Charm of Johnston Road in Wanchai

Charm of Johnston Road in Wanchai

Wanchai no wonder is an attractive place for tourists, one can recall the days of Suzie Wong and drunken soldiers. Bars and lounges are still there on Lockhart Road. There is somewhere else in Wanchai now turning more like a haven of international cuisines. i.e. Johnston Road, Queen’s Road East and the secondary streets between Johnston Road and Queen’s Road East –  Ship Street, Amoy Street and Landale Street. They are attracting more restaurants to there, either fine dining restaurant or take-away.

When we are strolling along Johnston Road in tram, the scene of the heritage building, Johnston Road 60, is always eye-catching. All the shop spaces in the building are leased to restaurants, except the ground floor furniture shop by Tang Tang Tang Tang (operated by David Tang, the owner of Shanghai Tang).

A construction site called Avenue Walk will soon become another landmark on Johnston Road. Avenue Walk and the residential blocks is a re-development project, jointly developed by Hopewell, Sino Land and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Taking your morning coffee at Coffee Academics

Confirmation of tenant mixes and selection of the tenants have undergone a long process. Indicative shop rental and layout plans for food and beverage usage are finally released to prospective tenants in March, which is comparable to the shop market rental on Johnston Road.

Before the completion of Avenue Walk, the other side of Johnston Road is changing face too. Beside “Fook Lam Moon”, a famous Chinese restaurant for riches of the riches in the city, a coffee shop with a cool back color façade is fully packed with coffee lovers, both day and night. The coffee shop is called “Coffee Academics” – a new brand by the operator of Habitu.

Coffee-Academics in  Wanchai

Coffee-Academics in Wanchai

This shop and the other few shops around were originally occupied by a Chinese seafood restaurant, which moved out due to substantial increment of rental upon lease expiry last year. The Landlord then sub-divided the shops with higher total rental income.

Before, the area around “Fook Lam Moon” was more local with Chinese restaurants and clothing shops. Now the western restaurants are like octopus spreading their touch from Queen’s Road Street to another side of Johnston Street where is closer to Hennessy Road.

A few more spots for food and beverage at Johnson Road in Q1 next year

Food and beverage operators are still the “honey” by most of the landlords, as restaurants can afford comparatively higher rental than other retail tenants.

Few bigger shop spaces for restaurants will be available in Q1 2015. Including the additional supply of new shop spaces in Avenue Walk, will the shop rental in the region be softening? Let’s wait and see.

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