4 December 2013
UK consultant Atkins has been appointed to plan a new $8bn, aviation-related town on China’s east coast designed to appeal to people who left the mainland for Taiwan.
The agreement was signed between Atkins and AVIC Joy Air Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation in China, at the UK-China business summit in Beijing this week, attended by UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
The new town near Fuzhou will be an industrial park for aviation related activity. Plans call for a 10km tunnel and an expressway to Fuzhou city.
Initial investment in the scheme is expected to be around $2.5bn, rising to an expected $8bn, Atkins said.
"Atkins has been supporting clients in this region for more than 40 years," said Atkins’ chairman Allan Cook who was part of the three-day UK trade delegation to China. " We are the largest urban planning team in China and now, as we all face some unprecedented challenges, it’s even more important that we work together to find innovative and sustainable solutions."
The new town will provide six million square metres of office, research and development, hotel, commercial and residential floor space, with housing for 110,000 residents. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2014.
The site is located in an environmentally sensitive area, with low-lying land surrounded by rivers and watercourses.
Atkins said plans address the risk of extreme weather events such as sub-tropical typhoons and heavy rainfall.
The project aims for a unique sense of identity – to appeal to people who left Fuzhou for Taiwan, just off the east coast, and elsewhere abroad.
An AVIC Joy Air Holdings spokesman said Atkins was selected because "they are well versed with the industry requirements and can navigate through the various stages of the approval process."