HIROSHIMA – The Andersen Group, a Hiroshima-based bakery, is thinking of fully renovating — with the option of demolishing — a historic building that survived the 1945 atomic bombing of the city, company officials said Sunday.
Hiroshima City Hall is trying to preserve sites that survived the A-bomb to document the world’s first wartime use of a nuclear weapon, but the sites are disappearing because the cost of making the structures strong enough to withstand earthquakes is too high.
The building, which constitutes the older portion of Andersen’s main store in the city, is about 360 meters east of the hypocenter and was the Hiroshima branch of the then-Imperial Bank at the time of the bombing. Following repairs, it was bought in 1967 by the founder of the bakery-restaurant chain.
The bakery plans to renew the flagship store by 2018, when it will celebrate its 70th year in business.
The older building was reinforced in 2002 by thickening its pillars, which cost ¥150 million. After the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, however, Andersen saw the need to make the building even stronger, the officials said.
Hiroshima had 86 registered A-bomb-hit structures as of July 1, down 10 percent from the peak in fiscal 1996, according to City Hall.