Tue, Jul 27, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Tunhua district holds its own in battle with Hsinyi

REAL ESTATE The Tunhua district has perhaps lost some of its luster to the newer and better-equipped Hsinyi, but it isn't time yet to give Tunhua up for dead

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the Hsinyi district in East Taipei positions itself as the city's most popular business district, property brokers said yesterday that the old golden business circle around Tunhua North Road will stay competitive despite the Hsinyi hype.

"Companies have been moving to the emerging Hsinyi district over the last few years, and with the completion of the landmark Taipei 101 skyscraper at the end of the year, the area will definitely become a hot spot for companies to locate their offices," said Andrew Liu (劉學龍), managing director of the Taipei branch of CB Richard Ellis Ltd, the world's biggest commercial property broker, at a press conference yesterday.

"But the statistics show that office space in the vicinity of Tunhua North Road, which used to be Taipei City's most popular business district, is still valuable," Liu said.

With their proximity to Sungshan Airport, the nation's former international airport, as well as to business facilities such as the Magnolia Hotel (中泰賓館), Tunhua North Road and Minsheng East Road developed as Taipei's key business center in the 1980s, accommodating large, multinational enterprises, especially banks and financial institutions, Liu said.

Well-known companies located in the area during the 1990s included AT&T, Accenture and NCR Corp. For now, Bank of America, IBM Corp and Formosa Plastics Group (台塑) are still staying there.

But as the area is full of aged office buildings and has limited space in which to grow, some companies seeking to expand their businesses have moved to other areas, mainly to Hsinyi district, Liu said.

However, statistics from CB Richard Ellis suggest that Tunhua North Road is still a very viable area. For example, rates for grade A office space in the area were NT$350 higher per ping than in other districts in Taipei City in the third quarter of 2000. Though rents have dropped slightly since the second quarter of last year, they have gradually rebounded and were highest in the city as of the second quarter this year. Liu did not elaborate on the exact average rental in the Tunhua North Road business area.

Derek Huang (黃正忠), senior manager at CB Richard Ellis, said it is the area's well-developed infrastructure, including mass transportation, that keep the district competitive.

Wendy Hsueh (薛惠珍), director of the Research & Consultancy Department of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung International Property Advisers (戴德梁行), agreed that the Tunhua area is still attractive to companies.

Hsueh also said that the proliferation of new buildings in the Hsinyi district with advanced hardware and software infrastructure may make Hsinyi the king of business space in the near future.

When asked if Taipei 101 will siphon off companies from the Tunhua area, Hsueh said it would depend on the rents at 101.

Taipei 101 announced in April that the monthly rental for the building would be NT$3,200 per ping, but that the rates were negotiable, putting prospective companies on the sidelines until specific prices are fixed, Hsueh said.

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