Chinese firms eye iconic office space in Manhattan

Updated: 2011-06-22 10:35

By Zhang Yuwei (China Daily)

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 Chinese firms eye iconic office space in Manhattan
The One World Trade Center at ground zero in New York is expected to be finished in 2013. Zhang Yuwei / China Daily

NEW YORK - Beijing-based AVIC International, specializing in aviation trade and international market development for more than 30 years, announced its intention to reopen its East Coast office in One World Trade Center on Tuesday.

AVIC International is the first client to lease office space from China Center, which signed a lease with the New York Port Authority in 2009 and became the first corporate tenant of the 108-story tower.

AVIC, one of the largest State-owned enterprises in China, had an office in lower east Manhattan 12 years ago before it moved to the West Coast. The East Coast office will be AVIC International's seventh office in the United States, along with others in Washington, California, Texas, Alabama, Michigan and Minnesota.

Roger Zhao, vice-president of AVIC International USA, said: "New York is a strategic location to engage in international markets and further explore growth opportunities."

Feng Lun, chairman of China Center and Vantone Holdings, the center's investor, said that it is a good starting point for the center to work with Fortune 500 global firms.

"This reinforces the business community's faith in this project as a nexus for China-US business and cultural exchanges," added Feng, who was the first to commit to One World Trade Center after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Feng said for smart investors, dreams should come before money.

"We should pursue dreams and foresee the value of future investments," Feng said at a ceremony celebrating AVIC, held on the tower's 34th floor.

"I believe more Chinese companies will be interested in becoming part of this," said Feng.

Kathryn Wylde, CEO of Partnership for New York City, said that AVIC's relocation to One World Trade Center illustrates how Vantone Holdings is creating an important platform in Lower Manhattan for global companies, including those in China.

"This represents an exciting new channel for bringing foreign investment and jobs from the world's fastest growing economy to New York," said Wylde.

The iconic 1,776-foot (541 meter) tower, currently under construction at ground zero, will be the tallest skyscraper in the city when it's completed by the end of 2013. China Center will lease the 64th to 69th floors - 17,651 square meters - for 22 years.

China Center plans to rent out two of the five floors for office space and develop the rest into a conference facility for business and cultural events.

Jorge Szendiuch, principal at Perkins Eastman, an architecture company that is helping design the space, said that a vertical Chinese garden will be incorporated into the area.

"(The garden is) not in terms of plants, but in terms of spaces and concept, and how you precede from one space to another. That concept is expressed in the China Center identity," said Szendiuch.

Phillippe Visser, director of the World Trade Center Redevelopment for the New York Port Authority, said the original World Trade Center had many Asian and Chinese tenants, and China Center has helped bring some of them back.

"This is a large step in terms of bringing those types of companies back into One World Trade Center and will make it a very important portion of the building," Visser told China Daily.

"The space speaks for itself. It is world-class office space. All companies, including Chinese ones, will have their 21st century office headquarters' needs," he added.

Some small- and medium-sized private Chinese companies have showed interest in renting space from China Center.

Aaron Wei, managing director of Asia-Pacific at Alac International, which already has an office in midtown Manhattan, is interested in renting space at the tower.

"It is an iconic spot in Manhattan and plus it is quite convenient location," Wei said after a tour of the tower organized by China Center on Tuesday.

Cai Chengyu, CEO of Shanghai-based Globelink China Investment Ltd, a logistics services company, also showed interested in becoming a tenant of the China Center, too. But Cai said he'll wait until the construction reaches a more concrete phase before agreeing to rental terms.

"Even if I have a strong interest in becoming a tenant, it is still a bit too early to tell. I will watch for it as more details unfold," said Cai.

Cai said companies renting space at One World Trade Center is a good business strategy.

China Daily

(China Daily 06/22/2011 page1)


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