State-owned insurance giant China Life officially opened the China Life Financial Center in Beijing this week, the first of 15 “superblock” towers to be built as the latest phase of the capital’s CBD development masterplan.
“The China Life Financial Center Beijing is representative of the newest wave of buildings which not only focus on sustainability, but also on enhancing the tenant experience, which will ultimately lead to better productivity and talent retention,” said Eric Hirsch, head of markets in Beijing for the building’s property manager JLL.
“The new CBD Core Area is still undergoing change, with many buildings not having broken ground yet. As the first wave of the buildings to get completed, China Life Financial Center Beijing has improved on the physical structure and functional floor plates over the past generations of office buildings,” Hirsch added.
China Life’s Maiden Development
Jointly developed by China Life and Sino-Ocean Group, China Life Financial Center Beijing is a 39 storey office tower, plus another five floors below ground, with a total gross floor area of 162,000 square meters.
Completed following five years of development, the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed grade A tower is located just south of the landmark CCTV Tower in the capital’s Guomao commercial zone.
China Life’s maiden development project is the first of 15 towers currently under construction to form a “superblock” in the area east of the capital’s third ring road, which is designed to serve finance firms and other service industries.
The WELL and LEED Gold certified building, has a 32.8 foot high lobby atrium, mechanically ventilated double façade curtain wall that give the development a second skin.
Deloitte and Canon Secured as Anchor Tenants
Multinational accounting firm Deloitte and Japanese camera manufacturer Canon are anchor tenants of the building, with China Life Asset Management Company and China Life Investment Holding Company also taking offices in the building.
Current asking rents in the landmark tower are averaging around RMB 550 to RMB 600 per square metre per month, according to analysts at Savills research in Beijing, who noted that Deloitte and Canon as anchor tenants would have received preferential rates. According to market sources, prices of RMB 400 per square metre per month or less have prevailed during the pre-leasing stage.
To allow for different kinds of function in the office space, the property has also put a new focus on flexible workspace, according to JLL’s Eric Hirsch.
The CBD Core Area Superblock
The superblock, which extends Beijing’s CBD area across the third ring road, is a 30-hectare site where the government scheme seeks to incubate a high-rise cluster for the top names in Chinese finance, with CIC and CITIC’s 528-metre tall China Zun becoming the tallest building in Beijing upon completion.
The majority of the 17 land plots in the area were auctioned off from 2010 to 2012 to domestic finance heavyweights such as CICC, CITIC, CIFCO, CIC and China Life.
Last April, the Beijing government retroactively restricted the height of buildings in the CBD Core Area, truncating the potential investment returns of developers who purchased more than RMB 8.6 billion ($1.37 billion) of land in the area at least eight years ago.
The office supply in floor area in the affected area will decrease by 10 to 30 percent due to the height restriction, according to an estimate at the time by Colliers International.