Australian property giant Lendlease has hired former Global Switch managing director Sam Lee to head up its data centre platform in Asia Pacific.
With Lee overseeing operations from Singapore as Lendlease’s managing director of data centres, the developer plans to expand into the server farm market across Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.
“Sam’s expertise and proven track record will greatly augment our integrated capability across development, construction and investment to drive our data centre strategy,” said Lendlease’s CEO for Asia, Tony Lombardo.
As well as sourcing and overseeing the development of new data centres, Lee’s remit will include acquiring existing data centres, Lendlease said in a statement.
Building a $1B Data Centre Platform
Lee will lead Lendlease Data Centre Partners, a $1 billion joint venture the company formed last year with an undisclosed institutional partner to develop a data centre platform in Asia Pacific.
When Lendlease unveiled the JV last July, the Sydney-headquartered developer said the partnership is being funded 20 percent by Lendlease and 80 percent by its institutional partner, with an initial equity commitment by the parties of $500 million.
Targeting gateway cities across Asia Pacific in which the Aussie developer already has a presence, the JV is Lendlease’s first foray into the data centre segment in Asia Pacific.
Making Asia Pacific a Priority
Lendlease is tapping into the Asia Pacific segment as the region leads the world in terms of data centre market growth, according to Cushman & Wakefield. In a recent report, the property agency predicted that APAC would become the largest market for data centres globally by 2021.
Lombardo said that Lee has been brought on board to accelerate the growth of Lendlease’s data centre platform across major markets, “with Asia Pacific as a priority”.
“We are committed to this sector over the long-term,” Lombardo added.
A Lendlease spokesperson told Mingtiandi that the firm had delivered more than 30 data centre projects globally over the past 20 years.
Hiring a Data Centre Specialist
Following close to two decades working in senior roles in the corporate real estate and asset management sectors, Lee had headed up Global Switch’s Singapore operations for two and half years immediately prior to his appointment by Lendlease.
Lendlease said that, during that time, Lee managed Global Switch Tai Seng, the only data centre in Asia Pacific with direct access to multiple international cable systems, while also overseeing the development of the company’s second data centre.
From 2013 to 2017, the graduate of the University of California, Berkeley had served as the director of asset management for NYSE-listed Digital Realty. In that role, Lee had been directly responsible for growing its portfolio of data centres in Asia Pacific, according to Lendlease.