THE redevelopment of the former 2010 Shanghai World Expo site took a major step forward yesterday with the opening of a four-story shopping mall on Expo Boulevard.

The first phase of the River Mall opened at the two sides of the 1-kilometer Expo Boulevard, the main access to the Expo site.

Ninety percent of the space has been leased to stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. Operators said they will work with nearby Expo pavilions, including the China Art Museum and the Mercedes-Benz Arena, to attract visitors.

"We can interact with other pavilions at the Expo site to let visitors go shopping, rest or take meals at restaurants after visiting Expo pavilions," said Li Yulin, general manager of the Shanghai Expo and Bailian Commercial Company.

The mall has two floors above the ground and another two underground, covering some 50,000 square meters.

"The second floor of the boulevard that served as the main passage for visitors during the Expo has been turned into various entertainment venues for parents and children," said Li.

The full project, with stores, restaurants and entertainment venues along the boulevard, will open to the public by the end of next year.

The total investment in the new mall will be about 360 million yuan (US$57.7 million), which Li said was half as much as similar shopping malls in the city. He said he was confident about its prospects.

People can take Metro Line 8 to the China Art Museum Station to get to the River Mall.

Beside the mall, the headquarters of domestic and international companies will be located in the former Zone A in the Pudong New Area, which housed Asian pavilions. Zone B, which mostly hosted pavilions of international organizations, has been designated as a headquarters site for 13 of China's state-owned enterprises, including Baosteel and the State Grid. Some 28 structures will be built using environmentally friendly materials and designs.

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