Boutique developer TDS unveils its first project in Central

28 Aberdeen St._living room

2018 is well underway and the year seems to have started wonderfully for boutique developer TDS. Spearheaded by real estate veteran Keith Kerr, TDS has unveiled 28 Aberdeen St - its first venture in the Central district - giving Hongkongers a glimpse of their grand project.

We’re really trying to create projects that you can use, and live in — in the core, busy, urban area. When you get home everybody wants an oasis. So we try and provide a space that gives that calm, but is functional and liveable.” said former Swire Properties chair and CEO and now The Development Studio (TDS) founder and chair Keith Kerr about a year ago.

At the time, Kerr was announcing the launch of TDS’ first project: 28 Aberdeen St. Kerr and the youthful crew at TDS have no illusions they’re in a position to compete with heavy hitters like Sun Hung Kai or Kerr’s old bosses, but the design-forward boutique developer’s manifesto is rooted in the idea that everyone wants a little haven when the workday is done. TDS sets out to respond to modern buyers, “Hopefully there are enough people in the market to appreciate what we’re doing,” he explained at the time. “I’m sure others do as well, but we do devote a lot of time and effort into design, thinking about how people might use a space, live in it, entertain friends and so on.” 28 Aberdeen St.’s sales gallery opened in early January, where potential buyers got a chance to judge whether it’s mission accomplished.

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Welcome to Central

Like so many residential towers now, just being an apartment block isn’t enough, and like most luxury/lifestyle residences the ground floor of 28 Aberdeen St. has commercial space for the taking. At the gallery opening, TDS partner and head of projects Alex Leung noted there is no tenant as of yet, but that it will indeed be a brand — retailer, food and beverage outlet, cultural option — that will slot in seamlessly with the development and the neighbourhood: 28 Aberdeen St. sits directly across the street from the PMQ, making it a rare Central new build to hit the market in the last few years (it’s closer to Hollywood Road than Caine Road).

The tower’s positioning on a slope was an engineering challenge, but it also gives the commercial space a relatively large terrace, one that brings the property right up to the street. The eventual tenants are going to be the ones that engage with the area, and “Is something that adds value for the residents of the building,” remarks Leung.

Jerry Fung, senior architect with TDS, admitted that architectural flexibility is rare, and government departments’ draconian standards and paranoia make true innovation difficult. But Fung points out that 28 Aberdeen St.’s exterior “Stands out from the towers that surround it,” adding, “On a sunny day the metallic façade reflects the light and really turns it into a beacon. Plus, by facing the PMQ, you’re not likely to lose the view.” Defined by its bronze accents and curvilinear design, Indian granite edges cleverly tie the exterior to the interior: rounded lobby walls lead to bronze-tinted mailboxes, stairwell handrails, lift accents, and then outside again to the balcony edging.

28 Aberdeen St._lobby

28 Aberdeen St._living room

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Moveable Space

But as the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep, and though the outside is modern, understated, and not so trendy, it will look dated in a few years, it’s the flats themselves that provide the litmus test. There’s a lot to unpack in 28 Aberdeen St.’s deceptively simple spaces but for the most part they deliver on Kerr’s promise of useable, liveable homes. Contemporary, open plan kitchens (equipped with German appliances and cabinetry) take advantage of four-metre windows to maximise living/dining room space, and boast the added benefit of some great ventilation from the modest, PMQ-facing (west) balconies and rear-facing utility platforms on the other side of the flat — through the bathroom and into the bedroom.

That throughline is the key to the apartments’ flexibility. The bedrooms and living rooms are separated by a bathroom fitted with two doors: a pivoting door that creates a hotel-style ensuite, and a sliding door that creates a living space suitable for guests — but which keeps the bedroom space private. A third option emerges when both doors are closed, effectively creating a powder room and washroom. It’s a minor detail, but one that provides residents or owners with as many living functions as possible. Natural marble, natural stone and Spanish plywood tile round out the interiors materials.

28 Aberdeen St._bedroom

28 Aberdeen St.

28 Aberdeen St.

No Lack of Demand

This being Hong Kong, it’s not surprising that the final product is a tower of small one-bedroom flats, no matter how flexible they are. At 407 saleable square feet, however, TDS, architects Wong & Ouyang and interior designer via architecture put some real thought into the spaces and kept 28 Aberdeen St. to two flats per floor — sadly commendable.

To address the most obvious question Kerr had at the time, it would appear that yes, there are enough people in the market to appreciate TDS’ ambitions. Now complete (though still unoccupied), roughly 50% of 28 Aberdeen St.’s 40 flats are already sold. Early buyers have been young professionals who want to be near where they work and play, and investors looking for (and likely to get, given the location) those same professionals as renters. Priced at a luxury-level average of HK$33,000 per square foot, a selection of one-bedroom flats, the building’s duplex unit with a flat roof, as well as its penthouse unit, with top roof, are still available (as of press time).

28 Aberdeen St.

The sales gallery and show flats are now open at 28 Aberdeen Street, daily from 11am to 7pm. For more details refer to

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