Built-Up Beijing

It may be just a few hours away by plane, but Beijing feels vastly different from Hong Kong. I can’t read the street signs and just ate pigeon off a stick in a market. Now THIS is China!

Anyone hungry for starfish?
Anyone hungry for starfish?

We’ve been incredibly lucky to enjoy some sunny, clear days here. The unexpected weather has made our site visits even better.

On Thursday, the folks at Swire Properties gave us a tour of their outdoor mall Taikoo Li, located in the Chaoyang district of Beijing. The complex consists of more than a million square feet of retail. The South side has stores that drive foot traffic, like Uniqlo, while the North side is all high-end retailers—think Miu Miu and Emporio Armani.

On the North side, it seemed like retailers had taken huge amounts of space for the amount of foot traffic they were getting. That afternoon, there were few shoppers in sight. Swire said that while shoppers might not be visible on the streets, celebrities who discreetly took elevators stopped by on occasion. In our meeting, Swire added that retailers mainly wanted a presence in Beijing and may start to think more about productivity per square foot in the future.

Our meeting with Soho China was equally fascinating. The developer says its niche is in prime office properties in Beijing and Shanghai. The company’s trendy offices—complete with open spaces and ping pong tables–seemed typical of a startup in Soho, New York.

The design and construction of the office complex we saw, however, was quite different from buildings in the U.S. Check out photos of the Galaxy below.

The building, designed by Zaha Haidid Architects
The building, designed by Zaha Haidid Architects
A close-up shot of the construction at Galaxy.
A close-up shot of the construction at Galaxy.

The trip to the Galaxy was our final company visit. That meant it was time for an acrobat show, the Great Wall and more dumplings.

The Great Wall!!
The Great Wall!!

This will be my final post before heading back to the U.S. I’m so thrilled I was able to experience this country through the lens of real estate. Seems like there is no better time to do it – I’ve lost count of the number of cranes and construction sites I’ve seen here.

See you all back in Uris and have a safe flight, everyone!

Anjali Athavaley ‘14

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