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With completion of Metropolitan Plaza of 1992, the Committee's 1985 Plan was almost
finished. The redevelopment based on the plan produced the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater which
is owned and managed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) in addition to private
development projects, which are represented by Hotel Metropolitan and Metropolitan Plaza.
These projects changed the slightly blighted west-gate side of the Ikebukuro area into an
attractive cultural and shopping area.
Due to a shrinking office market in Tokyo, that began in the early 1990s, office spaces
in Metropolitan Plaza have not been fully leased. Consequently, since 1993, the EJR has
worked out plans to rent it for half of the original price to assist its subsidiary, ITBC.14
3.2.4 Lessons and implications
This project is characterized by the strong leadership of local governments. The Tokyo
Metropolitan Government (TMG) and Toshima Ward led the whole redevelopment of West
Ikebukuro, which included Metropolitan Plaza, the Hotel Metropolitan, the Tokyo Metropolitan
Theater and others. These individual projects were specified in the Committee's original plan,
and were carried out by local governments, the EJR (JNR), and private entities. During the
whole development process, the TMG and Toshima Ward oversaw the redevelopment. In the
case of Metropolitan Plaza, Toshima Ward requested that the JNR make sure its new building
would be well-connected to Ikebukuro Station, that the entire block would be developed and
not leave any small privately-owned lots, and that it would include public facilities in the
building. Elimination of the narrow street which existed between the JNR's vacant lot and the
station was considered critical. Combining small lots resulted in effective development of the
block, although it was hard to come to an agreement with the owners of the small lots. The
negotiation among landowners became a catalyst for the foundation of a cooperative building.
According to the suggestion of the local governments, the Ikebukuro Terminal Building
14 Ibid.