The fatal blasts in Tianjin last week have taught real estate developers to monitor closely what is planned for areas surrounding their residential complexes, the president of China's largest real estate developer by sales value has said.[Special coverage]
The Vanke Haigangcheng complex, developed by China Vanke Co Ltd, was only 800 meters from the scene of the warehouse explosions at the Tianjin Port. Two residents were killed, many others were injured, and the apartment blocks suffered massive damage.
Yu Liang, president of China Vanke, told a news conference on the release of its first half-year report on Monday that the blasts have given Vanke a reason to reflect on lessons learned.
"The incident is a lesson for Vanke as well as the whole real estate industry, to closely follow the latest changes in urban planning near their communities," he was quoted by Shanghai Security News as saying.
"We obtained the land (for real estate development) in 2010, and then it was merely a storage yard, rather than warehousing for dangerous chemicals," he said.
"They said the renovation plans (to adapt the warehouses to contain chemicals) were 100 percent approved by residents nearby. But neither we nor the residents were notified," he said.
Vanke said in its report that it is still evaluating the economic impact of the blasts on its development program.
Another residential complex of the Vanke Haigangcheng program is still being developed, the construction of which is due to be completed in February 2016, according to the report.
Local authorities have put in place emergency measures, including subsidies to Haigangcheng residents so they can rent temporary housing for the next three months.
A resident of Haigangcheng surnamed Cui said his family would definitely not move back to his blast-damaged apartment.
"The building was shaking, the windows shattered and doors ripped off, and my little daughter was crying. It was a nightmare," he said.
"Let's say we dared to move back, how about my daughter? I don't think any parent would move back to that building again with their children.
"And I don't think anybody would buy the apartment, even if I offered to sell at half price," he added.
A resident of the nearby Jinyunlanwan community surnamed Lyu said his family is still paying a monthly mortgage of 4,000 yuan ($625) for the apartment.
He is most worried about his 2-year-old child, who saw the whole incident.
"He was supposed to start preschool next month. Now we can only send him back to his grandparents. We have no clue what we are going to do next," he said.