Towering over West Kowloon, the city's newest iconic skyscraper, the International Commerce Centre (ICC), dominates the skyline on the peninsula even though it's still being built. The gigantic hi-tech complex is also starting to dominate the office leasing market as its floor space becomes available in stages. When completed in 2010, the 490-metre mega-structure will be Hong Kong's tallest building and the world's third-tallest building in terms of usable floors. The steel, glass and concrete structure would also set new standards in quality and services, said Lo King-wai, deputy general manager of Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency. 'It is simply the most forward-looking complex of its kind ever built in the region,' Mr Lo said. 'The office spaces themselves set new standards in terms of flexibility and size for Hong Kong. We and the architects, Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, have worked hard to ensure that the ICC will also set a new standard for quality of materials and finish.' With a five-star hotel on the top floors - and offices, retail stores, restaurants, residences and serviced apartments on the middle and lower floors - the ICC is set to become a new Hong Kong landmark. But it is the growing demand for quality offices over recent years, with the increasing presence of mainland and foreign firms in Hong Kong, which is driving interest in the building. Adding to the supply shortage, multinationals and major local companies are looking for prime office space for expansion amid a continuously robust and resilient local economy, proving the market is still strong against the global credit squeeze. Developer Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) believes the ICC will tap this demand as one of the main suppliers of grade A offices with about 450,000 sqft between the completed 10th and 22nd floors already on the market for pre-leasing. And with this grade A space comes grade A clients, including Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley who have confirmed their relocation to the West Kowloon site. Other companies have also signed lease agreements and the forecast for the future occupation rate is healthy with floors filling up quickly. Mr Lo said the ICC was, as envisioned, attracting a mix of multinational names from banking and finance, and services. 'For the ICC, our intention was to attract a fairly wide spectrum of tenants. The office spaces are large, efficient and flexible enough that they can be optimised for virtually any type of business. These attributes also gave us the opportunity to offer prospective tenants an unusually extensive menu of options.' Located at the heart of Sun Hung Kai Properties' larger Kowloon Station development, the ICC is part of a massive building project which will comprise about 2.5million sqft of grade A space. On the retail side Elements, a vast shopping mall, is already providing amenities in support of the location's emergence as the city's newest commercial hub. The five-star Ritz-Carlton, on the top 15 floors of the ICC, will be the highest hotel in the world, with guests checking in at 425 metres, surpassing the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Jin Mao Tower in Pudong, Shanghai. But it is the interior design of the ICC tower that the developer hopes will bring in tenants with the invaluable advantage of generous unobstructed space. 'The average floor plate is 35,000 square feet and they are all proportioned for maximum space utilisation, so they offer a wide variety of tenants a useful degree of scalability when it comes to laying out their offices - and if need be, expanding in the future. The clear ceiling height of the office space will be up to 3.15 metres.' He said it was an 'outstandingly efficient building', with many eco-friendly features including an 'energy optimiser' air-conditioning system that reduced power needs by about 15 per cent. The 118-floor building will contain 41 escalators and 83 intelligent lifts that use 12 per cent less power than traditional systems, including 40 'double-deck' lifts, and 18 high-speed ones. The lift shafts, taken together, will stretch more than 14km. The ICC, designed with distinctive, streamlined architecture including a public viewing deck on the 100th floor, together with Two IFC in Central will form the Victoria Harbour Gateway. The ICC's position opposite to what is now Hong Kong's tallest building, and guarding the approaches to the Kowloon peninsula, was already making the tower an attractive option, Mr Lo said. 'Geographically, the ICC sits ideally close to Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, and because it is also the hub of two MTR and two railway lines, it offers quick transportation to virtually any other point in the territory, including the airport. It is a very complete vision. Needless to say, given the ICC's height and location, they'll also boast some unmatched harbour and city views.' By being so close to major infrastructure connections it means it will take about 20 minutes to get to the airport, three minutes to Central by rail and 20 minutes to the Lok Ma Chau border checkpoint via Route 3. With the constant demand for grade A offices, SHKP believes the ICC will play a key role in supplying prime space as the continued expansion and relocation of multinationals intensifies.