The Sony Building, a landmark in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district, will be torn down and replaced with a park.
This is not the result of a green movement victory over a corporation – it is Sony’s idea, and it is hoping the park will be similar to New York’s Times Square.
Demolition is scheduled to begin next year, and once the site is cleared it will be opened to the public and remain that way until after the 2020 Olympic Games.
At the direction of Sony co-founder Akio Morita, the Sony Building opened in 1966 as the “gate of Ginza”. With eight floors above ground and five below, the building occupies a 707 sqm site at the Sukiyabashi intersection and has a total floor space of 8811 sqm.
Its first to sixth floors are mainly occupied by Sony Store Ginza as well as showrooms for Sony products. The building attracts around 4 million visitors a year.
After its complete closure in March, the building will be demolished over a period of about 15 months. Once the debris is cleared, Sony will open Ginza Sony Park, hosting concerts and charity events at the site through the autumn of 2020, the year of the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Sony Store Ginza will be relocated temporarily to Ginza Place, a shopping complex scheduled to open soon at the Ginza 4-chome intersection.
After the Olympics, Sony plans a new building on the park site, expected to be complete in the autumn of 2022.
Sony president/CEO Kazuo Hirai says the Ginza district rarely has this kind of open space. He says it is a chance to offer something reflecting Japanese culture to foreign visitors.