PortfolioJumeirah Clearwater Bay Resort
Qingshui Wan, Lingshui, Hainan, China
While visiting family in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to visit one of WATG’s projects in Panchiao, Taiwan. WATG signed with the developer in 2006 to design the façade and the interior for the residential towers.
A short 20-minute metro ride from Taipei's city center, Panchiao is a hotbed for development right now since the capital has become over crowded. Entitled Chiao-feng (translated as the bridge connecting the highest peaks), the project includes four residential towers and retail sits at the prime location. It is located on Panchiao's main strip with easy access to public transportation. The development is sandwiched between high-end shopping malls and city stadium with Panchiao city hall just across the street. Although it might sound chaotic for some, Chiao-fuon is a dream for Taipei city dwellers. The 300 residential units priced at 1.5 - 2 million US dollars were sold out in eight months.
The project is now under construction with the structural frame currently at the 21st floor and the concrete being poured to the 14th level on all four towers. The first three levels act as a podium for the four residential towers, while the first two levels will be accessible by the public and will consist of retail spaces and also house an art museum. The third floor will remain as the private amenities facilities for residents only. The government requests the developers in Panchiao open the first and second floor to the public because all public spaces must be connected by a sky bridge.
It is exciting to see a project that incorporates city planning as part of the design, and to be able to see the construction process is even more valuable. The Panchiao project is considered a success and the developer wishes to work with WATG in the near future.
I remember, following the attacks of 9/11, that Japanese tourists stopped coming to Hawaii because they felt that it would be insensitive to be enjoying themselves when America was grieving. Very thoughtful. But not very helpful.
Today, many companies are cancelling meetings at hotels, not because of finances but because of the perception that such travel will be viewed as frivolous. Call it the AIG effect.
Case in point: Goldman Sachs reportedly paid a $600,000 cancellation fee recently and moved a technology conference from Las Vegas to San Francisco, a more expensive city in which to meet. Even companies not receiving federal money are now afraid to travel for fear of being criticized.
Destinations like Las Vegas and Hawaii are particularly hard hit – despite the great bargains they are offering – because of the concern over how it looks to travel to leisure destinations when times are tough. The cancellation of travel plans is having serious negative economic consequences. The loss of business is exacerbating the loss of jobs ... housekeepers, dishwashers, servers, florists, event planners, even designers.
Hilton area vice president Jerry Gibson watched $12.4 million in business evaporate within the last 45 days, when several companies cancelled corporate incentive meetings at their Hawaii properties.
Recently, some of the biggest names in the hotel industry wrote a joint letter to the US Congress with the message that a "robust travel industry is a powerful economic stimulus."
When "Saturday Night Live" resumed broadcasting a couple of weeks following 9/11, they had Mayor Giuliani on to open the show, along with the firefighters and police officers of New York, declaring that despite the terrorist attacks, New York City will run as normal and Saturday Night Live will go on as planned. Lorne Michaels, the producer, asked the mayor, "Is it OK to be funny?" and Giuliani replied, "Why start now?"
The bottom line: It's OK to travel. It’s good for business and essential for the economy. Pass the word.
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