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Historic hutongs will be getting new lease on life


Seventy-five historic hutongs in Xicheng district will be renovated this year in an ongoing project aimed at improving the living conditions of residents and returning the aged structures to their former glory, according to Xicheng district commission of city administration and environment.

 

 

The project is likely to cost more than 22 million yuan, Beijing News reported.

The listed hutongs are in seven neighborhoods, including: Financial Street, Yuetan, Shichahai, Xinjiekou, Desheng, West Chang'an Avenue and Zhanlan Road.

The neighborhoods include homes with connections to well known people from the city's past, and the areas are rich in cultural relics as well as institutions such as the Lu Xun Museum, which is located in a hutong near Funei North Street.

While the museum dedicated to the literary giant is well kept and maintained, the street outside is cluttered with untidy small shops and billboards with advertisements.

The clutter will be swept away during the overhaul that began at 7 am on Thursday, said an urban administration official in charge of the renovation.

"They are all illegally built rooms," he said of the untidy additions to historic homes in the area that were set to be removed. "That's why we are dismantling them."

Some residents living in nearby hutongs were unaware of the renovation project. When one man heard about it, he expressed concern.

"If some rooms are pulled down because they block the view of the Lu Xun Museum, I hope mine will be fine," said the man in his 40s. "You know, I have just spent several thousand yuan building them recently. I can't stand wasting so much money."

In addition to dismantling illegal additions to historic homes, the authorities will repaint walls and doors with the iconic grey and red. The project will also see decaying street doors replaced and billboards rationalized. All the work is aimed at preserving the hutongs' historic look and the structure of the original buildings will not be altered.

Next year, another 75 hutongs in Xicheng district will be renovated under the next phase of the plan.


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