UBS Hong Kong To Transfer Entirely

UBS Hong Kong To Transfer Entirely To West Kowloon Terminus Project

HONG KONG – In line with its plans to house all of its employees in the city under one roof, UBS announced that it has agreed to occupy 250,000 sq ft of office space in the tallest building of the West Kowloon terminus project, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Monday evening (10 October, SGT).

The multinational bank is the first anchor tenant at the commercial development comprising 2 office towers measuring 2.6 million sq ft and a 600,000 sq ft shopping centre. A market watcher also estimated that the rent at the terminus project would be half of that in the International Financial Centre (IFC), where one of the bank’s Hong Kong offices is presently located.

“At IFC, rents are about HK$150 to HK$200 psf per month. The cheapest is about HK$120 psf per month,” shared Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal’s Managing Director Vincent Cheung.

“The rents on offer [in west Kowloon] must have been very cheap to entice a renowned organisation like UBS away from Central to be the anchor tenant of the building.”

Moreover, Midland Commercial’s Sales Director James Mak said that “the first anchor tenant usually gets an extra discount, and the rent could be as low as HK$40 to HK$45 psf.”

The bank’s move bucks the prevailing trend in Hong Kong’s office sector, in which companies are moving back to prime areas like Central due to the cheaper office rents.

Amy Lo, Co-head of wealth management for Asia Pacific at US, said they plan to transfer all of its Hong Kong staff from its 4 present offices here to the West Kowloon terminus project come 2026. Notably, the entire commercial development is expected to be fully finished by 2025.

At present, the multinational bank has offices in One Peking Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Li Po Chun Chambers and Infinitus Plaza in Sheung Wan, and Two International Finance Centre in Central, where it leases 6 floors. Notably, Sun Hung Kai Properties partly owns IFC and owns the West Kowloon terminus project.

“We are excited to be moving to the workplace of the future, with state-of-the-art infrastructure that brings together and empowers all of our UBS colleagues in Hong Kong under one roof. The office will be built for our purpose and we believe it will improve productivity, collaboration and well-being for colleagues.”

Notably, Sun Hung Kai Properties spent HK$42.2 billion (US$5.45 billion) to acquire the site at the High Speed Rail terminus in West Kowloon in 2019. The location will make it convenient for the bank’s employees to shuttle back and forth from Hong Kong to mainland China, given that the West Kowloon Station is the terminus and only station on the Hong Kong part of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

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