Almost two years after agreeing to sell a Kowloon East office project to one of Hong Kong’s richest women, Swire Properties last week finally completed the 25-storey tower and closed the HK$6.5 billion deal.
The blue-chip developer announced to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday that the sale of the 555,000 square foot (51,561 square metre) office project at 19 Wang Chiu Road in Kowloon Bay to Lucky Melody Limited, with the British Virgin Islands company affiliated with Hong Kong billionaire Pollyanna Chu’s Kingston Financial Group taking possession of the grade A commercial property.
The developer of Pacific Place in Admiralty first announced the sale in October 2016 when the construction of the project was still underway, breaking the price record for office properties in Kowloon at that time. Swire said at the time that the completion of the sale was contingent on obtaining the relevant occupation permit and certificate of compliance for the office tower by 31 December 2018.
Shell Company Queen Now Betting on Office Projects
After starting life as New Kowloon Inland Lot No 6312, the office tower is now named Kingston International Centre, in recognition of Chu’s primary holding company. Asking rents at the project, which has a floor plate of approximately 28,462 square feet (2,645 square metres), are currently HK$32 per square foot, according to Savills.
Swire had purchased the site which is 10-minutes walk from the Kowloon Bay MTR station at the intersection of Wang Chiu Road and Lam Lee Street in November of 2013 for HK$2.64 billion.
Chu, who has been called Hong Kong’s “Queen of Shell Companies” for her role in financing and facilitating stock market listings in Hong Kong, was also a member of the investor consortium that acquired The Center for a record HK$40.2 billion ($5.15 billion) earlier this year. In that deal, Chu snapped up seven floors in the world’s most expensive office tower, which according to local media reports, she intends to retain for self-use and long-term rental to other tenants.
Swire Could Bring in HK$19B Selling Quarry Bay Projects
Swire Properties, which traditionally holds its properties long-term, may be disposing of more assets in Hong Kong in the near future.
Just last month, the property arm of one of Hong Kong’s biggest conglomerates announced that it was in talks to sell its holdings in the Cityplaza Three and Cityplaza Four office buildings in Quarry Bay, a move which could bring the developer HK$19 billion in funds, according to a research note from DBS.
Swire has full ownership in Cityplaza Four, while ten floors in the 21-storey Cityplaza Three project are owned by the Hong Kong government, Swire Properties’ latest annual report shows.
The news of the potential sale of the pair of office towers was followed by Swire’s announcement a week later that it would put its Taikoo Place Apartments on the market. Located in the company’s Taikoo Place community in Quarry Bay, the apartments’ sales launch is scheduled for later this year.