New commercial satellite imagery indicates considerable progress has been made on the Pyongyang General Hospital since April and that a number of large construction projects are also underway in the city center. Presumably, these projects, as well as construction at the Mirim Parade Training Ground, are targeted for completion in advance of the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in October.
Pyongyang General Hospital
One of the largest projects underway is the construction of a general hospital on the bank of the Taedong River, which has made rapid progress over the past month. Imagery from June 8 indicates that Tower 2, the southern tower, has reached its top floor, which shows a flared architectural design. Several floors have been added to Tower 1, the northern tower, since April, with only one or two floors remaining before it reaches its final height.
The center structure, which will support the helipad as per North Korea’s design, is nearing completion, with only the landing pad yet to be added. The front entrance of the main building is progressing quickly as well, with some of the creative architectural design now visible.
Work continues at a determined pace and a line of cement trucks can be seen waiting to enter the construction site.
The hospital project was launched by Kim Jong Un and is positioned as a gift to the North Korean people from the Workers’ Party on its 75th anniversary.
Figure 1. Features of hospital rendering visible in construction progress. (Left: Maxar; Right: KCTV via Martyn Williams)
Figure 2. Rendering of Pyongyang General Hospital broadcast from Korean Central Television.
Figure 3. Hospital construction continues.
A new building is rising in central Pyongyang. The building is only a block from the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee building and next to two large buildings that were constructed last year. The new building fills up the remaining vacant land on the block.
It appears the entrance to the building will be outside of the gates that secure entry into this area, so its purpose is unclear.
This is the second new building in the area this year following the construction of a large structure next to the WPK Central Committee building, which was completed in April.
Figure 4. Construction activities in central Pyongyang.
Figure 5. Close-up of new building under construction.
Kim Il Sung Square
Work continues on the west side of Kim Il Sung Square where crews are renovating the viewing gallery area used during parades and marches in Pyongyang. An earlier report said the platform used by Kim had been torn down and portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il removed from the square while construction was underway.
That appears consistent with the amount of work taking place, which has left the street in front of the gallery completely closed to traffic.
The work, alongside other construction at the Mirim Parade Ground and the road between Mirim and the square, points to the likelihood of a major military parade on the anniversary of the Workers’ Party.
Figure 6. Kim Il Sung Square viewing platform area under renovation.
East Pyongyang Shopping Mall
Work appears to have restarted at the long-stalled East Pyongyang Shopping Mall, a luxury mall that has been promised for years. Groundbreaking for the site, adjacent to the now Pyongyang General Hospital grounds, took place in January 2014, according to KCNA. The mall is a partnership between the DPRK and the Great China International Group.
Imagery from June 8 shows construction centered around the northern-most of three large buildings. A rendering of the finished project indicates the building under construction will be a tower.
Figure 7. Construction of East Pyongyang Shopping Center restarted.
Koryo Hotel Area
As North Korea marks the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea in October, it will also mark the roughly ninth anniversary since the street behind the Koryo Hotel was closed and a large construction project began.
The site was reportedly to be a seven-star hotel called the Yonggwang Hotel, built as a joint venture with a Chinese investor, but work has been halted for years. The June 8 imagery shows four vehicles on site, but no construction activity as of yet. However, with renewed work at the East Pyongyang Shopping Mall, this site may also be set for revival.
Figure 8. Close-up of halted construction project behind the Koryo Hotel.
“Ground-breaking Ceremony for Shopping Mall in East Pyongyang Area Held,” KCNA, January 16, 2014.