JR East Station Retailing Co., Ltd. opened the doors of its new commercial facility on the elevated viaduct of what was formerly Manseibashi station. Located at 1-25-4 Kanda Suda-cho of Chiyoda-ku, “mAAch ecute Kanda Manseibashi” offered a private viewing of the premises on the 12th, two days ahead of its opening on the 14th.

The shopping complex is made unique by its reclamation of the platforms and staircases of the old Manseibashi station. Just over a century ago in 1912, the Manseibashi station commenced operations atop its then brand-new viaduct. The station was located at Kanda Junction, in the middle of the downtown area that thrived between Kanda and Ochanomizu stations of the JR Chuo line. Although the station has long lain closed, its history and memories will now breathe within this regeneration of its viaduct. CEO Tsuyoshi Mitsui of JR East Station Retailing comments, “We aimed to make a facility that assumes two key roles; the presentation of historical accumulation and regional development of the present-day surroundings.”

Over decades, the picturesque and stately red brick arches of the viaduct have assimilated themselves into the Tokyo landscape, and little alteration has been made to their overall form including the textures of the brick surface. The renovation project started out with the targeted concept of “Manseibashi Salon”. A total of 11 shops, consisting of permanent stores and pop-up shops (under the name of “Tatazumai”) line the complex, each selected to incite the intellectual curiosity of the visitor. The north side open deck area overlooking Kandagawa houses 4 shops including select shop/café “haluta” and the “LIBRARY” which sells books and offers digital contents that communicate the attractions of the surrounding area.

On the south side brick-arch area is a distinct series of shops such as “VINOSITY domi” where shoppers can buy wines hand-picked by the owner on his winery visits, and “OBSCURA COFFEE ROASTERS”, specializing in the selection of green coffee beans from coffee farms around the world.

One main feature is the 2nd floor observation café deck. Reached by either of two staircases named for the year in which they were built (“1912 stairway” and “1935 stairway”), the visitor comes out into a bright, glass-paneled space. The old platform of Manseibashi station is positioned at one end with an observation deck named “2013 Platform”. Alongside is café “N3331” produced by “command N”, the organization known for its participation in the planning of the “3331 Arts Chiyoda” art center in Chiyoda-ku. Both observation deck and café are situated between the inbound and outbound lines of the Chuo line, treating users to a unique up-close view of trains rumbling by.

Mitsui says, “We want to play a part in the regional revitalization by appealing to people the value and enjoyment that Kanda possesses.” An opening day event was held on the 14th and Mitsui plans to keep up the effort thereafter by transmitting regional charms and Japanese culture through the planning of city walks and workshops.