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Records set to break as landmark hotel reopens to fanfare.

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A newly opened complex that includes a 41-story hotel tower and an 18-story office structure marks the return of Tokyo’s beloved Okura Hotel. Many of the original hotel’s materials and fixtures were preserved for the renovated site; image courtesy of CTBUH.

Tallest Building in Japan Planned for Tokyo

Mori Building Co. has unveiled plans for a redevelopment project in central Tokyo that includes what would become the tallest building in Japan, Kyodo News reports. The 330-m-tall skyscraper will include both office and residential space for the Azabudai-Toranomon district, and is set to be completed in March 2023. The full project that includes the tower is expected to cost JPY600 billion (US$5.6 billion) and also have a hotel and international school on an 8.1-ha site. Rival company Mitsubishi Estate Co. is planning to build a 390-m-tall building in Tokyo in 2027 that would then take the distinction of tallest building.

Rebuilt Iconic Hotel Reopens in Tokyo

The Okura Hotel, a Tokyo landmark, has been reborn with a blend of old and new structures that preserved much of the original building’s décor, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) reported in September. The original Okura, which opened its doors in 1962, in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, was a luxury hotel that was beloved for its Japanese ambiance. A plan to rebuild the hotel, in conjunction with further development, meant the original building would be demolished, but architect Yoshio Taniguchi, son of the original hotel’s designer, went to great lengths to preserve as many of the artistic touches as possible.

To comply with modern building regulations, while maintaining the lobby’s original feel, an elevator was hidden in the steps for a wheelchair lift, and sprinklers were tucked into the ceiling. The Heritage Wing, an original structure, maintains the familiar Japanese traditional style, while a new, 41-story Okura Prestige Tower includes 368 rooms and suites following a more Western fashion. The complex also includes a new 18-story office tower, clad in glass (as is the Prestige Tower), and a museum.

The goal of the owners in the renovation and renewal of the site next to the U.S. Embassy was to have it ready for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The hotel has hosted every U.S. president since Richard Nixon, with the exception of Donald Trump, who took office after the renovation had commenced. The price tag for the project was JPY110 billion (US$1 billion).

Plans Announced for Malaysian Megatall

KLCC Holdings, the owner of Malaysia’s tallest buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers, is set to lose its crown, but has revealed plans to reclaim it in the form of Tower M, a 700-m-tall building within the Kuala Lumpur City Centre development, The Edge Markets reported in July. Tower M, which is the working name of the planned megatall office building, will be one of three towers atop a retail podium on a 4-acre site. Taking market conditions and projections into account — the Malaysian capital currently has an oversupply of office space — the developer does not plan to commence construction until sometime after 2030. Estimates put the gross development value of the project somewhere between MYR3.7 billion (US$880 million) and MYR4.2 billion (US$999 million). The developer did not say how many stories Tower M would have, but the source said it would reportedly number 145 floors.

When it opened in 1999, the Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world, but the 451.9-m-tall, 88-story buildings have long since been surpassed and are now listed as the world’s 12th-tallest, though they remain the tallest in Malaysia — that is, until later this year, when The Exchange 106 reaches its ultimate 492-m, 106-story height. The Exchange 106 is expected to, in turn, be overtaken by the 630-m-tall Menara PNB 118 in 2024. The iconic Petronas buildings remain the tallest twin towers in the world.

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Elevator World | November 2019 Cover