The Cutting Edge of Development: The Appeal of a Large-Scale Redevelopment

Toranomon Hills Business Tower

November 2018

*This article is based on research conducted at an earlier date; some details may differ at the present time.

Accelerating Redevelopment to Establish a Global Business Hub

Mori Building Co., Ltd. completed Toranomon Hills Mori Tower in 2014 to launch the Toranomon area as a new international city and global business center. Currently there are projects for three new buildings underway in adjacent lots so as to expand and transform Toranomon Hills. Once completed, the company aims for the four-building complex to form the hub of a new community. This interview inquires the development concept of the whole area and the policy of urban development. 

Yasuaki Murata

Team Leader
Urban Planning and Development Division
Development Department Development Unit Ⅱ
Mori Building Co., Ltd.

Setsuo Inahara

Team Leader
Planning Group Strateguc Planning Unit
Office Bussiness Department
Mori Building Co., Ltd.

Forming a Magnetic City will Increase Tokyo’s International Competitiveness

The Mori Memorial Foundation, founded by Mori Building, announced its Global Power City Index 2018 in October 2018. The survey visually assessed the six fields of economy, R&D, cultural interaction, livability, environment and accessability, then ranked cities by their comprehensive strength.

The survey targeted 44 cities around the globe. This year’s top-ranking cities were London, New York and Tokyo, the same as the previous year. The report is created based on the idea that a city’s “magnetism” or ability to attract people and corporations in light of international competitiveness among cities is generated by its comprehensive advantages.

“We believe that there is a need to study the on-the-grounds situation of urban development on a global scale in order to bring about attractive urban spaces.” (Setsuo Inahara)

The company believes that increasing the international competitiveness of Tokyo as a whole will contribute to Japan as well as help numerous cities overseas.

“The separate and distinct appeals of different areas in Tokyo like Roppongi, Toranomon, Marunouchi and Shibuya provide global companies with a range of choices when establishing a hub in Tokyo, resulting in a more fascinating Tokyo as a whole. (Inahara)

Cities Created with Multi-Use Redevelopment Projects

The company has been conducting large-scale redevelopment projects centering on Minato Ward. ARK Hills in 1986, its first multi-use redevelopment project and the first large-scale redevelopment project by a private company in Japan, was the launching point for the company’s “Hills” brand. Subsequent redevelopment projects followed in the area such as Roppongi Hills and Toranomon Hills.

“What’s common among these projects is that they’re multi-use developments, combining functions not only as offices but as residences, shops, hotels cultural facilities and such.” (Yasuaki Murata)

As a 24-hour city, ARK Hills was developed with multi-use functionality in mind, and includes offices and residences. Roppongi Hills completed in 2003 embraced the concept of “culture” as a theme and features many aspects surrounding culture in addition to its primary function as a multi-use city.

“There are brand shops and luxury restaurants representing culinary culture on the lower section of the residence building. The top floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, the main tower, features a mix of different functions such as a museum, observation platform and cultural facility, providing discovery and never-experienced-before excitement.” (Murata)

Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, completed in 2014, was a radical project created through public-private partnership. The plans for constructing buildings and city sections above roads drew much attention when construction initially began. The tower is a multi-use facility with offices with 1,036 tsubo of area per floor as well as conference rooms, residences, shops, hotels and such.

“There is a merger of business space with residential space. When foreigners employed in overseas companies are to relocate to Japan, in most cases their families are likely to come as well. It would not be conductive to work worrying that their families were living their lives in a strange land without any community. It would be comforting if members of families could interact within the residential section. Anticipating such situations, we decided that it is important to add residences and other urban functions necessary for living to the business sections.) (Murata)

Large-Scale Multi-Use Development Project Driven by a Combination of Factors

It was in April 2016, about two years after the completion of Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, that the new large-scale development of three buildings that would expand and transform the Toranomon area was announced. Three buildings, Toranomon Hills Business Tower, Toranomon Hills Residential Tower (provisional name) and Toranomon Hills Station Tower (provisional name), would be developed to form a new international city and global business center.

Mori Building has pursued redevelopments incorporating the so-called “number buildings” that it developed in the past, and both of these projects were boosted by the combination of various factors, including Tokyo’s selection as host of the 2020 Olympic Games, the plan to open a new station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, and the new establishment of the National Strategic Special Zone system, leading to a rapid increase in momentum for new urban development in the local area.

“Being near the government offices district with many embassies located there, the Toranomon area is host to a great diversity of companies from Japan and abroad and had high potential, but many aged buildings needed functional updates. We therefore set out to enhance the magnetism of the area all at once by redeveloping aged office buildings and such including our number buildings.” (Murata)

The city plan of Toranomon Hills Business Tower was determined in summer 2015, the redevelopment association was established in January 2016 and construction began in February 2017. Completion is expected for December 2019. The site area is approximately 10.100 m2, the building height is approximately 185 meters with 36 floors above-ground and 3 floors below as well as a three-story penthouse. There will be a bus terminal on the first floor, retail facilities from floors B1 to 3, and an innovation center on the fourth floor, while floors 5 to 36 will be office floors.

“This project has also built an underground pedestrian passage connecting Toranomon Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and Toranomon Hills Station on the Hibiya Line, as well as a pedestrian deck connecting Toranomon Hills. We believe that the district will become extremely convenient through enhancement of the pedestrian network in conjunction with the development of the area.” (Murata)

“At the bus terminal, users will be able to board the BRT (bus rapid transit system) under development by the Tokyo metropolitan government, which is expected to be linked to the Tokyo waterfront. Access by car is thought to improve substantially once Loop Road No. 2 is fully open. Assuming the building is served by Airport Limousine Buses, Haneda Airport will also be readily accessible. It has the potential to serve as a gateway to the Tokyo area.” (Inahara)

“The retail facility is planned to be a large area comprising approximately 6,300 m2. The shops will include a high-end supermarket and large restaurant facility to support the area’s prosperity. The idea to improve livelihood functions in the Toranomon area was already in mind, so there is no doubt that adding these facilities will boost the area’s functionality. (Murata)

Exterior view of lower layers(image)

Bus terminal of approximately 1,000㎡(image)

Contact Us

(+81) 3-3564-8051 Hours of operation 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekdays