Kasumigaseki Building turns 50 this month

Kasumigaseki Building, Japan’s first skyscraper, turned 50 on April 12. To celebrate the half-century anniversary, the exterior of the building has been lit up with an art display that runs in the evenings until the end of May. A beer garden has also been set up outside the entrance for the duration of the event.

Built in 1968 and with a height of 147 meters, this was the first building in the country to be over 100 meters tall. Nowadays it is flanked by a taller neighbor – the twin tower Central Government Building No. 7 – which was completed in 2007 and is 156m and 176m tall.

Central Tokyo office rents increase for 49th month in a row

The average monthly office rent in central Tokyo’s business districts was 19,338 Yen per Tsubo (approx. 5,860 Yen/sqm) in January, up 4.1% from last year and the 49th month in a row to see a year-on-year increase. This is the highest level seen since October 2009. Office rents are now up 19.3% from their recent low of 16,207 Yen/Tsubo seen in December 2013, but are still 15.5% below a previous record high in mid-2008.

Vacancy rates were down 0.67 points from last year to 3.07%. This is similar to levels last seen in 2007 and a marked improvement from the average 8 ~ 9% vacancy rate seen between 2010 and 2014.

Imperial Hotel up for potential redevelopment?

A nearby acquisition by Mitsui Fudosan has some industry experts suggesting that the1100-room Imperial Hotel near Hibiya Park in downtown Tokyo may be slated for future redevelopment.

The hotel includes the main building that was built in 1970 along with a 31-storey office/hotel building at the rear that was completed in 1983. By the time of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the main building will be 50 years old. With a booming tourism industry, many of Japan’s top hoteliers are expanding, refurbishing or redeveloping their older hotels.

Omotesando’s Seihou Building to be redeveloped

A 51-year old retail and public housing building alongside Aoyama Dori Avenue in Omotesando will soon be rebuilt. The 10-storey Seihou Building was built in 1967 and has a total floor area of 6,075 sqm (65,000 sq ft). It is jointly owned by a subsidiary of Mizuho Bank and the Urban Renaissance Agency.

The new building will have a total floor area or 16,000 sqm (172,000 sq ft), more than 2.5 times the size of the older building.

Tokyo facing office space shortage in prime buildings

Office vacancy rates in central Tokyo’s business districts continue to shrink with Jones Lang Lasalle reporting almost no vacancies in the main office buildings in the Marunouchi district. After reaching a high of 9.43% in mid-2012, vacancy rates in Tokyo’s central five business districts were down to 3.03% last month – a level last seen in April 2008.

It’s not just Marunouchi that is suffering from a dire shortage in available office space, with prime high-rise buildings in Nihonbashi, Shinjuku and Shibuya also seeing demand outstrip supply. Tenant demand is being supported by improved business earnings and company growth, resulting in a need for larger office space to accommodate growing staff numbers.

Construction starts on Aoyama Bell Commons redevelopment

Construction has started on a 20-storey commercial building on the site of the former Aoyama Bell Commons building in the Omotesando / Gaienmae area in Tokyo. Completion is due by April 2020.

The 90m tall Kita Aoyama 2 Chome Project will include retail on the first two floors, a hotel on floors 3, 4 and floors 16 through 20, and office and co-working space on floors 5 through 15. The total floor area will be 22,910 sqm, approximatley 50% larger than Aoyama Bell Commons, while the new building will be almost twice as tall.