For shoppers and tourists, the opening of Hysan Place yesterday meant a new spot to relax, but for Hysan Development it marked a big step forward in its goal to create a new shopping hub in the city's busiest commercial area.
As Causeway Bay's biggest landlord, Hysan was busy formulating a series of shopping and parking promotions to connect Hysan Place, Lee Gardens and Lee Theatre Plaza into a hub, a company spokeswoman said. The hub would join existing shopping centres Sogo and Times Square.
'Each of the three areas is distinct - Lee Gardens focuses on high-end goods; Lee Theatre, One Hysan Avenue and the Leighton Centre are chic and stylish - while Hysan Place is a mixture of everything, with new lifestyle, dining and cultural brands,' said assistant manager of communications Alice Lo.
Renovation work at the Lee Theatre Plaza, which is due to be completed by the middle of next year, will complete the hub.
Thomas Lau Luen-hung - the managing director of Lifestyle International Holdings, Sogo's owner - said the company would rise to the challenge of competition by launching a sales and promotional campaign.
He said he was not worried the new Hysan mall would lure customers away, as it should bring more traffic to the district and 'create a larger cake for everyone'.
Hysan said all 270,000 square feet of the leasable retail space, comprising 120 shops, in the new 17-storey mall was occupied. The building is expected to bring in a rental income of about HK$162 million in the second half of the year, on top of HK$87 million booked in the first half.
The 15 office floors, have proved less popular, however, with only about 40 per cent of the 240,000 square feet available let so far, mostly on lower floors, where the rent is lower.
Deputy chairman Lau Siu-chuen said both occupancy rates and rents should rise next year, when Hong Kong's economic growth was expected to be double this year's.
The increase in retail space at Hysan Place over that available in the Hennessy Centre, built in 1981, which it replaced