Low and high-rise complexes can be just as luxurious as standalone villas, and most are in or near the heart of the city For those whose budgets don?t quite stretch to a mansion fit for a princeling, or for whom the convenience of living close to the office is all-important, there are exclusive townhouses and apartments on the market in Beijing. One of the best examples is Richmond Park. 'We knew the upper end of the market is the way of the future. It's a bit like the end of the 1980s in Hong Kong, for comparison purposes,' says Lawrence Wood, chairman of the China Property Development Fund, which is building Richmond Park with the Netherlands-based ING group. Dick Kwan, managing director for China of ING Real Estate, says high-end townhouses near the city centre -- but not too central - are a good bet. 'Inside the second ring road is increasingly a no-go area because of resettlement demands, and height restrictions are very low. A bit further out you get a better return on lower cost of land while still having convenient access to the city,' he says. The benefits of Richmond Park are that it is close to the fourth ring road and the airport expressway. It is also in a predominantly expatriate area, with schools nearby. The launch price was 9,000 yuan per square metre, which rose to 11,000 yuan per sq m after just two months. So far, 250 units have been sold and there are about 60 left. Most buyers have been local, with around 20 per cent from overseas. Central Park, which is being developed by Hongkong Land and Vantone, has been asking higher prices. Situated right in the heart of the central business district, units during the pre-sale phase were fetching around 13,000 yuan per sq m. On a 10.5 hectare site, the development will have 1,800 residential units, 2,000 car parking spaces and 20,000 sq m of ancillary facilities once it is fully built. Its first phase units are currently being leased at US$16-$18 per square metre, while Phase Three will open in March next year. Park Avenue is another development slightly up the price scale at about 16,000 yuan per sq m. Built and managed by Hines, a US-based developer with vast experience in many of the biggest American cities, it has the advantage of being located on Chaoyang Park. Some of the city?s upper-end apartment developments truly are spectacular. Royal Palace, a 168-apartment complex in three towers, is very exclusive. Almost all the decor is imported - mostly from Italy, while each kitchen is fully equipped with German Gaggenau appliances. All bathrooms come with Bang & Olufsen telephones, while the jacuzzi has a television and crystal taps. Chateau Glory is another prestigious development that will soon offer apartments for the super-rich, with all the services to match. Although it doesn't have big grounds of its own, it conveniently overlooks the beautiful park created by the Purple Jade Villas development. The advantage of Chateau Glory will be in the services its management team offers, once all facilities open in May next year. At the top end this will include butlers (see page 13). An enormous, luxurious clubhouse run by an internationally reputable company will also be a strong attraction. For shorter-term residents, there are also a number of high-end serviced apartments available in the city centre, such as the Tower Apartments at the Oriental Plaza and the Residence at the Kerry Centre (see page 17).