Roppongi Hills

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Roppongi Hills (六本木ヒルズ Roppongi Hiruzu?) is one of Japan's largest integrated property developments, located in the Roppongi district of Tokyo.

Constructed by building tycoon Minoru Mori, the mega-complex incorporates office space, apartments, shops, restaurants, cafés, movie theaters, a museum, a hotel, a major TV studio, an outdoor amphitheater, and a few parks. The centerpiece is the 54-story eponymous Mori Tower. Mori's stated vision was to build an integrated development where high-rise inner-urban communities allow people to live, work, play, and shop in proximity to eliminate commuting time. He argued this would increase leisure time, quality of life, and benefit Japan's national competitiveness. Seventeen years in the making, the complex opened to the public on April 23, 2003.


[edit] The development

Roppongi Hills cost over $4 billion and is built on a 27 acre (109,000 m²) site. The site amalgamated more than 400 smaller lots Mori acquired over 14 years. [1]

[edit] Mori Tower

The Mori Tower is a 238 m, 54-story high-rise building housing an art museum, a cinema complex, restaurants, cafes, stores, the offices of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, TV Asahi, J-WAVE, Konami, Rakuten, Livedoor and Yahoo! Japan, and the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.

The first six levels of Mori Tower contain retail stores and restaurants. The top six floors house the Mori Art Museum and the Tokyo City View with panoramic views of the city. A new exit from Roppongi Station empties into a glass atrium filled with large television screens and escalators, as well as several shops and restaurants. The rest of the building is office space.

[edit] Other buildings

Image:Condo Towers Tokyo Roppongi.jpg
Roppongi Hills Residence
Around the Mori Tower are several smaller buildings predominantly occupied by shops and restaurants, the five-star Grand Hyatt Tokyo, a Virgin Cinemaplex, and the Mori Garden. Behind the Mori Tower lies the Roppongi Keyakizaka Street which has cafes and luxury stores such as Louis Vuitton. Nearby are the four Roppongi Hills Residences towers, with a total of 793 luxurious and very expensive residential apartments.

Large open spaces have been built into the design of Roppongi Hills. About half of the area consists of gardens, pavilions, and other open spaces. The Mohri Garden, an elaborate and authentic Japanese garden complete with a pond and trees is particularly popular. The Mohri Garden is a part of a lost mansion that housed members of the feudal Mohri clan.[2]

[edit] Revolving door fatality

The first year of operations was marred when a six-year-old boy, Ryo Mizokawa, was killed on March 26, 2004 after his head was crushed by automatically revolving doors at the second-floor entrance to Mori Tower in the Roppongi Hills complex. He had been visiting the complex with his mother from Osaka.

As a result of the tragedy, Mori Building Co., the operator of the building, agreed to pay the boy's family around 70 million yen in compensation and to undertake safety precautions to prevent similar incidents in the future. The automatic revolving doors were removed and replaced with automatic sliding doors.

Unknown to the authorities, the accident was preceded by 32 injuries related to the doors. An investigation by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police into professional negligence by Mori Building Co. and the door's manufacturer, Sanwa Tajima Corp. resulted in the conviction of three former executives for professional negligence.

[edit] Criticism and conflict in Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills Arena is a facility with large outdoor speakers, in proximity to older housing. Since the construction of the Roppongi Hills development, complaints of noise pollution from older residents have been ignored by Mori Building management, according to residents. The building most directly suffering from noise is on top of an embankment opposite the Arena. Residents claim several residents have been forced out by the noise.[3][4]

Commentator Henry Hilton of the Japan Today news website criticized the development when he argued:

"Yet the truth is that the crowds are unlikely to return once they have been exhausted by the charade of inconvenient walkways that appear almost intentionally to confuse all but those with perfect map navigational skills. The whole maze is far from being user friendly — don't count on full protection from autumn showers or sudden gusts of wind generated by the buildings themselves."[5]

[edit] Financial issues

Mori Building has financed the project with $800 million equity and $1.3 billion in debt from a syndicate of banks led by the Development Bank of Japan. As a result, the company's overall debts are $5.6 billion, secured by billions more in assets.

Goldman Sachs & Co., the project's anchor tenant, attracted deep discounts in rental prices because of the large amount of space it occupies. Japan's sluggish economy, staff cuts by foreign companies, and the flow of new office space have put downward pressure on rents.

Because of conservative eminent domain law in Japan, several past residents of the site that would be Roppongi Hills have been given residential units in the complex in return for their agreement to vacate their prior homes, so that their prior homes would be demolished and the land use for the development of Roppongi Hills.

[edit] Competition

The Tokyo Midtown Project is a similar project also very close to the Roppongi Intersection. It is expected that this project will increase the competition for customers after the opening scheduled for March 2007.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

ja:六本木ヒルズ pt:Roppongi Hills Mori Tower zh:六本木新城

Roppongi Hills

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