World Trade Centre gets huge facelift
SUN Hung Kai Properties is transforming the lower levels of the World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay into a modern shopping and entertainment arcade in a $300 million renovation programme.
This is the biggest facelift project ever undertaken by Sun Hung Kai for its retail and shopping properties.
The extensive renovation will turn the original three-storey basement into a five-storey complex with a total floor area of about 190,000 square foot including an extra 50,000 sq ft granted by the Government.
Eric Tung, deputy manager of Sun Hung Kai's project management department, said the extra floor area was awarded because the company dedicated the bulk of the ground floor as a 24-hour public passage.
Only about 10,000 sq ft on the ground floor would be retained for retail purposes, he said.
The Government also agreed to block traffic from Jaffe Road into the open area of World Trade Centre's entrance which will be made into a plaza for the public.
Mr Tung said the renovation was expected to be ready for occupation in September or October next year.
Sun Hung Kai was also planning to expand the retail complex with a proposal to turn nine office floors above, now occupied by Chase Manhattan Bank's operations, into retail use, he said.
Chase is expected to move its operations to Sun Hung Kai's Grand Central Plaza in Sha Tin, leaving the floors at World Trade Centre which have a total of about 117,000 sq ft.
While the original complex was mainly occupied by the 1,058-seat Palace Theatre and the Maxim's Restaurant, Sun Hung Kai intends to bring in a balanced mix of modern retailers and entertainment operators in the renovated arcade.
Mr Tung said the shopping habits of Hong Kong people, especially youngsters, had changed substantially and buying now often extended to midnight or beyond.
'We put much emphasis on developing the atmosphere at night with flashing neon lights attached at the curtain-wall entrance, topped with an aluminium canopy,' he said.
Mr Tung said the company initially intended to have about 70 per cent of the complex leased to retailers and the remainder leased to food and beverage or entertainment operators.
'We are very selective in choosing tenants. We hope to bring in some new US retailers, something like the Planet Hollywood, ' he said.
Tenants would be asked to extend their business hours to midnight or beyond to suit the new lifestyle and shopping patterns of Hong Kong people, he said.
Sun Hung Kai is already negotiating with several potential tenants for the complex although marketing has not yet begun.
Except for the ground floor, each of the floors at the complex will measure about 30,000 sq ft. The size of units will range from 100 to 12,000 sq ft. Rental prices were not available.
But estate agents said shops at the ground floor would probably command a monthly rental of $600 to $700 per sq ft or even more.
Retail rents vary substantially in Causeway Bay, ranging from less than $100 sq ft to more than $1,000 per sq ft.
Sun Hung Kai announced in February 1993 its $2.21 billion acquisition of World Trade Centre. A small portion of the office floors were sold, with the majority retained for rental purposes.