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Mori Building unveils redevelopment projects for Toranomon Hills area

9 Comments
By Rebecca Quin

Mori Building Co on Wednesday unveiled ambitious plans for a large-scale development project surrounding the current Toranomon Hills office and retail complex in central Tokyo.

About 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion) will be spent on the construction of three towers around the existing high-rise building which opened in 2014, including a business tower, residential tower and combined station tower above a planned new subway station on the Hibiya Line.

Speaking at press conference, Mori Building CEO Shingo Tsuji said that the overall aim of the project was to “build a new international urban center where global players live, work and gather.”

The 36-floor Toranomon Hills Business Tower and 56-floor Toranomon HIlls Residential Tower are both scheduled for completion in 2019, while the Toranomon Hills Station Tower is set to open in 2022 with a partial opening of the subway station in time for the 2020 Olympics.

Each of the buildings has been designed in line with Mori Building’s "Vertical Garden City" concept, focusing on creating multi-faceted spaces that integrate different elements of the urban lifestyle.

“By building upwards in this way, we are able to create an open, green environment where working, living and playing spaces are closely set,” Tsuji said.

Upon completion, the total area of the complex will reach about 7.5 hectares, encompassing the four Toranomon Hills towers and new transport stations connecting Toranomon to Tokyo Bay and Narita and Haneda airports. Floor space will amount to 800,000 square meters, roughly the same as that of Roppongi Hills, also led by Mori Building.

The project is part of a wider revival of the Toranomon area and is the first of a total of 10 redevelopment projects planned over the coming years. It is hoped that the expanding Toranamon Hills will provide the catalyst for the revival of Tokyo as a whole, attracting foreign investment and re-establishing the city as a center for global business headquarters.

“We want to make Tokyo the world’s number one city. Through our urban development, we hope that the city can become a truly international hub with Toranomon at its heart," Tsuji said.

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9 Comments
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More of the Tokyo heat island effect, caused by all of the high rises buildings reducing wind flow through the city, making it unbearable in summer. All of the buildings are air-conditioned, but the air outside is suffocating.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

seriously, is this really needed? how about building more affordable housing for the 99% instead of these monstrous tower buildings for the rich.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You know, Mori Building has been talking like this since they first planned Roppongi Hills. "We'll make it easier for people to live where they work," "We'll shorten commuting times," blah-blah-blah. They've done no such thing. Their cookie-cutter "mixed-use" developments feature the same upscale stores and restaurants, their "residences" are far too expensive for the average salaryman with a family, and their hotels are of the 50,000+ yen/night variety which only the most well-heeled tourists and businesspeople on expense accounts can afford. Worse, their gentrification, while nothing on the scale of New York or London, alienates, rather than integrates, the middle-class urban population from its own city.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Mori Building has been talking like this since they first planned Roppongi Hills. "We'll make it easier for people to live where they work," "We'll shorten commuting times," blah-blah-blah. They've done no such thing.

They have for the people that can afford to live and work there.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Another assortment of dull, rectangular towers around a concrete plaza. Single aspect residential towers containing stale air, dark corners and no way to cool them except using air conditioning. I'm surprised people pay hundreds of millions of Yen to live in what is basically a back-to-back slum dwelling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have been to Roppongi Hills many times and get completely lost each time, constantly checking floor plans and exits. TH will be another room inside an elephant.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland: For those lucky/successful enough to have their rent subsidised and for those who otherwise have more money than anyone really needs, yes. For everyone else, obviously not. But then that's right there in the CEO's words: 'where global players live, work and gather'.

I work near Toranomon Hills and actually kinda like it. I also like the nearby Atago towers. Izumi Garden isn't bad either. Most of MORI's modern skyscrapers are quite aesthetically pleasing and have elements (e.g. bars, observation decks, etc.) which are well within a regular person's reach. Despite this, I'd still question if these new developments are really even needed right now as it doesn't seem the current buildings are all being fully utilised as it is (though of course maybe leases are being signed).

I'll also continue to reject the notion that a new stop on the Hibiya line is needed in that location, especially in connection to the Olympics. Kamiyacho and Kasumigaseki are not that far apart. Toranomon has a Ginza line station and Shimbashi and Onarimon are not that far on foot. If for the Olympics, one of the Metro or Toei lines should be extended down to Odaiba or somewhere that events are actually taking place at. How will this new station help with the Olympics?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is hoped that the expanding Toranamon Hills will provide the catalyst for the revival of Tokyo as a whole, attracting foreign investment and re-establishing the city as a center for global business headquarters.

It will take more than some fancy buildings to attract this, and establish global HQs. Tokyo Metropolitan Government last year also spoke of establish special economic zones to do the very same, and while it is not hard to set up businesses here, the bureaucracy stifles it, i.e. the ease of doing business. Banking rules and financial regulations, import/export, communications, housing and personnel; all contribute to global (and even regional) HQs going elsewhere. A few Japanese drug companies set up quasi-global HQs overseas, though they kept HR, executive and other functions in Japan; but they have struggled with their operations. It's just not going to happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All these ( ) Hills buildings do very little to make the surrounding areas attractive. Giant rectangular buildings for the filthy rich are wasted opportunities for developing lively and fun places that the people of Tokyo can actually enjoy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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