HK developers are heading north

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 November, 2010, 12:00am

The tale of two cities and the varying fortunes of their office sectors continues unabated, with Hong Kong developers laying a stake in prime business districts across the border.

While the government and legislators in Hong Kong deliberate over whether to increase the amount of office space in Central, or let companies find new locations on the east of the island or in Kowloon, the city's developers are reaching for the sky in Shanghai.

The latest addition to the skyline of the mainland's financial capital is Wheelock Square in Puxi's Nanjing Road West. It is also the tallest premium grade-A office tower in Puxi and the brainchild of The Wharf (Holdings), whose portfolio includes Times Square in Causeway Bay and Harbour City on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.

Wharf says its new 270-metre, 61-storey tower is the only top-grade office building opened in Shanghai this year. Multinational companies that have committed to take up space at Wheelock Square include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mitsui, Shiseido, Coach, LG Chem, Conde Nast, Clarkson Asia, NBBJ, Sheppard Mullin and Poly Plastics, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Four of these companies are each taking a whole floor, and a pharmaceutical company has acquired three floors (6,400 square metres).

Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects, the New York firm behind West Kowloon's ICC Tower, designed Wheelock Square which, in addition to 50 office floors, has four storeys of high-end retail stores and two floors featuring food and beverage outlets.

'It will further enhance Shanghai's dynamic skyline and redefine the landscape of this vibrant business district,' says Dave Siu, general manager, estates management, Shanghai, of Wharf China Estates. The tower was completed in the second quarter of this year.

'The significant investment we have made in this landmark commercial building reaffirms our confidence in the business opportunities that exist in Shanghai, and across China.'

Features include ceilings which Wharf says are the highest of any modern office tower in Shanghai, extending to 3.05 metres, and high-specification floor plates stretching to 2,100 square metres. There is a nine-metre-high marble lobby and direct-access elevator system, with 23 high-speed passenger lifts plus a VIP lift. Disabled facilities and pantries are also provided on every floor.

Serviced office providers have also been getting a foothold in Shanghai, as international business swings towards the city.