Thursday, May 08, 2008

Times Square in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Why is everyone looking up?
They are checking out the news showing the Olympic torch relay in ... Hong Kong!

The trams of HK give the landscape a nice old feel ...

Goodbye Times Square ... we head off in a taxi.

Times Square according to Wikipedia
Times Square (traditional Chinese: 時代廣場) is a major shopping centre and office tower complex in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong.
The complex, owned by Wharf Properties Limited, part of The Wharf (Holdings) Limited group, was opened in April 1994.
The site was previously occupied by the original tram depot of the Hong Kong Tramways, another of the Wharf's subsidiary operations acquired in 1974. The Executive Council approved Tramways' plan to relocate its depots to Sai Wan Ho and Sai Ying Pun in July 1986, on the argument that the HK$3.5 million in operating costs savings would allow for tram fares to be held down.
The area was predominantly residential , and the Town Planning Board insisted that the project did not include any more residential space. In July 1987, Wharf unveiled draft plans to redevelop the site into 1,600,000-square-foot (148,600 m²) of office and retail space . Following the relocation of Wanchai depot, the site was surrendered to its associate in 1988.
In 1991, the concrete plans were announced : the project would create 186,000m² of retail and office complex, an estimated construction cost of HK$ 2 billion .
At the time, this part of Wanchai/Causeway Bay was deemed "not a very attractive part of town". The developer's debt levels and the uncertainty over sovereignty also rendered project financing more problematic . Now it is considered prime property in the heart of Causeway Bay.
The project consists of 83,700m² of retail space, and two office towers with 102,300m² of accommodation.
Times Square is considered the first of its kind, the first "vertical mall" in Hong Kong. Due to the high land price in Hong Kong, and the higher yield on retail property, Times Square departs from the common western model of the flat shopping mall . The space allocated to retail is configured over 9 storeys. The mall and lifts to the office tower are accessible by long escalators linking the ground floor podium and the first level of the mall.
Under the terms of a Deeds of Dedication signed with the Government, 3,010 sq. m of the ground floor was set aside for public access, although the company has the right to organise exhibitions there, and charge fees. The exact details of the concessions to the developers were not made public.
How to get there ...
Wikipedia : Times Square is served by the MTR's Causeway Bay station. There is an underground passage which directly links the building, and an exit which opens into the ground floor podium level.
It is also accessible by tram in the direction to Happy Valley or Shau Kei Wan.

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