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REAL ESTATE: Minyuan Stadium Retail Area
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Minyuan Stadium Retail Area

An Emerging Retail Destination

By Lesley Chai, Analyst, JLL - Tianjin

Five Boulevards Historical Architecture District
BT 201502 20 Real estate myxlPeople say that if you want to know the 5 000 years of Chinese history, you should go to Xi'€™an, but that if you want to know the past century's history of China, you should come to Tianjin, in particular the Five Boulevards Historical Architecture District, where you walk along the streets and feel that the old buildings are telling the story of the ages.

The Five Boulevards Historical Architecture District is located between Nanjing Road and Machang Road and covers a total area of 1.28 sq km. The area is populated with historical buildings dating back to the early 1900s, a time period that was the height of the city'€™s prosperity. Many of the buildings here were the homes and businesses of famous Chinese Generals and foreign luminaries. Thus, today, the Five Boulevards Historical Architecture District is a popular tourist destination, attracting people from across the country.

For many local people and foreigners living in Tianjin, the Five Boulevards Historical Architecture District is synonymous with boring horse rides down dusty downtrodden lanes. However, recently, several of the historical buildings that populate the area have undergone renovation and reutilization, transforming many of their functions into entertainment and food and beverage (F&B) establishments. The majority of this activity has occurred around Minyuan Stadium, and the Minyuan Stadium is now acting as a focal point for what is becoming one of the most popular retail destinations in the city.
Recently, the Five Boulevards Historical Architecture District, one of the most popular tourism destinations in Tianjin, has taken on a new look with beautiful buildings and enhanced retail functions. However, the section that has recently undergone a revitalization is the part of the the Five Boulevards Historical Architecture District surrounding Minyuan Stadium.

BT 201502 21 Real estate p1020067Leading the development of the Minyuan Stadium Retail Area, which is loosely defined as the area between Chengdu, Hebei, Munan and Guilin Roads, has been the Tianjin Historical Architecture Restoration and Development Co Ltd (THARD). THARD is a state-owned enterprise (SOE), and since October 2005, the company has been restoring and reutilizing several of the city'€™s historic buildings. Some of the most famous projects in the city that the company has restored are Jingyuan Garden, a former residence of Puyi, the last emperor, and The Mansion of Prince Qing, the residence of Zai Zhen, a prince in the Qing Dynasty. However, it'€™s THARD'€™s most recent undertakings that are creating a nexus for a new retail area in central Tianjin.

The foundation for the Minyuan Stadium Retail Area
The Minyuan Stadium Retail Area is currently comprised of three key retail projects; Minyuan Stadium, Minyuan Terrace and Xiannong Block, all of them are either restored buildings or have been rebuilt to retain the cultural and historical characteristics of the original structures. In addition, all the buildings offer unique outdoor dining experiences, which is rare in Tianjin.

-Minyuan Stadium (opened in May 2014)
The most recent project to be completed and the anchor site for the area is Minyuan Stadium. Minyuan stadium is located at the intersection of Hebei Road and Chongqing Road. The 20 000 sqm stadium opened in 1926, and was planned and built by the British Municipal Committee. The stadium has held many sporting events, as well as the military parade to celebrate the crowning of King George VI.

BT 201502 22 Real estate 5833200 Daguang Ming Bridge Tianjin TianjinThe stadium itself has been rebuilt three times. During the Second World War, part of the stadium was destroyed by the Japanese Army. In 1943, the British Municipal Committee repaired the stadium, at the same time reducing its size. After the new China was founded in 1954, the sand football field was changed to lawn and the first floodlight lit court in China was built in the stadium. In 1979, another rebuild began that completed in 1982. This time, three-storey stands were built and the stadium could accommodate more than 20,000 people. During the past 90 years, Minyuan Stadium has withstood a vicissitude of events, including wars and rebellions, the devastating Tangshan earthquake and all the development in Tianjin. As a result, the local people, particularly older residents, are very fond of the stadium.

Following its latest reopening in 2014, Minyuan Stadium has garnered acclaim among both the old and young generations. The stadium features F&B facilities and has more bars and Western food compared with Minyuan Terrace. It has become popular with foreigners and the fashionable young living in Tianjin. Moreover, athletic tracks attract people living around the area for exercise and people come to visit art exhibitions or competitions.

-Minyuan Terrace (opened in June 2012)
It is easy to find Minyuan Terrace because of its modern, dark grey facade. Minyuan Terrace, designed by Shen liyuan, dates back to 1939 and is located a few blocks west of Minyuan Stadium on Changde Road. It comprises two-storey, English-style brick buildings with a yard in the middle. Today, the block contains different retail formats from various countries. Cafés, a red wine cellar, Japanese and Malaysian restaurants, as well as a Chinese traditional art museum can be found here.

As a "creative block", Minyuan Terrace is now one of the few bases in the city for music lovers and urban trendsetters. Almost every month, bands, music fans and young artists get together to showcase their music, ideas, paintings and crafts. You can feel classic and modern Tianjin vibes here.

For more information, go to http://www.minyuanxili.com/.

-Xiannong Block (opened in October 2013)
Xiannong Block was named after the Xiannong Company, which was the earliest and largest real estate company in Tianjin. Xiannong Block, built in 1925, was the residence of employees of the Xiannong Company. It is worth mentioning that Xiannong Company was co-founded by seven major shareholders, including prominent minister Li Hongzhang and Herbert Hoover, the 31st US president. Now it has two-storey, British-style buildings with a red brick facade. You can learn more about the history and the story of Xiannong Block from the informative signs that spread along its walls.

Xiannong Block is located between Hunan Road and Hebei Road and has a GFA of 25 400 sqm. At present, only 8 600 sqm of Phase I is open to the public. The majority of tenants are F&B retailers, including Starbucks, Craft Beer, In & Out, Kitchen Igosso and Cholito (a Spanish restaurant). There are also high-end furniture stores and flower shops. Xiannong Block hosts all kinds of art exhibitions and cultural events, especially during the holidays.

Visit the website at www.tjxiannong.com for news of the latest activity and restaurant information.

Future of the Minyuan Stadium Retail Area
In the future, additional old buildings in the Minyuan Stadium Retail Area will be transformed into modern retail projects. There will also be some expansions. For example, the planning stage for Xiannong Block Phase II has just been completed and the developer is preparing for construction. Phase II includes 9 000 sqm of space above ground and a 3 000-sqm basement.

The Minyuan Stadium retail area is trying to introduce more mid to high-end F&B brands and enhance collaboration with new media to spread the culture of the area in cooperation with websites such as dianping.com to promote retail projects in the area. Moreover, the area is beginning to gain a critical mass that is allowing it to develop its own distinctive retail feel. As more retailers and shoppers come to the Minyuan Stadium Retail Area, it will become increasingly more important retail landmark in the city for both tourists and locals.


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