Local boutique developer VCC Land broadens its horizons beyond venerable Causeway Bay
To anyone that lives in Hong Kong, Causeway Bay’s status as the nearly perfect neighbourhood is almost indisputable. Every major branded clothier, consumer electronic product or jeweller has a presence in CWB, a complement to the huge array of mass market and mid-range retailers also operating there. Russell Street remains one of the world’s premier business addresses. If you’re looking for food — either prepared and brought to your table or raw to take home — CWB boasts an equally diverse selection of shopping and dining choices. You can see movies, go to bars, sit in the park — on the grass! (how rare is that in Hong Kong?) — and do extensive, good old-fashioned book research there. It’s crowded and noisy and hectic and often overwhelming, making it perhaps the perfect microcosm of Hong Kong itself. Also? You can park your boat there.
Causeway Bay is home to V Serviced Apartments, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary. Founded in 2006 by chairman and managing director Vivien Chan, parent boutique developer VCC Land owns and operates 300 serviced suites in Causeway Bay and the immediate vicinity with plans to expand on the horizon. In the few short years Chan has been in the serviced apartment market, V has been recognised with the American Institute of Architects Award for Design, the Perspective Award and Asia Pacific Interior Design.
If V had a brand identity it’s with the CWB vibe: professional but not stodgy, cool without trying too hard, urban and urbane without the associated costs. V does reach out a bit, with properties also located on Sing Woo Road in Happy Valley and Jaffe Road in Wanchai, but for now it’s concentrated on Tung Lo Wan Road and perhaps the flagship 133-suite tower on Yee Wo Street. “Location is extremely important and both of the new properties are perfectly placed In Hong Kong’s most desirable areas,” explains Chan of her choice to start developing in CWB. Since then that sense of location has driven the brand. “V Serviced Apartments … are situated within a plethora of shopping malls and restaurants and are conveniently located within walking distance from MTR stations. That’s [part of] V’s success at delivering high standards and quality services.”
V prides itself on its contemporary design and luxury appointments. The Yee Wo property features little touches such as towel warmers, seated rainshower stalls, surround sound electronics and Kiehl’s toiletries; duck down pillows, corian kitchens and private lobby lifts can be found on Tung Lo Wan; the Happy Valley addresses boast Italian tattomi by Ingo Maurer and Jan Armgardt; and a gallery and storage for frequent exhibitors at the nearby convention centre can be found in the Wanchai property.
But Chan has started casting an eye farther afield. The new properties she refers to are two new developments — V Mansions on The Peak (at 20 Peak Road) and V Residence on Castle Road. Neither is a serviced apartment and both will be only for traditional leasing (minimum two years), but Chan thinks the time is now to cater to a specific demand. “The V brand is evolving and growing. The development of V Mansions on the Peak and V Residence is in response to the many customers who ask us if we have longer term rental property,” she explains. “They are looking for the next step after staying at our serviced apartments and want to move into another V but on a longer term basis.”
Due in 2014, the four art deco-themed Mansions, designed by P&T Architects & Engineers (127 Repulse Bay Road, Aria) will focus on natural light and impeccable, upscale aesthetics. The properties will include swimming pools, gardens and ample parking and will start at approximately 4,500 square feet. Shortly after that will be the Residences, smack dab in the middle of Mid-Levels. The single tower will comprise 128 suites ranging from 650 to 1,800 square feet over 24 storeys. Included in the design is a five-storey podium with swimming pool, clubhouse, garden and, unsurprisingly, retail. Arthur CS Kwok Architects & Associates (Redhill Peninsula) is providing architecture and Philip Liao & Partners (Fanling Golf Club) is handling interiors. The Residence is due in 2015.
While Chan admits that VCC is always on the lookout for, “opportunities to acquire, develop, operate and manage serviced apartments across Greater China,” the focus for right now is on maintaining its industry leader position in Hong Kong. “If you combine exceptional service, outstanding hardware infrastructure and consistent attention to detail, you have a product which stands the test of time,” Chan reasons. “It will even perform exceptionally well notwithstanding the occasional deviant market forces.”