In 2013, I.M. Pei’s iconic Sunning Court building in Causeway Bay was demolished. At the time, many people lamented the loss of this oasis: a place to relax under the palm trees and enjoy a drink or two at the famous Inn Side Out Bar. Five years later and Hysan’s newest landmark, Lee Garden Three, is open for business. Boasting state of the art accessibility and Grade A office and environmental features, it’s a smart building through and through.
The newsDesk met with Jessica Yip, Director Office and Leasing, and Eddie Miu, Office Manager, to take a tour of the building.
Causeway Bay’s unique vibe
The high cost of offices in Central is not news. But it’s leading many companies to consider setting up in other neighbourhoods while remaining connected to the main business hubs.
Causeway Bay has long served this purpose. But more than an overspill area, the district has a unique vibe. Tech-based global brands like Adobe, LinkedIn and Uber all have their head offices in the community.
These companies look for first-class facilities, convenient transport links and plenty of nearby amenities for food, shopping and entertainment. What’s more, there’s a growing number of collaborative workspaces – such as theDesk – which are attracting entrepreneurs and businesses through flexible plans, pricing and community support and services. In fact, Causeway Bay looks set to be the co-working centre of Hong Kong.
Hello, Lee Garden Three
Hysan’s new premium office and retail building, Lee Garden Three, opened in December 2017. The building achieved 50% occupancy on launch. And as you would expect from Hysan, the building is not only elegant; it’s packed with architectural and environmental features.
This is a Grade A option for global companies, looking for a foothold in Asia, or established companies who want a base in one of the most exciting, well-connected and eclectic neighbourhoods anywhere in the city.
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Let’s take a look at some of the features, as we look forward to the enormous new Starbucks and other F&B and retail outlets which will open in the coming months.
In a previous article in the newsDesk, Hysan’s Corporate Sustainability Manager, Konnie Yu gave us a tour of Hysan Place. The rooftop organic farm, artificial wetland and airflow systems, for example, make it one of Asia’s greenest towers.
Following that tradition, Hysan has gone the extra mile to ensure Lee Garden Three is a building fit for a more sustainable future. The ground-breaking design has already been pre-certified to BEAM Plus Platinum and the LEED Gold standard.
Sound and light spectacular
The green features add a luxurious touch to the building. Something that stands out in this building is the use of natural light. From the moment you enter the building, you’re in a bright, airy space. The lush, green walls in public areas add to the tranquility.
“We installed LED tubes to reduce overall energy. And we also provided sensors to tenants so that the lighting can automatically adjust around their office space,” Eddie explains. “Also, there are occupancy sensors so that lights dim and switch off. It can save a lot of energy.”
“We installed a high-performance curtain wall system,” says Eddie ”It lets light in but helps reduce heat from the sun.” Just as importantly, it also screens out exterior noise at the same time.
Hong Kong can be noisy, but inside this building, there’s a calmness you don’t often find in busy urban areas.
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A building for the community
Every building has an impact on its surroundings. The trick for any developer is to make sure that the effect is as positive as possible; bringing benefits to the public and the local community.
The roof garden is a place for tenants to meet and enjoy throughout the year.
The previous building was well known for its palm trees. There aren’t any in the new design, but the architects have included vertical green walls on the podium levels of the building and along both Sunning Road and Hoi Ping Road. “This helps regulate the micro-climate around the building,” Eddie says, “ but it’s also a way to disperse air pollutants. And it looks good too!” he adds.
More than functional design
You know Hong Kong. Space is tight. There’s no room for wasteful excess. But on the other hand, purely functional buildings lack elegance and amenities that make them stand out as exceptional places for modern, international businesses.
The architectural brief for Lee Garden Three was intended to make maximum use of the available space, giving greater flexibility for tenants to adapt the area to suit their needs: whether a contemporary, open-plan setup or something more traditional.
“We aimed for 91% space efficiency,” Eddie tells me. “We needed to think about how to make the most of every space within the building. And how the space could benefit our tenants and visitors.
Opening up space
Making the most of the space involved selecting architectural options which would enhance comfort, usability and access.
”One thing we did was make the staircases a usable design feature,” explains Miu. “Usually, emergency stairs are hidden away but we wanted to find a way to use the space better. So, we installed glass walls and paid as much attention here as in other public areas.”
Not only does this mean light floods into the stairwells, the space is open for tenants. “It encourages collaboration between floors,” Eddie says, “And it means people can use the stairs instead of lifts when moving between floors.”
For multi-floor tenants, this approach brings additional benefits. “It’s a way to connect offices without the need to first install a staircase within their office space, Miu explains. “Of course, there are structural features which let tenants build an internal staircase if necessary. But this makes things a lot easier. It means that as a company expands, structural changes – and costs – are less of a barrier.”
Promoting wellness at work
We spend so much time at work. We’re more aware these days of how the physical environment affects our wellbeing, as well as our productivity. Lee Garden Three has many features which are designed to enhance the wellness of tenants.
“Firstly, we’ve put a garden on the roof,” Eddie says. With breathtaking views of the neighbourhood, this green space is intended as a breakout area; a place for tenants to enjoy and meet. “It’s also a way to reduce heat transfer into the building,” Eddie adds. “It helps a lot with cooling and energy conservation.”
Further down, on the 15th floor, we come to the Sky Garden. “We installed a 100-metre jogging track and public seating. We wanted to provide a place for tenants to relax and get some fresh air,” Eddie says. “We planted bamboo and other plants for screening.”
A breath of fresh air
Fresh Air is something we need more of in this city. No one wants to work in or visit buildings with poor air quality. “We included all kinds of systems that increase the amount of clean, fresh air entering the building,” Miu explains.
Because the air-volume zoning technology and high-efficiency particle filters are so efficient, Lee Garden Three has 30% higher clean, fresh air than the international benchmark.
This is a smart building and the systems controlling air, water and energy respond in real time to office occupation levels. It’s an approach that is slowly becoming a standard for high-quality modern buildings.
Even arriving at Lee Garden Three sets the right tone. The full canopy, extending over the entire entrance drive, is unique in Hong Kong. Not only does it provide shelter from the elements, it cleverly hides a rainwater collection system.
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Personally, I use public transport, but many visitors and tenants want car parking facilities. Lee Garden Three brings 200 additional parking spaces to the neighbourhood. People can get real-time updates on available spaces through Hysan’s Lee Garden apps.
Another forward-thinking feature is the charging facilities for electric vehicles. “We all know that electric vehicles help improve air quality by reducing road emissions. We wanted to make sure this new building supported that. Especially because we expect the electric vehicle market to grow in the future.”
A drive for sustainability; Inside and out
From the sustainable construction methods, recycling of construction waste and extensive use of environmentally friendly materials, to the use of innovative technologies to manage energy and resources throughout the building. Lee Garden Three is a smart development.
It’s a building that is sure to become a landmark within the district, with its blend of premium office and retail space. It’s also a building which symbolises Hysan’s commitment to the long-term, sustainable development of the district. In every way you can imagine, it’s a smart move for Causeway Bay and Hong Kong.