Mitsui Fudosan Asks for Highway Removal Ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Mitsui Fudosan Co., Japan’s largest developer by sales, said it is in talks with the government about the removal of a highway near Tokyo Station ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.

The company is urging the government to relocate the expressway in the Nihonbashi area where Mitsui Fudosan is redeveloping office and commercial buildings, President Masanobu Komoda said at a press conference today. Mitsui Fudosan and local owners are in talks with the land ministry and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, he said.

Mitsui Fudosan has proposed the relocation of the Inner Circular Route as the government prepares to extend expressways and build new roads ahead of the Olympics in six years. The revival of Nihonbashi, which includes plans to bury a highway and resurrect a river-cruise route that hasn’t been used since the Edo era, could boost the area’s economy by as much as 3.1 trillion yen ($30 billion) through higher property values and revenue from more visitors, according to Nihonbashi Michikaigi, a group of academics that advocates for the redevelopment.

“The highway hinders the scenery of Nihonbashi and it is bad for the environment,” said Komoda, who is also the chief executive officer of the company. “How we want to present Tokyo to the world during the Olympics served as a trigger in this movement. We are in serious discussions with the government about what to do with the highway.”

Nihonbashi Redevelopment

The Tokyo government and Metropolitan Expressway Co. will spend 552.2 billion yen to build new roads and extend expressways, according to the Olympic bid documents.

Mitsui Fudosan is redeveloping about 309,100 square meters (3.3 million square feet) of floor space in Nihonbashi by 2019, the company said on its website. The Tokyo Stock Exchange and Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest securities firm, are based in the area.

The Muromachi Furukawa Mitsui and Muromachi Chibagin Mitsui buildings, the company’s latest redevelopment in the area, will be completed by Feb. 1, it said today in a statement.

Average office rents in parts of Nihonbashi are 16,040 yen per tsubo, about half of the average in Marunouchi, the most expensive office area in Japan, broker CBRE Group Inc. said in a report. A tsubo, a standard measure of property area in Japan, is 3.3 square meters or 35.5 square feet.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.