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A former military airfield that will soon house TikTok

Tishman Speyer recently sold 2.5m square feet of office and retail space at The Springs in Shanghai to the social media platform's parent conglomerate.

ByteDance offices the Springs

In 2023, the walls of The Springs in Shanghai will be brimming with ideas for social media applications, like the world famous TikTok. That will be a far cry from the whirring of airplane propellers once heard nearby.

Slated to be the regional headquarters for parent conglomerate ByteDance, the development will provide the tech giant with some 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space. Some it is renting; most it is buying.

In July, the development’s manager, Tishman Speyer, announced it sold to ByteDance 2.1 million square feet of space and leased it another 457,000 square feet in what it called its biggest deal to a single customer yet. ByteDance will occupy four buildings designed by some of the world’s best-known architects and inspired by Chinese art and natural living. The acquisition values the buildings at approximately $1.25 billion.

A signature plaza

On the corner of Minfu Road and New Jiangwan Road, in Shanghai’s Yangpu District, The Springs is identified by its large urban plaza, featuring landscape art in the form of a tree. Aligning with the ecological values of the developer, its branches act as pathways and its leaves are emulated through flora and verdure.

The Springs has been a long time coming. Tishman Speyer commenced development in 2011. But when it concludes, it is expected to feature 9.8 million square feet of offices, residences and hotels replete in traditional Chinese styles.

Accordingly, The Springs was designed to complement the adjacent New Jiangwan Town Ecological Park and is being developed to reduce noise pollution and improve air quality in a city that historically has struggled with seasonal smog.

This would-be ecological sanctuary is a far cry from the land’s former use as a military airfield. The Shanghai Jiangwan Airport was used by the United States Army Air Force until it left in 1947. It was then a Chinese military airport under the People’s Liberation Army from 1949 until it was closed in 1994. It has since been redeveloped into the New Jiangwan City neighborhood where The Springs is based today.

Tishman Speyer always had creative industries in mind throughout its construction process, with an aim of creating ‘future-thinking’ workspaces for innovative businesses, the firm has said. With the arrival of ByteDance, it is able to realize this vision.

Timeline

1949 The area accommodates the Shanghai Jiangwan Airport for China’s People’s Liberation Army

1996 The area becomes New Jiangwan Town

1997 The area begins its transformation into a residential area

2011 Tishman Speyer launches The Springs development

2021 Tishman Speyer completes a $1.25bn sale and lease to ByteDance