China Vanke plays catch-up at Qianhai office project

Developer hopes to have 80pc of the office portion at Enterprise Dream Park ready for occupancy by December as list of waiting tenants grows

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 11:52am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 4:30pm

China Vanke will have to speed up construction if it plans to open the first office project in Qianhai on December 7 to mark the second anniversary of President Xi Jinping's visit to the special economic zone in Shenzhen.

The one billion yuan (HK$1.3 billion) low-rise commercial project, Enterprise Dream Park, comprises 50 office blocks, each with two to three storeys, to be built on a 110,000 square metre site. The building concept is akin to a small town with amenities like restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores and a fitness centre. The complex will have a floor area of 60,000 sq metres.

"We have completed five blocks so far," said He Lan, investment director of the marketing department at Shenzhen Vanke's Dream Park Operation Management, a wholly owned unit of China Vanke, the largest developer on the mainland.

He believes about 40 blocks will be ready for tenants to move into by December as the firm uses prefabricated materials to shorten the completion time of the project. The remaining 10 will be in phase two of the development.

The waiting list to lease space at Enterprise Dream Park is getting longer as financial institutions in Hong Kong and on the mainland all seek a foothold in Qianhai.

The zone was set up in July 2012 as a testing ground for the free flow of yuan and other policies to encourage overseas investments. The first batch of 15 companies, largely dominated by banks, insurers, funds and law firms, signed leasing contracts with China Vanke last week.

More than 30 per cent of the tenants come from Hong Kong, including HSBC and Hang Seng Bank. Mainland tenants are led by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Citic Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and China Mobile.

He said China Vanke was in talks with more than 100 companies such as coffee giant Starbucks to rent office space at Enterprise Dream Park.

Only companies registered with Qianhai Authority are eligible to set up office in the zone. So far this year, about 6,000 firms have registered in the zone.

The monthly rent for space at Enterprise Dream Park ranges from 250 to 300 yuan per square metre. The size of each office block is 200 to 1,600 sqmetres.

Among the companies hoping to open an office in the project is Shenzhen-based Sincere Partners & Attorneys. Lawson Chen, a partner in Sincere, said the law firm was one of the candidates in the second batch for the area. It planned to rent one whole office block of 753 sqmetres, he said.

"The final decision will be determined by China Vanke and Qianhai Authority," he said. "Initially we will deploy 30 staff, and we will increase the operation to 100 later."

Sincere hoped to tap the growing demand for legal services, given the financial reforms that would be carried out in the pilot economic zone, Chen said.

Besides the offices, the 5,900 sqmetre Qianhai Special Hall will be used for exhibitions and conventions by industry groups.

There will also be a 3,300 sqmetre business centre, which will be open 24 hours a day. The centre is suitable for companies planning to set up shop in Qianhai at a minimal cost because short-term leases of days or months are available.

Last year, Qianhai auctioned six parcels of land totalling 2.55 million sqmetres for 40.7 billion yuan. The winning bids were mostly from Hong Kong-registered mainland firms, raising concern that the new zone would not be able to attract capital from Hong Kong because the benefits of moving there were not exactly clear.

"We will give priority to Hong Kong companies interested in opening a station in Qianhai," He said.

Four commercial sites in the zone would be offered for auction on May 22, the Shenzhen Land and Real Estate Exchange Centre said. The sites could yield a total gross floor area of 140,000 sqmetres.