Songdo International City is a global business center being developed on 1,500 acres (6 km²) of reclaimed land along Incheon’s waterfront, 65 km west of Seoul, South Korea and connected to Incheon/Seoul International Airport by a 12.3 km highway bridge, called Incheon Bridge. The Songdo International Business District (IBD) will include a convention center, international school, museum, ecotarium, cultural center, Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, Northeast Asia Trade Tower (NEATT), First World Towers, and Central Park. (The Incheon Towers is part of another parcel within New Songdo City, which may officially become the world’s tallest twin towers!) State-of-the-art schools, hospitals, apartments, office buildings and high-end cultural amenities are to be built in the city. Architectural hallmarks from around the world, including New York’s Central Park and Venice’s canals, are to be incorporated into the city. English is planned to be the lingua franca. This 10-year development project is estimated to cost in excess of $40 billion, making it the largest private development project ever undertaken anywhere in the history of the world! The project aspires to make the city and South Korea the preeminent business hub of Asia! When completed in 2015, the city’s infrastructure will be a test bed for new technologies, and the city itself will exemplify a digital way of life. It will be one of the world’s first cities in which all information systems – residential, medical, business – are linked.
Sheraton is due to open a new 319-bedroom hotel, golfing legend Jack Nicklaus is overseeing the construction of an 18-hole 7,300-yard championship course; and the US tech multinational Cisco Systems signed a multibillion-dollar deal to provide network technologies to the new city. Most components of the city, from the 470,000 square foot international school to Songdo’s $155m Convention Center, which opened October 2008, are state of the art. The school, affiliated with the prestigious US-based Milton Academy, has facilities to rival globally-renown universities.
By its completion date in 2015, New Songdo City is to be a free economic zone with 80,000 apartments, 50 million square feet of office space and 10 million square feet of retail.