Don’t hold your breath for the new Yamanote Line Station

Because it won’t be open for another 10 years.

At the beginning of January newspapers were abuzz with news of a new proposed station on the Yamanote Loop Line, and many articles mentioned the potential rise in real estate prices for the area surrounding the proposed station.

But how realistic are these stories?

The proposed station will be between the Shinagawa and Tamachi stations, and if it does get the go ahead, it is still not expected to be open until at least 2020. Similar reports of a new station also made the rounds about eight years ago.

The new station will be very close to the existing Sengakuji Station on the Asakusa and Keikyu Main Lines, so the area already has transport access, albeit on less convenient lines.

A local real estate agent said that vacant office space in the area is at high levels and they have not seen any increase in inquiries following the announcement. A sales agent from a new apartment building nearby said that rents are not expected to rise quickly as reports of a new station have been going around for several years.

Some reports also mentioned the area surrounding the new station to be a special economic zone which would provide tax benefits and easy processing of visas for foreign companies, however the majority of Tokyo’s major commercial zones fall under this zone and the special benefits appear to be not that special (more information here).

As yet a station name has not been decided, although popular suggestions are Takanawa Station or Konan Station, named after the neighborhoods either side of the train tracks.

The new station will form part of the 20 hectare Shinagawa Railyard commercial redevelopment. The idea for the site redevelopment was initially announced in 2003 but with an estimated cost of 200 billion Yen, plans were never officially formalized.

Shinagawa Station will still remain a major transport portal as it serves as a stop for the Shinkansen, has a line to Haneda Airport, and in 2027 it will be a station for the Linear Chuo Shinkansen which is a high-speed maglev train that can travel from Tokyo to Nagoya in 40 minutes and Tokyo to Osaka in an hour. The new station will be 2 minutes from Shinagawa Station, so passengers from the old and new Shinkansen will still have to change trains.

Despite the hype, it does not seem as though this new station will replace Marunouchi or Roppongi for foreign businesses.

Sources:
Nikkan Sports, January 15, 2012.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, January 4, 2012.

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