Connecticut architecture firm, Richard Turlington Architects was asked to prepare a solution for developing a 120 - acre parcel of land just north of downtown Yangon. The intent being the creation of a mixed-use development along the Yangon River for both a short and long term economic strategy.
From a holistic approach, Richard Turlington Architects looked at the current resources on site, the available population that lived on this property, perimeter traffic patterns and the adjacent economic zones within a 15 minute radius of the site along with other prerequisite planning and zoning guidelines for density and height restrictions. It was determined that this project can be economically viable with a minimal up-front investment. The design approach was based on the early infusion of cash to renovate an existing building in order to create a quick cash flow stream that would be reinvested in the developing the rest of the site. And, the existing on-site population would have immediate jobs.
So, the first step was to create a unique retail experience by renovating a large existing single story abandoned factory building. The original 360,000 sf building will be slightly modified to take create interior and exterior avenues without having to build a new building. The retail spaces will be diverse and include western style retail stores, a large grocery market, casual and fine dining experiences, pubs, afterschool program spaces, cafes and business offices with little expense. The mixture of uses is will be diverse and provide a multi-layered reason for a consumer to frequent the renovated building. Once this project takes hold, the next phase of the masterplan involves the inexpensive construction of exercise and exterior concert spaces between the original factory and the river as well as setting aside 30 acres for a container yard at the southwest corner of the site. Yangon is plagued by a lack of uncoordinated shipping venues and there is a lucrative opportunity to meet the city’s demand by offering temporary storage for the myriad of storage containers necessary for all cargo ships.
By a careful management of growth, these small investments can yield enough reinvestment growth to energize an entire town (16 city blocks), including housing, a conference center and an enclosed sports center.
Having an opportunity to create a town from nothing is the ultimate in holistic designing. This project allowed us a conscious approach to improving the social opportunities for thousands of people in a country experiencing rapid growing pains.