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.

Bulgari Hotel to open in Tokyo in 2022

Italian jeweler and luxury brand Bulgari will open a Bulgari-branded hotel in front of Tokyo Station in 2022. The hotel will feature interiors designed by Antonio Citterio, 98 spaciously sized guest rooms, a bar, restaurant, spa, pool, ballroom, chapel and Bulgari’s signature chocolate shop. Bulgari Hotels & Resorts will manage the hotel, with nightly room rates expected to exceed 80,000 ~ 90,000 Yen (approx. 740 ~ 835 USD).

The hotel will be located in the Yaesu 2 Chome North District Redevelopment on the eastern side of Tokyo Station. In contrast to the large city blocks and wide avenues of Marunouchi and Otemachi on the opposite side of the station, the Yaesu side is a densely packed district of narrow, older buildings and small streets, and is a prime target for large-scale redevelopment.

Construction of the project is scheduled to start in November 2018 with completion by August 2022. The 45-storey building will be approximately 240 meters tall, with the Bulgari Hotel to be located on floors 39 ~ 45.

New apartment prices across greater Tokyo hit highest price since 1990

According to a report issued by the Real Estate Economic Institute on April 16, the average price of a brand new apartment across greater Tokyo was 59,210,000 Yen in fiscal 2017, an increase of 6.9% from 2016 and the highest level seen since 1990 when the average price peaked at 62,140,000 Yen. High labor and construction costs along with rising land prices have been a major contributor to the high sale prices of apartments in and around the capital.

A total of 36,837 brand new apartments were released for sale, a 1.1% increase from 2016 and the first increase seen in four years. This is still far short of the peak supply of 95,479 apartments seen in 2000. The average price per square meter was 864,000 Yen, up 7.9% from 2016.

Bidding restarted for Sengaku-ji Station high-rise apartment tower

A 160m tall apartment tower is planned for a site located above Sengaku-ji Station in Minato-ku, Tokyo. The project covers a 13,000 sqm site located on the eastern side of the Daiichi-Keihin Road, with the Yamanote train tracks running along the western side. This is reclaimed land that was once part of Tokyo Bay.

In February it was announced that a joint venture between Kajima Corporation, Tokyu Land and Keikyu Corporation had successfully bid on the development. On April 4, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that their bid was disqualified after charges were filed against an executive from Kajima Corporation for allegedly colluding on a bid for the new high-speed maglev train. 

48-yr old Tokiwamatsu House condo being redeveloped

Tokiwamatsu House, a vintage condominium located a 10 minute walk south of Omotesando Station, is being redeveloped into a new apartment building. Demolition of the existing building is expected to be finished by late August.

The former block of apartments was developed by Sumitomo and built in 1970. It included 62 apartments on 8 floors with sizes ranging from 37 ~ 122 sqm (398 ~ 1,313 sq.ft). The most recent reported sale was a large apartment on a low floor that sold early last year for around 770,000 Yen/sqm, which is less than half of what a similarly-sized brand new apartment would cost in this neighbourhood.

Tokyo apartment sale prices increase for 66th month

According to REINS, 3,819 second-hand apartments were reported to have sold across greater Tokyo in March, up 11.5% from the previous month and up 2.7% from last year. The average sale price was 33,690,000 Yen, up 0.5% from the previous month and up 7.1% from last year. The average price per square meter was 521,100 Yen, up 1.8% from the previous month and up 5.7% from last year. This is the 63rd month in a row to see a year-on-year increase in sale prices.

Chuo-ku to remove floor area ratio allowances to curb population growth

Tokyo’s Chuo ward is planning to abolish the floor area ratio (FAR) allowances in an attempt to curb the district’s rapid population growth. Up until now, a FAR allowance of as much as 20 ~ 40% could be given to residential developments in certain zones. For example, if a developer chose to build a new apartment building in Tsukiji or Kyobashi, the normal FAR for the land might be increased from its current limit of 500% to 700%, allowing a much larger building. 

30% of old buildings in Tokyo at risk of collapse in strong earthquake

The New Shimbashi Building (c1971) poses a high risk of collapse in a major earthquake. There are plans to eventually redevelop this building into a high-rise although negotiations with land-owners are taking longer than anticipated.

On March 29, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government released data from earthquake resistance inspections on public buildings built to the old ‘kyu-taishin’ earthquake codes (pre-May 1981). A total of 251 kyu-taishin buildings, representing a third of the total, were determined pose some risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake producing a seismic intensity scale (shindo) of a 6-upper or above. Of those, 156 were found to be at high risk of collapse.

The publication of this data is the result of a revision to the Act for Promotion of Renovation for Earthquake-Resistant Buildings that was introduced in November 2013. Under this revision, public buildings used by an unspecified number of people, such as hotels and commercial facilities, with a floor area over 10,000 sqm and built to the old kyu-taishin earthquake codes are obligated to carry out earthquake resistance inspections, the results of which are made public. This also applies to old buildings located alongside emergency roads. Although the revision requires building owners to carry out inspections, there are no obligations or requirements to conduct the retrofitting.