Roppongi Hills back on top

March 25th, 2010 by Felicity Hughes

A bird's eye view from the Roppongi Hills' Sky Deck

A bird’s eye view from the Roppongi Hills’ Sky Deck (Satoko Kawasaki photo/The Japan Times)

Real-estate tycoon Minoru Mori has got something to celebrate this weekend. Not only is his Roppongi Hills complex hosting Roppongi Art Night, but J-Cast reports that occupancy of its office space is now up to 95 percent, recovering from a slump two years ago which saw occupancy at 85 percent. The icing on the cake for Mori is that, if early reports are to be believed, Mori Tower will soon gain a prestigious new tenant in the summer of this year: Google Japan. When Roppongi Hills opened their doors in 2003, the complex had no problems attracting high-profile clients, especially in the dot com industry, with Livedoor, Yahoo! Japan and internet shopping giant Rakuten all in residency. Not only that, but many company presidents decided to live the dream of the high rise inner-urban community by also living in the building, namely Takafumi Horie of Livedoor, Rakuten’s Hiroshi Mikitani and CyberAgent Susumu Fujita. And so the phrase “Hills zoku” (the Hills clan) was born.

Buffeted by the Livedoor scandal, the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the global financial crisis, the Hills zoku proved itself to be a very loose knit family. Putting the most distance between themselves and Roppongi Hills, Rakuten decamped to Rakuten Tower on the shores of Tokyo Bay in Shinagawa. Yahoo! turned traitor and split just down the road to the new complex at Tokyo Mid Town while Livedoor slunk off to new offices in Shinjuku. While Roppongi Hills maintained high-profile customer such as Goldman Sachs, in 2008 Mori’s glittering real-estate dream was looking rather tarnished. However, in the latter part of 2009, all that began to turn around as a succession of new companies – such as Barclays, chemicals giant BASF and software solutions company SAS – moved in.

If the word on the street is true, Google will be leaving Shibuya’s Cerulean Tower, citing cramped conditions as the reason for the move. Of course, it’ll be an added bonus for the company to be moving in with Roppongi Hills’ new in-crowd. If they’re hoping to move their families in too, there’s still space available. According the the Roppongi Hills Web site rents start from ¥450,000 a month for a one bedroom apartment.

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