Times Square does big business

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 January, 2011, 12:00am

Concerns have been mounting about the shortage of office space in Central, with many companies deeming themselves unsuitable to move into Hong Kong's new office districts such as revitalised areas of Kowloon.

But prestige locations abound in Hong Kong Island's business district, high above streets teeming with food outlets, top retail brands and with easy access to transport links.

Some company executives consider it even better if their offices are in a sleek, modern tower atop one of Hong Kong's famous shopping malls, with access to the MTR below.

The 186,000 square metres of retail and office space in Causeway Bay's iconic landmark represent one of the factors that made oil giant Shell give its name to one of Times Square's towers, with multinationals such as Disney, L'Oreal, Google, AXA and AT&T taking up residence.

Serviced office provider Jumpstart is now among that Times Square roll call with a whole floor of facilities including its Neo Suites brand, which offers upgraded offices with Aeron chairs, a manager's room, business-grade printer and minibar with complimentary snacks and drinks at an all-inclusive price.

'Times Square is conveniently situated on the island, clustered with a diversity of companies from support sales offices, recruitment, multinational company back offices, design, IT and more contributing to the demand for services of instant furnished offices,' says Jumpstart director Chapman Leung.

Jumpstart's fifth location in Hong Kong opened last year and precedes the launch of the brand's mainland flagship - a business centre opening this month in Wheelock Square, Shanghai. 'Setting up any business on the mainland is never easy, which is one of the main reasons why newcomers to China need business centres,' says Leung, adding that Jumpstart's experienced team in Shanghai will ensure that the new centre opens on schedule.

The Shanghai property is owned by Wharf, the landlord of Times Square in Causeway Bay. The 270-metre Wheelock Square lays claim to be the newest and tallest building in Puxi, and is designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the New York architects for the ICC Tower in West Kowloon.

Times Square was built on the site of a Hong Kong Tramways depot. The city's first vertical mall has nine floors of retail space. A public area outside the mall has become a Causeway Bay landmark and a favourite location for watching sports events on a giant screen.

Leung believes the location and the need for serviced offices bode well for the future. 'There is growing demand for business centres among domestic and foreign companies to achieve flexibility fitting their business plans such as expansion and relocation. It generates business opportunities for us to keep expanding in Hong Kong and expanding rapidly into the mainland.'