Cofco Plaza, a mall known for being the backdrop to innovation in Beijing, is taking a leading role in showing how retail spaces can return to cultural and technological import.
The mall’s large sprawling furniture store, previously home to a series of luxurious home furnishings, has morphed into a high-tech co-working space that has quadrupled the building’s owners monthly rental income and increased the property’s value by $15 million, according to the South China Morning Post. The store is now 36,000 square feet of office space — 10,000 of which is reserved for co-working space.
The transformation is part of Hong Kong-based Joy City Property’s effort to expand its offering into property management and the secret to their success at Cofco Plaza is largely thanks to one move: an app.
Sign up for China Watch for weekly emails on Chinese real estate investments.
Called COFFICE, would-be tenants can book their office space on the store’s management app, as well as pay for their purchases at restaurants and cafes elsewhere in the mall or even fitness classes and other health services. Joy City can give discounts to tenants as well — all controlled and distributed through the app.
“We have hosted about 200 visiting delegations from other companies, and what interested them most was the COFFICE system,” said general manager Sun Tianli to the Post.
The app has been downloaded about 20,000, despite the new office space only hosting about 4,200 workers. Given the returns the developer is already seeing, they expect to recoup the costs of the renovation within five years. [SCMP] — Erin Hudson