Despite growing uncertainty over the US-China trade war and increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong, a real estate developer controlled by one of the city’s wealthiest families has been actively buying and selling assets.
Hanison Construction Holdings said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday that it is interested in acquiring the 55-room Citadines Mercer “apart-hotel” from Singapore’s CapitaLand, although the company indicated that no formal agreement has been signed for acquiring the 53-unit property.
Hanison’s announcement came in response to a news article published by the Hong Kong Economic Times reporting that the company has agreed to purchase the asset at 29 Jervois Street for HK$800 million ($89.28 million).
Hanison and CapitaLand Get Reacquainted
Should Hanison succeed in its mission to acquire the 29-storey tower, it would be the second Citadines branded asset Hanison has bought from Singapore’s largest developer in less than a year, following its HK$730 million purchase of the Citadines Harbourview Hong Kong, just one kilometre west of the Citadines Mercer.
At the price cited in the local news report, the sale of the boutique property one metro stop west of Central would allow CapitaLand to achieve a mark-up of HK$220 million, or 37.93 percent over the HK$580 million that it paid to acquire the asset in 2014.
Currently operated by CapitaLand’s Ascott serviced apartment unit, Citadines Mercer is about 270 meters from the Sheung Wan metro station and 750 meters south of the Macau Ferry Terminal, with rooms available from HK$810 per night, according to its website.
Hanison, which is controlled by the Cha family which also owns the largest stake in Discovery Bay developer Hong Kong Resorts International, purchased the 53-key Citadines Harbourview from CapitaLand in October last year for HK$730 million, adding the asset at 138 Connaught Road West to a portfolio that includes multiple serviced apartment and hotel properties around the city.
No General Strike for Billionaires
Undeterred by market uncertainty brought on by the escalation of the US-China trade war and Hong Kong’s increasingly violent anti-government protests, Hanison has continued to buy and sell properties in the world’s most expensive real estate market.
Last month, the company agreed to sell a 26-unit service apartment property at 111 high Street in Hong Kong’s Sai Ying Pun area for HK$420 million ($53.7 million). That disposal to a private equity firm backed by a US pension fund manager earned Hanison a 66 percent mark-up on a property which it purchased less than four years ago.
On July 16, Hanison announced that it had agreed to pay HK$735 million ($94 million) to acquire Minibox, a provider of personal storage units in the city, from companies controlled by Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII and Blackstone Real Estate Partners Asia.
That acquisition provided Hanison, which already had a portfolio of four major significant industrial assets in Hong Kong, with three additional properties used by the storage business.