Architectural landmark shows the potential of urban renewal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 September, 2009, 12:00am

When a cement factory and a facility for storing ice are no longer needed it can spell uncertainty for a thriving industrial area. But urban renewal plans for Kwun Tong have seen some eye-catching pieces of office architecture take shape.

Just a 10-minute walk from the MTR station is Kwun Tong 223 - a landmark two-tower, 22-storey office building in Wai Yip Street. It is built on a site that previously housed a cement factory and Dairy Farm's ice house.

The property was jointly developed by Henderson Land Development and Sun Hung Kai Properties, and completed last year after 18 months of construction. It boasts a multistorey structured thoroughfare on its top floors.

The property, with views of the waterfront, is more than just a world-class commercial complex with premium building amenities supported by international-level management services.

In addition to its grade A office space, it is also an innovative and eco-friendly design - a welcome addition to the district's landscape.

The combination of high-quality architecture and environmentally sustainable design is an example of how old industrial neighbourhoods can be revitalised.

The open portal in the structure's centre helps a free-flowing sea breeze pass through the entire district.

The building form uses a full curtain wall facade.

Moreover, the property's waterfront proximity enables tenants to enjoy magnificent views of Victoria Harbour.

Units also have ceiling heights ranging from 2.1 metres to 3.1 metres, a raised floor system and one of the largest floor plates in all of Kowloon East.

The building has 12 passenger and four service lifts, a covered car park and drive-through drop-off zone.

The building has a gross floor area of 1.25 million sqft. Other features include a 180-degree sea view, a clubhouse with 50,000 sqft of conference and exhibition space, a shopping arcade and a health club.

Rentals are about HK$18 per sqft, according to Savills. A typical floor has a gross size of 30,000 sqft, while linked floors are about 62,000 sqft.

Taxis, shuttle buses and minibuses are also nearby. The area is also accessible via ferry to North Point and Sai Wan Ho, with buses running to Clear Water Bay and Tseung Kwan O. Construction continues on an elevator-enhanced footbridge connecting the property with the Kwun Tong Ferry Pier to boost accessibility.

As of early next year, global insurance giant Manulife Financial will be the building's anchor tenant. It will lease eight floors, amounting to 247,000 sqft, in the largest new lease at the property since its completion. Following an agreement in early July, Manulife is entitled to naming and signage rights as befitting the company's prominence in the area.

Other notable tenants include freight company CMA CGM, which has its Hong Kong offices at The Factory. Subsidiaries Delmas and ANL also moved in last December.