Business

Koto Ward mulls Olympic cable car

Bloomberg

A study is underway for the possible construction of a cable car linking 2020 Tokyo Olympic venues with a business area near the Ginza shopping district, a municipal government official has said.

A construction company is studying the feasibility of building a gondola lift to connect Shiodome on the western edge of Tokyo Bay to Toyosu on the east, said Takaaki Yamazaki, mayor of Koto Ward. The construction cost is estimated at ¥21.5 billion ($210 million), he said.

Koto Ward, where half the newly constructed competition sites will be located, is seeking to cash in on Japan’s growing number of overseas visitors, which rose for two straight years to reach 10.4 million in 2013. The Olympics are estimated to lure 10.1 million visitors and staff to Tokyo over a 19-day period, according to a bid document.

“The cable car would be used mainly for sightseeing and that would be very positive for Koto Ward,” Yamazaki said in an interview Tuesday. “We first have to make sure it is in line with the regulations and whether we can attract capital to invest in the project.”

Toyosu, an area created in 1937 on reclaimed land, is known for its LaLaport shopping mall and as the future location of Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. The stations for the cable car would be adjacent to the market and the International Exhibition Center, Yamazaki said.

The economic effect of the games on the construction industry will be about ¥475 billion, while the property sector will lure another ¥152 billion, the International Olympic Committee estimates.

“If we have the cable car, it would be a resource for tourism,” Yamazaki said, adding that it could become a new tourist attraction similar to the 634-meter (2,080- feet) Tokyo Skytree broadcasting tower or London’s cross-Thames cable car, which was built ahead of the 2012 Olympics. “No matter who you are, you would probably want to ride it once.”