Lotte World Tower benefits foreigners, hinders Jamsil residents



After four years of construction, the Lotte World Tower in Jamsil opened three sections of its building over a span of three days, from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17. Although its hotel and offices remain closed, its shopping mall “Avenue L,” duty-free department store, cinema and aquarium have greeted 70 million visitors within the first five days. With over 200 brand shops and 22 theatres, the Lotte World Tower offers a new variety of entertainment.

“Since the [Lotte World Tower] just opened, there are many trendy clothes and good food on sale”, said Jiyoung Kim (12), resident of Jamsil. “Although Jamsil already [has] attractions such as the Lotte Mart and Lotte World, this large-scale shopping and entertainment complex provides [me with] even more places to hang out with friends and family.”

As the fifth largest department store in the world, the Lotte World Mall was built to attract both foreigners and Koreans. It is expected to welcome 1.5 million shoppers worldwide, generating over 3,000 billion won yearly by 2016. According to Lotte Group, Seoul will rise to become a significant shopping mecca, its economic inducement from the mall superseding seven trillion won.

“When [a company like Lotte] invests in a building, it creates jobs, and generates tourism,” said Steven Smith, economics teacher. “As it creates a multiplying effect, and influences those who benefit from the [Lotte World Tower] to spend more, there will be more money in the economy. Although the tower will have a dramatic impact upon Korea’s economy, it will be a fairly positive boost nonetheless.”

Despite such economic and entertainment benefits, the Lotte World Tower also poses weighty concerns during both its construction and post-construction period. Since 2009, two people, one worker and one citizen, have died and six workers have been severely injured in the process of building the 556 meter, 123-story building. Furthermore, there have also been speculations that the Lotte World Tower caused two sinkholes in the Jamsil area, as well as the decrease in Seokchon Lake’s water level.

“I’m worried about the Seokchon Lake and the fact that the mall has already opened despite its ongoing construction,” said Jihoon Yang (11), resident of Jamsil. “The tower isn’t finished, and there is a huge chance that something could go wrong. [My] other more trivial concern is that there will be no parking space available due to the [huge influx] of traffic. With increased visitors, Jamsil will be more difficult to navigate.


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