BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing is planning its largest ever revamp of the city's imperial-era neighborhoods in an effort to preserve cultural relics ahead of the Olympic Games next year, local media said on Wednesday. (来源：英语麦当劳－英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
Renovation work would see 1,474 courtyard properties spruced up in 40 Beijing "hutong", or alleyways, in four inner city districts, the Beijing News said.
Municipal authorities would invest 250 million yuan ($34 million) in the renovations, which were the biggest "since the founding of the Communist China in 1949", the newspaper said, citing information from the Beijing Municipal Commission for Urban Planning and the Beijing Municipal Construction Commission.
Officials at both commissions declined to comment.
The work would affect 9,635 families, the newspaper said, but those relocated would be allowed to move back into their homes in time for Chinese New Year in February.
"A single roof beam will cost 1,000 yuan to replace. The conditions will be vastly improved," the newspaper quoted a construction worker as saying.
The whole project was expected to be completed by June.
China's Olympic preparations have seen wide swathes of old housing leveled, angering some local residents who have complained of forced relocations to distant suburbs and inadequate compensation.
Beijing argues that many of the old courtyard properties, often subdivided to house up to six families, are decrepit, dangerous and a fire hazard in tight alleyways too small for fire-trucks.