Race for space intensifies

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 September, 2010, 12:00am

Increased demand from local and overseas companies has boosted leasing transactions at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, with about 280,000 sqft of space rented out in the past five months.

According to Harbour City Estates, which is responsible for leasing in the commercial complex, new commitments in its office buildings amounted to 230,000 sqft between May and August.

Dave Siu Wing-koon, general manager (office leasing) at Harbour City Estates, says leasing interest in high-grade offices has increased in recent months as companies looked for premises for expansion and relocation. 'We have received more leasing inquiries and secured new commitments by companies. In September, there was a further commitment of nearly 50,000 sqft of space in our buildings, including a whole-floor lease of more than 20,000 sqft.

'Lease negotiations are under way with companies in different sectors including telecom, trading and insurance businesses.'

Major leasing transactions included a new lease of a whole floor, or 26,047 sqft, by Huawei Tech, the world's leading telecom solutions company, which is relocating from Central, and another whole floor, or 23,055 sqft, taken up by Toray Industries, which will consolidate its offices in Jordan and move into Harbour City.

Leasing demand was also driven by in-house expansion by existing tenants, such as Fancl's commitment of a further 16,400 sqft, Estee Lauder's leasing 8,600 sqft and AIA 's taking up 11,600 sqft.

Siu says Harbour City's office occupancy rate was maintained at about 94 per cent and leasing activity was supported by continued corporate expansion and upgrade relocation.

Harbour City, the flagship property portfolio of The Wharf (Holdings), comprises 10 office towers.

They include Tower 1, Tower 2, Tower 6, Prudential Tower and Sun Life Tower of The Gateway, along with Ocean Centre, World Finance Centre (North and South Towers), Wharf T & T Centre and World Commercial Centre.

According to the landlord, the rents achieved for Harbour City office blocks averaged from HK$23 to HK$30 per square foot a month. Those for The Gateway towers commanded an average rental of about HK$28 to HK$46 per square foot.

Siu says Harbour City continues to be a popular office location for tenants and a number of its corporate tenants prefer to stay at the complex upon renewal of their leases.

Among them were Citibank, GlaxoSmithKline, Hyatt International, Singapore Telecom, Land Bank of Taiwan, E. Sun Commercial Bank, Cathay Pacific and Hanjin Shipping.

With the sharp increase in office rents in Central, Siu says office premises in Tsim Sha Tsui looked attractive to local and international companies.

The narrower office rental gap between East Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui also resulted in a reduction in the potential benefit of relocation to decentralised districts such as East Kowloon. He says the prospects for the office leasing market continued to be positive given the growth momentum of the economy.

As part of the landlord's continued efforts to enhance Harbour City's facilities and services, further renovation plans are in the pipeline. Improvement works for enhancing the ground floor lobbies and entrances of two office blocks at Harbour City facing Canton Road will commence soon. The main office lobbies of two office towers in The Gateway will also be renovated. The landlord has made a further commitment to implement environmentally friendly programmes.

As part of its recycling initiatives, it collected more than 279,000kg of waste paper and more than 1,900kg of plastic products in the first six months of the year. More than 2,300kg of used fluorescent lamps and 120 used computers and related equipment were also rounded up during the period.

All office towers at The Gateway were awarded the Excellence Class for Indoor Air Quality Certificate this year. Two other office blocks at Harbour City were awarded the Excellence Class for Indoor Air Quality Certificate, while four other blocks were awarded Good Class this year. Harbour City received the Silver Certificate in Quality Water Recognition Scheme for Buildings Programme this year from the Water Supplies Department.

The landlord also joined the source separation programme of commercial and industrial waste organised by the Environmental Protection Department. From January, it began to issue monthly green tips by email to all office tenants.