What to do with Okinawa’s aging shopping arcade, Heiwadori

What to do with Okinawa’s aging shopping arcade, Heiwadori

The Heiwadori Shopping Arcade


October 3, 2017 by Ryukyu Shimpo

An air of nostalgia permeates the Heiwadori shopping arcade in Naha.

The symbol of the area’s shopping district, for years the covered promenade has protected shoppers and the stores they patron from the hot summer sun and the sudden squalls particular to the tropical region.

However, in the 36th year since construction, it continues to show signs of aging, causing issues related to the arcade to pile up.

As such, an informal committee has been formed to consider the options for the arcade.

Ryojun Matsumoto, vice-president of Heiwadori Shopping District Promotion Association (SDPA), said, “The hope is to bring many concerned individuals together to discuss how to further improve Heiwadori.”

 

The Heiwadori shopping arcade is 416 meters long, 7 meters wide.

It was built in 1981, paid for by the store owners at the time.

While there has been some repairs to parts of the arcade and the renewal of the top covering, the columns and beams are the originals, and continue to deteriorate.

Participants exchanging opinions on what to do with the shopping arcade

 

With the exception of Sunrise-dori, central shopping streets starting with Heiwadori do not meet many legal standards including building regulations, road-use permits, and fire-safety regulations.

In other cases where shopping arcades underwent renovation, in order to meet the aforementioned standards, additional construction and repairs were needed for the area around the arcade, and costs can exceed 600 million yen.

 

In 2015, a group to study Heiwadori and other arcades was started, and in 2016 an exploratory committee was established.

However, due to issues such as different property owners and lessees led to low participation, and dialogue could not progress.

 

Due to this, the SDPA hosted an exploratory committee with a broader group of members on September 28.

Some voiced opinions decrying the 600 million yen cost, saying the arcade should be taken down, while others opposed, claiming if there was no arcade, shoppers would not come. Property managers, store owners, and customers gathered to exchange opinions.

After, they formed a plan to have groups such as the Okinawa Society of Engineers & Building Engineers display simulations of both repairing the arcade and demolishing it, and decide what direction to take within the year.

A representative from the Naha Promotion Association, which was supporting the discussion, commented, “If issues continue to be postponed, they will never be resolved.

Both landlords and store owners need to proactively work towards a solution.”

 

The next exploratory committee will take place October 26.

 

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

 

 

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