The Hakata Connected project is underway around JR Hakata Station, the gateway to Kyushu, to create a renewed sense of liveliness and new jobs and to enhance circulation to and from Hakata Old Town. The area covers a 500m radius from Hakata Station, but until now, the main area of development has been the Hakata Exit, where Hakataekimae-dori Ave. leads to Canal City. Development efforts are now moving to the area around the Chikushi Exit, where the Shinkansen terminal is located.
One of these projects is the redevelopment of the plaza in front of the Chikushi Exit. Pedestrians, cars and buses used to crisscross in this narrow space, but the sidewalks were widened from 5m to 12m to make it easier for people to walk. In addition, an awning was installed around the plaza so that people can walk around the outside of the station without getting wet from the rain. The road, which used to accommodate a mix of regular cars and taxis, now has separate flow lines and a dedicated taxi boarding area. What’s more, walking is now safer and more comfortable outside of the Chikushi Exit.
Hakata Connected also plays a role in promoting the reconstruction of aging buildings, and various bonuses have been established to incentivize these efforts. For example, regulations have been relaxed and tax incentives were established, such as allowing a maximum increase in floor-area ratio up to 50% for buildings that contribute to enhanced liveliness with added plazas that create connections among people. Hakata East Terrace, the first building to be built under this system of deregulation,
is an office complex that occupies the former site of a large bowling alley, and it lies only a few minutes’ walk from the Chikushi Exit of Hakata Station. The building has a large open space that can be integrated with the entrance hall to accommodate various events. The first floor is also home to small offices and Fuglen, the first outlet in Kyushu of a cafe originally from Norway. It is expected to serve as a new community hub for the Hakata Station area.