Hong Kong hotel designer and Macau casino heir Andre Fu, has purchased a floor in a commercial building in Hong Kong’s Central district for HK$82.01 million ($10.5 million), according to a report in the Hong Kong Economic Times.
Andre Fu, whose firm has been busy designing some of Asia’ poshest hotels, including the recently opened Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok is paying the equivalent of HK$33,500 per square foot for the 18th floor of 18 On Lan Street at the price reported, which is supported by Land Registry records.
The designer’s purchase comes at a price some 10 percent less than the project’s developer-first asked for the asset when the redevelopment project hit the market in 2013, as a downturn in Hong Kong’s property market makes itself felt in the city’s most expensive district.
Hotel Designer Gets His Own Spot in Central
The buyer of the 18th floor at 18 On Lan Street is registered as Top Marvel Investment Limited in the transaction agreement, a company owned by Andre Fu.
Fu’s new floor in the 24-storey tower measures 2,448 square feet by gross floor area and is primarily leased to retail tenants. 18 On Lan Street was redeveloped by a joint venture between Henderson Land and family-owned Kwai Hung Holdings, which had purchased the site just up the hill from Queen’s Road in 1998.
The Ginza-style commercial tower is a 5-minute-walk from Central MTR station and just two minutes from the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife area, in case Fu and his crew get thirsty designing all those luxury hotels.
In addition to the Bangkok Waldorf, who is the founder of Hong Kong-based AFSO Design, is credited with designing Swire’s Upper House hotel at Pacific Place, and more recently led the design of the St Regis Hotel in Hong Kong.
A Hong Kong native, Fu is a cousin to KHI Holdings chairman Adrian Fu, whose family formerly developed the Furama hotel chain, and both are grandsons of the late Macau casino king Fu Tak Lam. Andre Fu was schooled in the UK from an early age, attaining both his undergraduate degree and a masters in architecture from Cambridge.
Headwind Saps Hong Kong Property Sentiment
Fu’s bargain buy comes after the volume of purchases in Hong Kong’s real estate investment market fell by nearly one-quarter during the first three months of 2019.
Transactions involving commercial assets in Hong Kong worth more than $10 million fell by 24 percent in the period from January through March 2019, compared to the last three months of 2018, amounting to just HK$20.2 billion, according to a recent report by property consultancy CBRE.
Data from Hong Kong-based Centaline Property Agency shows that the number of residential transactions brokered by the company slid by 33.3 percent in May compared to the previous month, falling to just 108 deals to mark the lowest month of activity since November last year.
Chen Yongjie, Centaline real estate Asia Pacific vice president and president of residential for the company indicated that market sentiment has been depressed by protests over the extradition bill and concerns over the US-China trade war.
Negative sentiment may also be hitting Hong Kong’s land market as a Kai Tak site sold to Chinese developers China Resources Land and Poly Property Group for HK$ 12.92 billion last week — around eight percent cheaper per unit of built area than a neighboring site sold for in early May.