SCMP – Lawsgroup defies retail slump with a mission to give industrial buildings a new lease on life

New Lai Chi Kok shopping mall is the brain child of Bosco Law who converted a family-owned industrial building into an office and retail complex

A decline in tourists and the weak economy may hit Hong Kong retailers hard but Laws Group deputy chairman and chief executive Bosco Law Ching-kit still believes in his mission to turn old industrial buildings into shopping malls for families that he is offering a new one for lease from this month.

The new shopping mall, D2 Place Two located at Lai Chi Kok, is the brain child of Law who converted one of his family-owned industrial buildings into an office and retail complex. The building, available for lease starting from last week, is expected to have three floors of retail shops and seven floors for offices, plus one level for car parking.

The themes of the new mall would be arts, music, sport, and food and beverage. It is located opposite D2 Place One which was launched three years ago as a specialised shopping mall for fashion designers and fashion related products.

“It is true that it would be easier if we only turned the old industrial building into office areas. While retail space has found it hard to bargain for a good price amid the reduction in tourists and weak economy, office areas still have a very stable and strong demand,” he said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

“However, it is my belief that I would like to turn old buildings into shopping malls to support the innovative industry. This would give new life to the old buildings.”
When it opens later this year D2 Place Two will target a wider age group including family visitors.

Law said that while D2 Place One aims to attract the younger generation who want to buy the latest fashion products, D2 Place Two would target a wider age group including family visitors.

“We aim to have tenants who want to open workshops for arts, music or sport which could attract parents to bring their children to attend the workshops, while the parents could go for a cup of coffee or a meal in the restaurants in the shopping mall,” he said.

In terms of rental level, he said the new shopping mall will charge a market price higher than D2 Place One, which offers space that is cheaper or with more flexible lease terms to support new artists or fashion designers.

In the first week after D2 Place Two was opened for leasing, Law has seen about 10 tenants showing interest in the new shopping mall which is expected to open for business by the end of this year.

He added that the concept of D2 Place One and Two has attract overseas attention. The French May cultural festival will hold an event in the area this year, while some overseas organisations want to introduce a similar concept to old buildings in the US and France.

“I strongly believe in turning old industrial buildings into new purposes. It would be better use of the old building and help promote innovative industry in Hong Kong,” Law said.

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