New era for TST property hailed

GATEWAY, Wharf's huge new development in Tsim Sha Tsui, was topped out yesterday in a ceremony said to mark the start of a new era for the Tsim Sha Tsui office market.

Speaking from the top of the tallest building in Kowloon, Wharf (Holdings) chairman-designate Gonzaga Li said: ''Tsim Sha Tsui is no longer a secondary property market.'' Wharf recently announced that its Causeway Bay development, Times Square, was fully occupied, and that plans to develop Gateway II were on track.

Mr Li said: ''I do not think [Tsim Sha Tsui] will surpass Central, but a lot of companies who cannot afford the high rents in Central will be looking elsewhere, and now they have a first-class development in this area to consider.'' Gateway is the first phase of a redevelopment programme for the Harbour City complex. The next phase will involve the development of more than 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space.

When finished, said Doreen Lee, a director and general manager of Wharf subsidiary Harriman Leasing, Harbour City would be ''the largest retail-commercial development in the world''.

Gateway already has tenants for 250,000 sq ft. They include multinationals Texas Instruments, Sony and Pacific Dunlop.

Negotiations are being held over another 400,000 sq ft in the 25-storey first phase, scheduled for completion in May.

Completion of the second phase - storeys 26 to 36 - scheduled for August, will give a gross floor space of 1.2 million sq ft.

Ms Lee expects the remaining 200,000 sq ft of offices in phase one to be taken within three weeks.

She said: ''We still have a number of warehouses in Kowloon Bay and in Kwun Tong, which we may decide to redevelop in the future.''