The foreclosed Nara Dreamland amusement park in Nara City failed to attract a single bid when it was put up for public auction on November 11. The 297,000 sqm site was listed for sale with a minimum price of 730 million Yen (6.3 million USD). Although ten inquiries were received, no bids were made.
With a minimum price of around 2,400 Yen per square meter, this might seem like an exceptional bargain when compared to the surrounding area, but the park is dotted with a number of overgrown and unsafe structures and rides which would require several hundred million Yen to remove.
The land is also subject to a number of strict building regulations that make redevelopment a difficult task. The land falls in an Urbanisation Control Area and current uses only permit welfare, sports, museum, zoo or school facilities. Approval from the prefectural governor is required before construction.
Housing, commercial, retail or hot spring development is not allowed. It is also within two kilometres of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Todai-ji temple and Kofuku-ji temple), which means the land is designated as a scenic and conservation zone under the Act for the Preservation of Ancient Capitals. As a result, building heights are limited to 10 meters, while building-to-land ratios are limited to 30%. Nara’s mayor said the city has no intention to provide any allowances on the construction regulations.