Hong Kong’s Shui On Land, New World Development and Swire Properties, along with Singapore’s City Developments Limited, all came up winners at a real estate industry awards event held this week with the developers each taking home prizes from the Urban Land Institute.
Projects by the heavyweight builders were among the 13 winners at the 2020 ULI Asia Pacific Awards for Excellence presented virtually on 2 September, which recognised new and existing developments from across the APAC region.
The idea behind the awards is to inspire developers to set higher standards and look to the future. “All the winners of this year’s award demonstrate best practice in land use and continue to push the industry forward while putting people first,” said ULI Asia Pacific chair, Nicholas Brooke in a statement.
Combining For-Profit with Public
The region’s brightest development stars this year included commercial projects such as CapitaLand’s recently redeveloped Funan mall in Singapore) and a business park by RMZ Ecoworld Infrastructure in Bangalore, and Yinno Land’s Block Sixteen Creative Park in Shenzhen.
Public spaces emphasising culture and heritage were also recognised, including China Resources’ Dasha River Ecological Corridor in Shenzhen and Beijing Yuanjing Mingde’s urban renewal of the Chinese capital’s Jinsong neighbourhood.
Mitsui Fudosan represented for Japan with an award for its continued redevelopment of Tokyo’s Nihonbashi commercial quarter with the Nihonbashi Muromachi Mitsui Tower.
Setting Development Aspirations
First launched internationally in 1979, long before sustainability and community responsiveness became fashionable with major corporations, the ULI awards were created specifically to be a way for property industry players to learn from each other and lead by example. “The ULI is a beacon for those that want the real estate industry to remain innovative,” said freshly minted ULI Asia Pacific President David Faulkner when announcing the winners.
The criteria factoring into a winning project include its financial viability, high architectural, design and planning standards, community relevance and impact, demonstrable sustainability and its ability to be a built environment role model.
This year’s APAC entries were judged by industry pros from a wide swath of property sectors. Jury members came from KPF, Chinachem Group, AECOM, Arcadia Capital/Mitsubishi Estate, the URA, Tishman Speyer and IGIS Asset Management among others.
Recognising APAC’s Singular Demands
The awards for Asia-Pacific reflect the diversity of the region itself and each market’s unique hurdles. “The reality of Asia Pacific’s different economic and cultural environments mean that the way real estate is developed here can be quite different [from] the West,” said Colin Galloway, content advisor for ULI Asia Pacific and the project manager for the 2020 awards, using gated residences as an example — gated in the West indicating exclusivity where it could be the norm in parts of Asia.
On top of that, regeneration in Asia can mean something very different from what it might in Europe. “There are some projects in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in a heritage context, that can teach a lot to others involved in similar work in other regions (and vice versa), which is the reason for establishing these regional awards.”
Real Estate Stars
Singapore’s high-end New Futura, on the site of the first Futura condo tower, was the only residential project to make the cut this year, much to the delight of CDL’s group CEO. “Our vision was inspired and anchored by the site’s rich architectural legacy in land-scarce Singapore,” said Sherman Kwek in a statement following the win. “The former Futura had made its mark in the last century and we wanted to reimagine a new icon for this century … In remaking this icon, we did not just redevelop the site, but we deliberately preserved its innovative spirit of design.”
Other highlights were found in the Lion City’s second victor, Funan, a hip, experiential retail destination within CapitaLand’s mixed-use redevelopment project of that same name that Galloway said, “Challenged the traditional brick and mortar retail model,” and was creatively using big data; the mall features over 1,000 cameras collecting real-time stats.
Although considered architecturally staid, Hong Kong also notched two winners from the eastern end of the island: Swire Properties’ Taikoo Place and New World Development’s K11 Atelier King’s Road.
Taikoo Place is, “A 15-minute community that has everything from residential facilities to schools and a shopping mall. The emphasis on community is not restricted just to tenants of its commercial assets, but is intended to serve the entire neighbourhood,” said Galloway.
New World’s King’s Road project is the latest in a series of art and sustainability-forward projects by the Hong Kong developer, alongside the first K11 Art Mall, and K11 Musea and Atelier, both in Tsim Sha Tsui.
“What stands out about [the K11 project] is its wholesale dedication to sustainability, a commitment reflected in over 70 different sustainability and wellness features, from its green financing, an elaborate rooftop garden, to total project greenery that covers 6,700 square metres, or more than 2.2 times the site area,” Galloway said.
Rounding out the winners was Shui On’s The Hub in Shanghai, with that Hongqiao area complex catching the judges’ attention for its aim to connect an array of business landmarks, including central and suburban CBDs and major transit links, and with it connect 75 million resident in the Yangtze River Delta.
This year’s winners automatically secure a berth in the 2021 ULI Global Awards for Excellence.
Note: This story has been updated to show that Shui On Land, New World Development, Swire Properties and City Developments Limited each won one prize each at the awards. An earlier version indicated that the developer had each won two prizes.