SEOUL, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- An extravagant mansion for former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il that cost Pyongyang tens of millions of dollars to build in 2010 has been torn down, and new construction is underway, according to satellite images from May.
The No. 15 Official Residence where Kim Jong Un's mother, Ko Young Hee, once lived also is the childhood home of the current North Korean leader.
Curtis Melvin of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, who used the satellite imagery in his analysis, told Radio Free Asia the roof on the north side of the building has been torn down and a landscaping project has begun in a garden section of the compound, South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo reported.
Two satellite images were compared to produce the analysis: the first from Jan. 14 and the second from May 20 show the progress on the roof and the garden.
The residence cost tens of millions of dollars to build five years ago, and roads and railways for the former leader's exclusive use also were built. Underground tunnels for electric trains are connected to office buildings in the compound.
In 2010, 1,200 North Korean soldiers were mobilized to work on the palatial home, according to reports.
Kim Jong Un has been noted for providing field guidance on the construction of new buildings in Pyongyang and other parts of North Korea. South Korea press reported it is highly likely the mansion was being renovated under his direct orders.
Another exclusive Kim family mansion, the Ryongsong Residence, showed signs of renovation and new construction, according to images.