Developer puts transport hub on fast track
Updated: 2011-06-30 11:04
By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Tourists take photos at Xintiandi, a residential and commercial complex known for its high-end bar and restaurant street in Shanghai. A similar commercial complex, adjacent to the Hongqiao International Airport and Hongqiao Railway Station, will be completed in early 2014. [Photo / China Daily]
SHANGHAI - The developer of Xintiandi, Shui On Land Ltd, looks to profit from the construction boom in China's high-speed rail network by building a commercial complex adjacent to Hongqiao International Airport and Hongqiao Railway Station in Shanghai.
The commercial complex, named the Hongqiao Tiandi project, will have a total floor area of 380,000 square meters (sq m), 280,000 sq m of which will be available for leasing, said Freddy Lee, managing director and chief executive officer of Shui On Land.
The Hong Kong-listed Shui On Land spent 3.18 billion yuan ($491.4 million) to acquire the land for Hongqiao Tiandi, and the project will be completed within two to three years. It's designed as a purely commercial project with restaurants, shops and a hotel, Lee said.
Hongqiao Tiandi will benefit directly from the huge passenger flow at the Hongqiao transportation hub comprising the Hongqiao International Airport, the high-speed Hongqiao Railway Station, subway lines, bus stations and public parking lots.
"In keeping with the Xintiandi model, all the commercial retail space will be available for lease only," Lee told China Daily.
He was confident of attracting target clients, many of whom will come via the high-speed railway network.
It took Shui On Land 10 years to develop and package the concept of the traditional shikumen (stone gate) houses on narrow alleys in downtown Shanghai into the current Xintiandi, a residential and commercial complex known for its high-end bar and restaurant street.
In the coming years, Shui On Land will increase its development pace, and the Hongqiao Tiandi is due to be completed in early 2014, Lee said.
In a break from Xintiandi's traditional Chinese style, Hongqiao Tiandi will make more modern additions. But unlike Xintiandi, it will have no residential use complex.
There is limited space for renovating downtown, so new complexes around high-speed rail stations will become the next growth point. "Following the high-speed railway has proved to be a successful development mode in foreign countries," Lee added.
So far, Shui On Land has 11.6 million sq m of land in reserve, of which more than 6 million sq m has been set aside for commercial development. "Almost all market-savvy property developers have focused on commercial development, but to have a mixture of residential and commercial would be nice," Lee said.
During China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the country will build up to 30,000 kilometers of new railways, making the national rail network reach 120,000 kilometers, Wang Yongping, Ministry of Railways spokesman, was quoted as saying by China Central Television in May.
Hongqiao Tiandi is currently in its preparatory stage, and construction is due to begin in the third quarter.
Premier Wen visits Hungary, Britain and Germany June 24-28.
Foreign readers are invited to share your China stories.
Welshman makes a good living with songs that recall the fervor of China's New Beginning.