$15b Taikoo booster

Top News | Dominique Nguy 6 Jul 2016

Swire Properties took another step yesterday to expanding its commercial endeavors in the east of Hong Kong Island by unveiling plans to splash out HK$15 billion to redevelop Taikoo Place.

The plan is to transform the Quarry Bay office cluster into a major business and commercial hub.

"The redevelopment will not only elevate Taikoo Place's status as a world- class commercial hub but also provide an attractive alternative to Central," said Don Taylor, who directs office business at Swire Properties.

"Taikoo Place is already home to a significant number of multinational corporations, and with our ongoing investments we aspire to build an open and vibrant mixed-use community that will reshape the office landscape."

The project will see the two new office towers, each with gross floor areas of 1 million square feet, replacing three existing blocks.

The first tower, the 48-story One Taikoo Place, is expected to be completed in 2018 and the 42-story Two Taikoo Place in 2021.

Swire Properties, which is pointing to the project as one of its most important investments in the opening decades of the 21st century, has been working up to the Taikoo Place redevelopment for some years.

A major advance came in March 2014 when Swire Properties sealed a property swap deal with the government that allowed it to take an even firmer grip in Quarry Bay.

That saw Swire Properties exchange the entire 10th floor of Cityplaza Three -- a gross floor area of 205,000 square feet -- plus HK$537 million in cash for eight government-owned stories of Quarry Bay's Cornwall House plus first-floor space, delivering a floor area of 187,000 sq ft.

Martin Cubbon, who was chief executive of Swire Properties then, revealed in 2014 that the swap deal was an important transaction in allowing Swire Properties to turn three industrial- style buildings into two grade A office buildings.

He was referring to Cornwall, Somerset and Warwick Houses.

The two new towers will be linked by air-conditioned walkways with eight existing office towers in Taikoo Place, and the complex will be surrounded by landscaped gardens, water cascades and dining areas.

The architects and design firms involved in the project include Hugh Dutton, Gustafson Porter and Wong & Ouyang (HK).

The current site of Taikoo Place was previously the Taikoo sugar refinery with a total site area of 239,000 sq ft. It was redeveloped into a commercial complex during the 1980s.

Current tenants of Taikoo Place include multinational corporations such as AIG, Facebook and Zurich Insurance.

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