Tokyo's 2nd tallest building complex opens

Posted at 06/12/14 7:25 AM

TOKYO - The 52-story, 247-meter Toranomon Hills, Tokyo's second tallest building complex, opened for business on Wednesday, the first of a planned series of developments to revitalize downtown areas of the capital ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Developed by Mori Building Co., Toranomon Hills is topped by Hyatt Hotels Corp.'s first Andaz brand hotel in Japan, a boutique hotel aimed at creative clients.

The opening of the 164-room Andaz was made possible thanks to signs of economic revitalization in Tokyo, Hyatt Chief Executive Officer Mark Hoplamazian told reporters on Monday ahead of the opening.

Andaz is one of several offshore hotel brands setting up shop in Tokyo ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

"It's pretty widely recognized that there's a positive momentum in Japan and in Tokyo in particular," Hoplamazian said.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, foreign visitor arrivals to the country soared 33.4 percent in April from a year earlier to 1,231,500, a record high for the month.

"Tokyo is becoming more and more attractive as a place to locate your business," and has scope for further hotel development as the number of five-star rooms in the city compared to its population and visitor base remains low on a world scale, Hoplamazian said.

"We have a number of active discussions under way," to set up all nine of Hyatt's hotel brands in Japan ahead of the Olympics, he added.

The hotel is the 12th location of the Andaz brand. Aimed at the "creative class," the brand is designed to knock down traditional barriers between the hotel and its guests, such as doing away with front desks to allow guests to check in anywhere and bringing elements of local arts and culture into the hotel itself, Hoplamazian said.

Toranomon Hills also contains a conference venue, shops and restaurants, luxury residences and offices.

The complex sits at one end of a new road completed in March that connects Toranomon to the adjoining Shimbashi business district.

The road will be extended to eventually link the main Olympic stadium, about 2 kilometers northwest of Toranomon Hills, to bayside areas in southern Tokyo that will accommodate the athletes' village and competition venues in 2020.

The Toranomon district hosts the headquarters of many businesses, but amid Japan's economic stagnation in the 1990s vacant lots have sprung up amid the low- and mid-rise buildings.

Mori Building has said it is planning to inject around 1 trillion yen into projects in districts surrounding Toranomon in the next 10 years.