Hong Kong property developers and landlords are welcoming more restaurants and bars to their office buildings, as they look to offer more entertainment options to their tenants in an otherwise soft office market.
More than five new food and beverage (F&B) outlets are set to open in and around Taikoo Place this year, for instance. These include trendy Australian seafood restaurant Catch, boutique cafe HAVN, Lady M, which is famous for its cakes, and Japanese hand rolled sushi and sake bar TMK.
“Taikoo Place needs to appeal to younger members of the world … we need to make sure that it has all the amenities and restaurants and bars, and I think we have achieved that,” said Don Taylor, the director of office at Swire Properties. The developer owns and operates Taikoo Place and is a major landlord in Quarry Bay.
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Most Hong Kong developers are putting more effort into expanding their F&B offerings to better serve and retain tenants amid a rise in vacant spaces in their office buildings. The vacancy rate for grade A offices rose to 7.9 per cent in Central in April, 12.4 per cent in Wan Chai and 7.5 per cent in Causeway Bay, according to Knight Frank.
“Office tenants nowadays are, in general, more demanding, while landlords would like to enhance the image of their building and provide extra amenities to tenants,” said Oliver Tong, head of retail at JLL in Hong Kong.
Swire Properties could go a step further and improve the F&B offering across the whole of Taikoo Place, Taylor said. “We will put more higher-end dining in place to cater to the demand of executives of our corporate tenants, who can entertain their clients here. We are currently looking at a number of different spaces within Taikoo Place and are speaking to a number of different operators,” he added. The developer’s Two Taikoo Place, a 41-storey building, will be launched next year.
Hysan Development, the biggest landlord in Causeway Bay, will feature alfresco dining among other F&B options in a new grade A office tower it hopes to unveil in the district by 2026-27. “We see a growing demand for lifestyle spaces among our office tenants,” said Ricky Lui, Hysan’s chief operating officer.
Last summer, 132-year-old landlord and developer Hongkong Land launched Basehall, a food court with nine stalls run by some of the city’s trendiest F&B operators, including Honbo, Co Thanh and Young Master Brewery, in the basement of Jardine House. The company, which owns about 450,000 square metres of prime office and retail properties in Central, will offer more “innovative and trendy” dining places in the next six to 12 months, it said.
“It has become slightly more apparent recently that we are seeing F&B elements not just in the basements and lobbies, but also on rooftops, floors with balconies … We have had some discussions with various landlords on this,” said Ada Fung, head of advisory and transaction services, office services, at CBRE.
“F&B operators, they are always up for unique locations. So rooftops and balcony floors are always interesting options for them,” she added.
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