Looks like Japan has gone green in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo! The Multi-Housing News is reporting that the urban, mixed-use project "Tokyo Midtown" is now ready for business! 40% of the over one million square foot development is green space. Actually, what I like about this project is the fact that the trees that were displaced were actually replanted. I saw this when I was in school...the university was digging out this huge hole in the middle of campus to put in a library and the trees that were removed were put in these huge wooden crates with a lot of dirt and soil and they just sat on campus until the library was built. So, major props go to the landscape architecture firm EDAW for saving the trees! They are actually based in San Francisco but have offices world-wide. If you want to see the types of projects these guys are working on, check it out.
According to Toshihide Ichikawa (general manager at Mitsui Fudosan for the Midtown project), mixed use is a relatively new concept in Japan. As I was thinking about it, I didn't see a whole lot of mixed use developments in Korea when I lived there. If the leases tell you anything about the project's popularity, the project seems to be a hit with the likes of Cisco and Yahoo Japan signing up to lease commercial space. In fact, according to the project leader Toshihiko Omachi, all of the commercial space is fully leased up. Not only does the development boast a commercial presence but it also has over 500 residential units...not to mention a Ritz Carlton, which no doubt fits in well with the Midtown project's overall elegant design, redefining luxurious city living.
The project is also credited with helping to stimulate the local economy. That's actually a part of the story that I would like to dig a little deeper. You see that a lot, especially in big cities...I saw that happen to the commercial office space in the SOMA (San Francisco) district in late 2004 and into 2005. At that time, leases were pretty high in the SF financial district and property managers were unwilling to negotiate rent terms. Tenants were offered killer deals to relocate south of market...some even got building naming rights to move out of the financial district. A domino effect ensued and now that area is really thriving. Anyway, the Midtown project looks great and it is pretty amazing to think of how they figured out how to cram over 400,000 square feet of green space in Tokyo! Via.