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Transportation

Tokyo's iconic commuter line adds first new stop in half-century

Takanawa Gateway Station already drawing luxury condo and more school applicants

The new Takanawa Gateway Station serves a key step in JR East's plans to redevelop the neighborhood. (Photo by Kai Fujii)

TOKYO -- The Japanese capital's Yamanote commuter train line is set to open its first new station in almost 50 years on March 14, with added convenience already boosting land prices and school applicants in the area. 

Takanawa Gateway Station -- between Tamachi and Shinagawa stations -- is expected to serve about 130,000 passengers daily on Tokyo's busy line, which connects such major hubs as Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro in a loop.

East Japan Railway, the operator of the Yamanote line, plans to begin redeveloping the surrounding area in the fall.

The neighborhood is already seeing changes. One luxury condominium a seven-minute walk from the station sold the last of its 31 units, some priced in the $1 million range, in late February.

"Many buyers are betting on further developments in the area," the developer said.

Tokyo's Yamanote Line will add a new station between Tamachi and Shinagawa stations. (Photo by Kaisuke Ohta)

Land prices around the condo rose to 1.21 million yen ($11,500) per square meter in January from 1.06 million yen in January 2016.

"It will keep going up," an industry insider said.

The nearby Takanawa Junior/Senior High School saw a 26% jump in applicants, partly thanks to the new station making student commutes easier.

JR East aims to redevelop roughly 72,000 sq. meters around the Takanawa and neighboring Shinagawa stations through 2024. In addition to four new high-rise buildings, it will court offices, hotels and an international school, hoping to create a new hub for Japanese and international businesspeople.

But the coronavirus outbreak has dampened excitement over the Takanawa station.

"We hope the virus is placed under control quickly," said Yuji Fukasawa, JR East president and CEO. "In six months, we'll be getting ready to build a new town."

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