Pyeongtaek is a new boomtown

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Pyeongtaek is a new boomtown

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Property values in Pyeongtaek are surging as major transitions take place, most prominently the relocation of U.S. military facilities there and the construction of major industrial complexes such as Samsung’s computer chip production line.

Starting this month as many as 8,000 U.S. military personnel will move from Yongsan in central Seoul and from Dongducheon in Gyeonggi to Pyeongtaek. In all, 13,000 American troops are scheduled to relocate to the southern Gyeonggi city by 2018. The number of people relocating to Pyeongtaek in total will be about 40,000, including military family members and civilian employees.

According to the Pyeongtaek government, the influx of U.S. forces will contribute about 18 trillion won ($15.4 billion) annually to the local economy and create 110,000 jobs.

The decision to relocate the U.S. base to Pyeongtaek was made in 2005 when Seoul agreed to expand Camp Humphreys, the U.S. Army base there. The move will make it the largest U.S. garrison in Korea.

After the plan was announced, other construction and development plans gradually developed.

Real Estate 114’s Ham Yeong-jin said, “In 2011, the average price of apartments across Gyeonggi fell by 4.01 percent. But in Pyeongtaek, prices rose by 6.53 percent because of these construction projects.”

Another real estate agent surnamed Kim said, “The price of land here was around 3.5 to 4 million won per 3.3 square meters in 2005, but now it’s 20 million won.” He said he has been getting more calls than he can handle. “There are many buyers and there simply isn’t enough for everyone,” Kim said.

The relocation of the U.S. military isn’t the only factor that has been driving up the property price.

Samsung Electronics, the global smartphone producer, plans to invest 15 trillion won to build the world’s largest semiconductor production line in Pyeongtaek’s Godeok Industrial Complex. The plant is expected to be operational early next year, and 30,000 new jobs will be created.

The production plant will cover 3.96 million square meters in area.

Korea China Castle Development, a Korean and Chinese joint venture, is investing 750 billion won to build a Chinatown on 2.32 million square meters in Hyeondeok District, complete with shopping districts, hotels and apartments.

The Brain City Development project, which was stalled for a time in April 2014, has been revived as well. The project will include a residential area, a high-tech industrial complex, and a regional campus for Sungkyunkwan University.

Nine more industrial complex projects are planned to be completed from 2017 to 2019, bringing the total number of industrial complexes there from 11 to 20, the highest concentration in the nation.

These projects and the new jobs they will bring have attracted more people to the city. In 2005, Pyeongtaek’s population was 391,468. The number rose to 464,561 in May and is expected to soar to 900,000 by 2020 when most of the projects will be finished. Reflecting this trend, 29 more schools will be built in Godeok New International Town.


BY LIM MYOUNG-SOO [lee.dongeun@joongang.co.kr]


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