The Transformation of Grand Gateway 66

Corporate Update | Apr 1, 2019

Grand Gateway 66 has been a favorite retail destination in Shanghai since it opened in 1999. To stay competitive in the market, Grand Gateway 66 began its Asset Enhancement Initiative in the second quarter of 2017, following in the successful footsteps of Plaza 66’s renovation project. The massive transformation started with the annex building (now called the North Building). Almost fully let, the North Building reopened in September 2018 and is now home to many new brands making their debut in Shanghai and the Mainland, including Undefeated, Princi by Starbucks and more. The second phase of the renovation at the main building (now called South Building) is in full swing.

In this issue, Connections speaks to Director – Project Management, Mr. Peter Leung, about the details of the renovation and what to expect at the new Grand Gateway 66 when the second phase of the renovation project reaches completion in phases beginning in late 2019.

Design at Its Best
Peter explained how the design concept for Grand Gateway 66 focuses not only on the aesthetics but also on tailoring the environment to customers’ needs. “It is a true customer-centric design that is modern and dynamic,” he said. We assembled a team of internationally renowned architects and designers to make it a reality. AGC is the executive architect for the entire project, KPF (New York) is the façade designer for the Rotunda, a main feature of the South Building. For the interiors, we engaged Elena Galli Giallini Limited as the design architect and interior designer for the whole mall, and Girimun Architects Limited as the logistic planner and office interior designer. “We have brought the best team together to bring multiple elements into play,” said Peter.

The timing for this much needed, comprehensive renovation was just right. It was an opportunity for the mall to adapt to contemporary demands. Throughout the design process, the team worked closely with all stakeholders. The final approved direction was the result of a sensitive decision-making process that took into consideration the aesthetic, practicality, budget, planning, and implementation constraints.

Customers can already appreciate something of the impressive new design concept at the recently reopened North Building and the renovated Office Tower One. The bold contrast of the bronze color pillars against the pale walls and floors exudes a young yet elegant look. The tailor-made hexagon light fittings and tranches, and bronze handles and solid wood rails are of bespoke craftsmanship that speaks luxury. But as Peter puts it, “There will be more excitement in store with the design of the South Building. Although it will have a different feel, the overall styles of both buildings are in sync with each other and will appeal to the young customers of Grand Gateway 66.”

The Wow Factor
The most unforgettable feature of Grand Gateway 66 as it was, is undoubtedly the grand front steps. By demolishing the bulky steps, Peter said the team is determined to achieve two goals, improve public accessibility and better capture the natural pedestrian flow. The new piazza was designed to create excitement, flanked by two new double-story flagship stores and with alfresco dining terraces overlooking the piazza. The signature rotunda was re-designed and clad with elegant glazed panels and terracotta inlays. Peter said, “Wait until you go inside the building. The piazza will lead customers into a majestic atrium which will be one of most spacious in Shanghai, lined with international luxury stores welcoming each guest.” The interior designers also reconfigured the mall’s interior layout to help customers better navigate the mall.

In the previous design, the two buildings of Grand Gateway 66 were quite stand-alone. Echoing the earlier objective to enhance the accessibility, Peter said the once enclosed and solid bridges linking the two buildings were opened up as a series of staggered retail spaces with new areas for pop-up stores and events. The addition of a footbridge at the third floor also integrates the two buildings as does the enhanced basement access with a new metro exit. A once hidden and underrated basement zone is now opened to the entire complex. Another feature that customers will find appealing is the rejuvenation of “The Lane”, an internal street with restaurants and cafes where customers can relax.

Seamless Execution
Peter said the scale and complexity of this project is many times that of Plaza 66, requiring much more attention and effort. With an emphasis on timely completion within budget, the team has tackled numerous challenges, the greatest being the demolition of the front steps and the creation of the new piazza and facade at the South Building. “We needed to pay special attention to the metro lines beneath us so as not to disrupt the operations of the Shanghai metro which transports 10 million commuters every day.” This required meticulous planning and careful execution with proper communication with all stakeholders.

Like Plaza 66, the mall has remained operational throughout the entire renovation process. Most of the work can only be done between the hours of 10:00p.m. to 7:00a.m.. Peter said, “The Project Management Team had to coordinate with different parties to make sure everything is back in place before the mall reopens daily. With the huge amount of structural alternation works, to keep a store open is like operating in the middle of a war zone! Special thanks to the on-site Leasing & Management and Service Delivery teams in fulfilling an almost impossible task.”

When asked what has given the project team the greatest satisfaction, Peter responded that, without a doubt, it would be the delivery of an advanced hardware offering that has the capacity to attract new tenants and appeal to new business partners. With improved hardware and Hang Lung’s branded experience and positioning, Grand Gateway 66 is set to become the Jewel of Xujiahui.

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