HK$100m facelift for mall to prepare for CBD2

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2011, 12:00am


Sun Hung Kai Properties plans a HK$100 million facelift next year for its six-year-old APM shopping mall.

The mall is near Kwun Tong MTR station in East Kowloon, earmarked by the government as the site of a second core business district.

'Originally, we planned to spend HK$80 million on the facelift. But we decided to increase the budget to HK$100 million after the announcement that East Kowloon was to be redeveloped,' SHKP leasing department general manager Maureen Fung Sau-yim said.

'We are now working out the details, but the initial plan is to increase the number of shops at APM from the present 180 to as many as 250.' The renovation would begin after the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on January 23, and was due to be completed in two to three years.

Fung said the space allocated to retailers of audio-visual equipment and information technology products would be expanded to 100,000 square feet, from the present 45,000. Other revamps would include installing new escalators leading shoppers to upper floors of the seven-level APM, a redesign of the food court, and new toilets featuring differently themed decor on each level.

'In order to generate innovative ideas, a toilet-design competition will be held,' Fung said.

The proposed second financial centre will be double the size of Central and will cover an area that includes Kwun Tong, Kowloon Bay, and the old Kai Tai airport site. The proposal was unveiled by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in his policy speech last month and is aimed at providing more office space and maintaining the city's competitiveness among regional rivals.

Outlining his vision for Kowloon East, or the so-called CBD2, Tsang said the area could provide 5.8 million square metres of office space. To improve the area's infrastructure, the government plans to build a HK$12 billion monorail system with 12 stops connecting Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong MTR station via Kai Tak. The plan also calls for 33,000 private and public flats on the old airport site, and 20 million square feet of space for offices, shops, hotels and a cruise terminal. 'It will definitely inject new life into the area and our shopping mall will need to sharpen its competitiveness to capture the great new opportunities,' Fung said.

A decade ago transaction prices for office space in the area were about HK$800 per square foot. They have since soared by 837 per cent to about HK$7,500 per square foot. Fung said prices rose another 10 to 15 per cent after the announcement of CBD2.

As APM was next to Kwun Tong station and on top of a bus terminus for visitors using the Huanggang border crossing, it attracted a lot of mainland visitors, she said.

'Last week a mainland investor was inquiring about making a property investment in Kwun Tong as a result of the plans to turn the area into a second CBD. He also dropped in at apm and spent HK$500,000 on two Rolex watches and other jewellery before heading home,' she said.

Fung, who oversees more than five million square feet of space in 35 shopping malls, said APM would arrange visits to the mall by 80 tour groups, amounting to about 4,000 people, from Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou next month to boost Christmas sales.