First resort condominium to be developed in Kinugawa, Nikko, in 20 years

Kinugawa River Side Residence 1

The Kinugawa River Side Residence will be the first condominium to be built in Nikko’s Kinugawa onsen resort area in almost 20 years.

It hasn’t been a smooth journey for this particular development. The original developer – Zephyr – had completed construction up to the 3rd floor before filing for bankruptcy in July 2008. The bare concrete structure sat empty for the next five years until Yokohama-based developer Daiwa Jisho Group purchased the building and land and resumed construction in May 2013. 

Completion of the 6-storey building is scheduled for February 2014. There are 60 apartments priced from 17.9 ~ 38.8 million Yen and ranging in size from 61.57 ~ 76.10 sqm (662 ~ 812 sqft). Because half of the work was already done, the developer was able to reduce the expected sales prices from 550,000 Yen/sqm down to 360,000 Yen/sqm. This is still three times higher than what you could pay for an older apartment built in 1991~1992 in Kinugawa.

Kinugawa River Side Residence 3

Already 16 of the 25 apartments initially offered for sale have sold. Many of the buyers were from the Tokyo area and in their 60s.

The apartments are a 9 minute walk from Kinugawa Onsen Station, which is 2.5 hours by train from Shinjuku.

Kinugawa River Side Residence 2
Potential views from the 6th floor. Note that the current developer has saved costs by using images that the previous developer prepared in 2007.

Many of the existing hotels and resorts in Kinugawa were built during the bubble era or earlier and are now ageing. Some have been abandoned and left to rot. Lee from The Tokyo Times has posted a great selection of photos inside some of theses abandoned resorts overlooking Kinugawa River .

While a new development is good news for the area, a lot more is needed to reinvigorate the neighbourhood.

Many of Japan’s former booming resort towns are still suffering after the crash of the bubble in the early 1990s and are showing no signs of recovery. Nakagami in Okinawa and Karuizawa in Nagano are two of the few spots that have seen a revival.

The ski resort town of Yuzawa in Niigata has second-hand apartments listed for sale for as little as 30,000 Yen each. Meanwhile, a 70 sqm second-hand apartment in Karuizawa will set you back around 22 million Yen.

The reason for the large disparity in prices is due to demand. The majority of buyers of resort apartments are retirees. As such, they generally prefer a slow-paced hot spring area with a nice climate over one that is primarily ski-oriented.

Source: The Shimotsuke Shimbun, October 11, 2013.

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