Nagoya says arrivederci to Italian Village

Nagoya Italian Village 2

On June 2, the Nagoya Port Authority announced plans to remove the last remaining structures from the former Italian Village. Demolition is expected to cost 330 million.

The Italian Village shopping mall opened in Nagoya’s port side area in 2005, the same year that Turin was announced as one of Nagoya’s sister cities. The 31,000 sqm site included a reproduction of a Venice canal complete with authentic gondolas imported from Italy, a replica of the San Marco Square, a replica of the Statue of David, and a replica of the Bocca della Verita. Many of the 80 specialty stores featured Italian goods and groceries.

The mall was developed under a private finance initiative between the Nagoya Port Authority and Cest la vie Holdings Corporation. In its first year of operations, it had over 4.2 million visitors. By 2008, this number had halved and the operators filed for bankruptcy.

In February 2008, Cest la vie failed to make a 100 million Yen payment for the construction of hot spring facilities in the Village, and a provisional seizure order was placed on 17 of the buildings in the complex. In April, it was discovered that Cest la vie owed approximately 100 million Yen in property taxes to Nagoya City. In May, the company filed for bankruptcy with debts estimated at 17 billion Yen.

Construction applications were falsified to show steel-frame construction plans, when 14 of the retail shops were later constructed out of wood. Wooden-frame structures have been banned in this zone since the area was damaged by Typhoon Vera in 1959.

There were plans to redevelop the site but suitable developers have not been found. A large portion of the buildings have been left sitting vacant for the past seven years and have fallen into disrepair.

Nagoya Italian Village 1

Source: Nippon News Network, June 2, 2015.