Analysts estimate Causeway Bay plan will reap $92m a year Hysan Development can expect an additional $92 million in annual rental income if a proposed underground shopping street in Causeway Bay is realised, property analysts say. The government has floated a proposal calling for a 50-metre underground passage below Hennessy Road linking Hysan's Hennessy Centre to the Sogo department store, an attempt to improve conditions for pedestrians in one of the world's most crowded shopping districts. Kai Chiu Road, which runs behind Hennessy Centre, would be fully pedestrianised. The government has asked Hysan Development to consider converting a five-level car park in Hennessy Centre into retail space to support the project. ING analyst Eva Lee estimated the car park had a gross floor area of 100,000 square feet. She said Hysan could enjoy a net asset value enhancement of about $1 per share through the conversion. Property consultants said the converted retail spaces at Hennessy Centre, which houses Japanese department store Mitsukoshi, could sell for $14,000 per square foot, or yield monthly rentals of $70 per square foot. Hysan could therefore generate $92.4 million in rental income a year from the conversion. 'Hysan's investment property portfolio would benefit as the plan would attract more shoppers to Causeway Bay,' Ms Lee said. Hysan is the biggest commercial landlord in Causeway Bay. It owns the AIA Plaza and the Hennessy Centre, as well as Lee Gardens One and Two. Michael Lee Tze-hau, managing director of Hysan, was optimistic about the proposal but declined to estimate its business impact, saying a detailed study was needed. 'Building an underground shopping street is an innovative concept,' he said. 'We strongly support it as the shopping environment in Causeway Bay will be greatly improved.' However, converting the car park into retail space was not a simple project, he cautioned, and might entail expensive structural changes to the building. In response to the government's proposal, he said, Hysan was planning to introduce more restaurants to the Lee Theatre to enhance the dining experience in the district. Mr Lee also suggested that the district would benefit from a beautification programme including an increase in trees and better traffic control.