Attractions industry news

29 Sep 2015

Deal agreed for £100m China Eden Project

The Eden Project has signed a deal to create a new £100m (US$152m, €135m) Eden centre in China.

The UK-based educational charity has teamed up with developer China Jinmao Holdings to design and develop an iconic tourism and education project in the city of Qingdao on the east coast.

The contract for the project – Eden’s first big building venture overseas – was signed in Beijing in the presence of UK business secretary Sajid Javid, as part of chancellor of exchequer George Osborne's visit to develop economic and financial dialogue with China.

Eden’s co-founder Sir Tim Smit said he had been working for more than 14 months on securing the deal.

“It is humbling to be in such a great country as China and to hear your own business minister say such kind things about the importance of Eden,” Smit said.

“It feels like we have been given the opportunity to do something very special and important and we are proud to take all that is best from the UK to forge new partnerships in China - for it is here above all other places on earth that the shape of our collective future will be set over the next 20 years."

Smit added that the ambition for China Eden will mirror that of the original Eden in Cornwall, UK – to create a globally-renowned, iconic tourism attraction which demonstrates sustainable construction practices.

Since its opening in 2003, more than 16 million people have visited Eden and it has generated an estimated £1.6bn for the wider economy.

The Eden China agreement follows visits by Jinmao delegations to Cornwall and return visits by Sir Tim and David Harland to Qingdao.

The four partners for the project are Eden Project, Jinmao Holdings, Qingdao High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Qingdao City Construction Investment.

Grimshaw Architects, designers of the original Eden Project, have been appointed as architects for the project.

Jinmao is the real estate developer of the state-owned Sinochem group and focuses on hotels, iconic buildings and property developments, including the Jinmao Tower in Shanghai, previously China's tallest building at 88 storeys.

Developing China Eden, Eden is also working with Buildings and Research Establishment, which has an office at Eden's base in Cornwall.

To read an exclusive interview with Sir Tim Smit on his plans for bringing the Eden Project to China – from the Q4 2014 edition of Attractions Management – click here.

Background: Qingdao

Qingdao is a coastal city of nearly nine million people in Shandong Province, halfway between Shanghai and Beijing. The city is backed by mountains and surrounded on three sides by the Yellow Sea. It is famous for hosting the 2008 Olympic sailing races, for having the largest bathing beach in Asia and for its most famous export, Tsingtao Beer. Qingdao already has annual tourism of 63 million visitors, many of whom are Korean and Japanese.

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