Festival Walk

Festival Walk is an upmarket shopping centre in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong owned by Swire Properties. It was the biggest shopping mall in Hong Kong at its launch in November 1998. Festival Walk was developed jointly by Swire Properties and CITIC Pacific in 1993”“1998. In 2006, Swire Properties bought out the 50% stake held by its partner.

Festival Walk is in Yau Yat Chuen, right adjacent to the Kowloon Tong Railway Station, which is an interchange station of the East Rail Line and the Kwun Tong Line of the Mass Transit Railway. It is also in the vicinity of City University of Hong Kong.

Festival Walk comprises some one million square feet of retail space: 200 shops, 27 restaurants, a multiplex cinema, an ice rink; 220,000 square feet (20,000 m 2) of office space. There is also parking accommodation for 850 cars. There are three levels of car park offering a total of 850 spaces.

Design features
The shopping mall occupies three lower ground levels and three levels above ground. The central feature of Festival Walk is the 6-level high, 120 m long and 30 m wide atrium which cuts longitudinally through the interior. Its glass skylight provides natural light to the interior of the building. There is also a food court on the topmost floor, with a view of the mall's indoor skating rink.

Environmental features
The mall is equipped with a waste management system for the food service outlets within the compound. An organic food digester was installed to accelerate the decomposition of food waste into waste water and some food residue which is discharged normally into the sewerage system. The developers also installed a water-cooled air-conditioning system in 2002 at a cost of HK$13 million. The developer claims its high energy-efficiency has saved 5 million kWh each year.

Festival Walk is positioned as a "comfortable" middle-market mall with the emphasis on service as opposed to price. Store interiors are relatively spacious, and its tenants are mostly mainstream "value for money" brands such as H&M, taste and Marks & Spencer. More like malls in the west, the mall has information booths to assist shoppers. Although praised for its spaciousness and its public amenities, Festival Walk's array of escalators were criticised as confusing and unwisely planned in a "Rate your mall" survey in 2007.

Site challenges
Its construction commenced in 1994, and it was completed in 1998. Significant challenges were posed in the formation of the 21,000 m² site due to its terraced land form as well as its narrow land shape. The tunnels for the Kwun Tong Line of the MTR run through the full length of the site. During the construction of the building with 4 basement levels, 460,000 m³ of earth had to be shifted.

Financial transactions
The development was a 50:50 joint venture between Swire and CITIC Pacific. The partners secured the plot in a Government land auction in 1993 with a HK$2.9 billion bid, and developed it at an estimated cost of $2.2 billion. In January 2006, in Hong Kong's biggest property deal, Swire paid HK$6.18 billion to buy out its partner's half share. In July 2007, it was announced that Swire Pacific was contemplating listing the property as a real estate investment trust.