TOKYO — When it opened its store at Roppongi Hills here last week, Louis Vuitton helped put the spotlight on the most talked-about neighborhood in Tokyo.
The massive shopping, business and residential complex opened earlier this year after 18 years of planning, design and construction at a cost of $2.25 billion, converted from the Japanese yen at current exchange. Already, it’s attracting an average of 100,000 visitors a day on weekdays and double that on weekends.
The area sits on 28.7 acres of land in one of Tokyo’s most expensive areas. It takes about 10 minutes to reach by subway from Ginza and it’s in walking distance from Aoyama.
Centering on the 54-story Mori Tower, the complex comprises two 43-story apartment buildings, a 390-room hotel, a cinema complex, a broadcasting station and an outdoor theater with seating for more than 2,000 people. All the facilities on the complex combined represent a total of 7.6 million square feet.
Designer shops and restaurants, already numbering 210, are all located in the lower floors of the buildings, while the higher floors are used for business offices and rental apartments.
Fashion retailers already in the neighborhood include Issey Miyake, Christian Lacroix, Courrèges, Zara, Armani Jeans, Anna Sui, Diesel, Hugo Boss, Anteprima, Escada and Max Mara. Versace and Y’s by Yohji Yamamoto are expected to open soon.
Roppongi Hills is a joint-venture project owned by an association formed by about 400 Roppongi landowners, including Mori Building Co., the organizer, which is in charge of operation and management of the facilities.
Minoru Mori, president, called Roppongi the “new cultural heart” for Tokyo. It is the largest private-sector urban renaissance project in the country, he said, emphasizing that the core objectives are “to double urban living space, double the free time available to the city’s residents [and] transform Tokyo’s horizontally dense city into a vertically urban area.”
According to Yoshinao Matsushima, assistant manager in charge of Roppongi Hills management, most of the retail stores have exceeded initial sales targets and welcomed repeat customers. He declined to discuss commercial lease contracts, but noted rental apartments in the towers range from about $5,800 to $33,000.
The “cultural” town is complete with a museum that occupies two top floors of Mori Tower. The nine-gallery Mori Art Museum, scheduled to open Oct. 18, will highlight masterworks of contemporary and modern art, photography, film, design and architecture.
Mori is one of Japan’s largest real estate developers. It operates 99 buildings of its own or for lease, mainly in the Tokyo area.