Best Directions Ever: "Take the Exit that Goes Through the Office Building"

Stacy Conradt

Directions to my house go something like, "Take the highway that runs through town and get off on exit 9, then take a left at the stoplight." If you live in downtown Osaka, your directions might be more along the lines of, "Take the Umeda Exit of the Ikeda Route. You know, the one that goes through the building."

Though Gate Tower Building has been there since the early '90s, the whole affair actually started a decade earlier. The property owners desperately wanted to build on this piece of land, but the development of the highway was already in the late planning stages. After about five years of negotiation with the Hanshin Expressway Corporation, an agreement was reached. It would have been fun to sit in on that meeting. I imagine "Hey guys - why don't we just run the highway through the building?" was met with a lot of blank stares at first. Crazy though it seems, the solution has been working out just fine for about 18 years now. None of the highway actually touches the building; even so, it's considered the official tenant of the fifth, sixth and seventh floors. The part of those floors that isn't taken up by the thoroughfare houses machinery, elevators and stairs.

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