- Times Square (Hong Kong)
infobox shopping mall
shopping_mall_name = Times Square
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
opening_date = April 1994
The Wharf (Holdings) Limited
manager = The Wharf (Holdings) Limited
owner = The Wharf (Holdings) Limited
floor_area = 83,700 m²
website = [http://www.timessquare.com.hk/ timessquare.com.hk]
Times Square (zh-t|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) Limitedgroup, 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 Hoand Sai Ying Punin July 1986, on the argument that the HK$3.5 million in operating costs savings would allow for tram fares to be held down. [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/16_14.02/68721.pdf Plan to relocate depot keeps tram-fares down] , South China Morning Post, July 16, 1986]
The area was predominantly residential, and the Town Planning Board insisted that the project did not include any more residential space. In July 1987, Wharf unveiled draft plans to redevelop the site into convert|1600000|sqft|m2|-2|sing=on of office and retail space. [Christopher Marchand, [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/04_08.03/110569.pdf Offices, shops plan for tram depot site] ,
South China Morning Post, July 24, 1987] Following the relocation of Wanchai depot, the site was surrendered to its associate in 1988.
In 1991, the concrete plans were announced: the project would create 186,000 m² of retail and office complex, an estimated construction cost of HK$ 2 billion.Michael Taylor, [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/05_02.13/105240.pdf Sign of the times] ,
Far Eastern Economic Review, June 13, 1991]
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 83,700 m² of retail space, and two office towers with 102,300 m² of accommodation.
Times Square is considered the first of its kind, the first "vertical mall" in Hong Kong.Danny Chung, [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=48&art_id=27468&sid=5779401&con_type=1&d_str=20051209&sear_year=2005 Reach for the sky] ,
The Standard, December 9, 2005] 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.
It is common practise for owners to allow naming buildings after its important tenants and giving illusion of ownership. [Danny Chung, [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=48&art_id=21303&sid=8499962&con_type=1&d_str=20060623&sear_year=2006 Name of the game is signage rights] ,
The Standard, June 23, 2006] The entire complex remains owned by Wharf, but western and eastern office towers of the complex have been named "Shell Tower" and "Tower One" respectively.
Ground floor open space
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, pedestrian passage and passive recreation. However, 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.Diana Lee, [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=11&art_id=62639&sid=17926300&con_type=1&d_str=20080306&sear_year=2008 "Democrats enter fray in Times Square rent row"] ,
The Standard, March 6, 2008]
Public open space controversy
Between July 2003 and March 2005, a corner of the piazza was leased to
Starbucks Coffee. The company claimed it was an "unintentional oversight" that was quickly corrected after the Buildings Department complained.
In 2008, controversy was again sparked following complaints that private security guards attempted to stop people lingering in the public area, and building management apologised for their "over-zealous" guards. [Diana Lee, [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=11&art_id=62525&sid=17904294&con_type=1&d_str=20080305&sear_year=2008 "Pushy Times Square guards raise hackles"] ,
The Standard, March 5, 2008] Since then, there has been a vociferous campaign to re-examine provisions for public open space, and the government "quid pro quo" with property developers.Timothy Chui, [http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=30&art_id=67363&sid=19388986&con_type=3&d_str=20080618&sear_year=2008 "Plaza sued over exorbitant rents"] , The Standard, 18 June, 2008] Alan Leonglamented the poor quality of some of Hong Kong's public open spaces, and said he hoped that a Legco review would result in a "more transparent and predictable system".Nick Gentle, "Times Square suite 'will shake industry'"] , Pg C1, South China Morning Post, 18 June, 2008]
The Secretary for Justice, on behalf of the Government, filed a writ in the High Court against Times Square Ltd and its parent company Wharf Group, seeking to recover rental fees of as much as HK$124,000 a day for use of the Causeway Bay piazza dating back to 1993. Commentators describe it as a landmark lawsuit which may have significant implications for other property owners if it is successful.Nick Gentle, "Mall sued over public space rents"] , Pg A1,
South China Morning Post, 18 June, 2008]
The company believes that it has not charged more than what is allowed in the deed, but welcomed the case saying it would ultimately provide for guidance on the proper interpretation of the relevant clauses in the deed of dedication concerned.
Times Square is served by the
MTR's Causeway Bay station. There is an underground passage which directly links the building, and an exit, coined "A1" opens into the ground floor podium level.
The Times Square Marketplace Mall was featured in the 2003 film where a department store that is marked as 'closed for renovation' is secretly hiding a
biological weaponsproduction plant.
* [http://www.timessquare.com.hk/e/index.html Times Square Homepage]
* [http://www.wharfholdings.com/promain.htm The Wharf Holdings Limited] - owner of the complex
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