Store, for instance, will become a Her Power Station.

A Japanese rock garden in the K11 shopping center on Huaihai Road M.

Roberto Sergi, general manager of Italian brand Pinko in Asia Pacific, said the brand has opened franchise stores on famous commercial streets, including Huaihai Road. "The store on Huaihai Road will not only offer customer services but also show the culture and history of the brand," he said.

Bianca Pestralozzi, Asia Pacific general manager of Swiss sports brand On, said its total sales is expected to increase by 1.4 times on year in 2022 with a store in Taiguhui on Huaihai Road and other franchise stores in the city.

Huaihai Road M. is one of the two major shopping streets in downtown Shanghai. The other is Nanjing Road E. Compared with the touristy Nanjing Road, the Huaihai Road is more upscale and a preferred destination of local residents with over 10 time-honored brands.

The road is attracting 300,000 customers every day with 16 shopping complexes and about 550 global brands, many of which are flagship or the first stores in China and world. The road also features well preserved lane-style houses and villas and nearly 120,000 square meters of greenery lands.

"The elegant and stylish Huaihai Road can represent the commercial characteristics of Shanghai," said Liu Min, deputy director of the city's commerce commission.

"I still remember the Shanghai Fashion Week was initiated in a tent in Fuxing Park on the road in 2013. Now, the annual fashion week has become the world's most dynamic fashion event," Liu said.

Customers pose with a horse sculpture at a new fashion store on Huaihai Road.

An old photo on the Huaihai Road M.

An old photo on the Huaihai Road M.

An old photo on a state-owned food store on Huaihai Road M.

Source: SHINE

Editor: Shi Jingyun

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