Hong Kong’s “Shop King”, Tang Shing-bor, has put a portfolio of commercial and residential properties on the market for a combined HK$1.5 billion ($190 million), according to a local news report.
Property consultancy Savills, which is marketing the Kowloon and Hong Kong island assets, told Mingtiandi that the real estate tycoon known colloquially as Uncle Bor is aiming to free up cash locked up in these assets to potentially help fund development of a large-scale senior-living facility.
Savills’s senior director of retail sales in Hong Kong, Sharon Fong, said that with no sign yet of a major recovery in the retail sector, some investors are turning to alternative asset classes such as residential care homes as confidence in the city’s shopping districts fades.
Pulling Up Stakes Along Nathan Road
In Kowloon Tang is hoping to find a buyer for 34 residential units and a single street front shop at 94 Prince Edward West in Mong Kok.
The investor has set a price of HK$339 million for the 21,660 square foot set of properties one minute’s walk west of the Prince Edward MTR station, or the equivalent of HK$15,697 per square foot.
The Mong Kok units are leased to a nursing home, a currency exchange shop and a pharmacy, for a combined monthly rent of HK$600,000, according to a local news report.
One MTR stop south of that property, Tang has put up for sale the priciest of his Kowloon assets — a two storey commercial unit at 40 Waterloo Road — one minute’s walking distance from the Yau Me Tei station.
Uncle Bor is asking HK$380 million for the 18,800 square foot property at a price which works out to HK$20,212 per square foot for the units, which are currently leased through 2024 to a senior care facility at a monthly rent of HK$950,000.
One subway stop further south from that Yau Ma Tei asset, Tang has put up for sale the lower five floors of a 10-storey residential building at 42-52 Woosung Street in Jordan at an asking price of HK$280 million.
Together, the ground floor retail space and four superseding floors of residential span 20,750 square feet of the 57-year-old Tai Koon Mansion, making Tang’s asking price equivalent to HK$13,493 per square foot.
Selling Hong Kong Island Shops
Transferring to the Island Line after a ride beneath Victoria Harbour, Tang is asking HK$360 million for a 4,000 square foot retail unit at 407 Shau Kei Wan Road, or the equivalent of HK$15,000 per square foot, for the eastern Hong Kong island asset.
Closer to the centre of town, the veteran investor is asking HK$160 million, or the equivalent of HK$13,445 per square foot, for a two storey retail unit in the Pao Woo Mansion in the Morrison Hill neighbourhood.
Moving From Retail to Care Homes
As the 86-year-old prepares to sell the set of retail and retrofitted senior care properties, he plans to channel capital raised from the disposals into developing a purpose-built senior living facility, which would would have greater appeal to potential residents than commercial sites adapted for use as care homes, according to Savills’ Sharon Fong.
Fong explained that developing large-scale senior living projects provides greater returns than converted properties as “tailor-made residential care homes for the elderly can draw better subscriptions”.
Tang had financed the purchase of the 125,500 square foot plot along Sai Kung’s Hong Ting Road for his upcoming project in part through the HK$1.43 billion sale of a Wan Chai hotel in 2018.
At present, the shop investor turned senior care developer has applied to build a facility on the site near Ma On Shan park in the New Territories which will feature 1,403 nursing beds and 99 private residential units across 349,500 square feet of gross floor area, according to a local news report.
Tang’s decision to pursue the enhanced yields promised by purpose-built senior living projects comes as a property slump in the Asian financial hub saw average retail rents citywide slide by 10.3 percent during the first quarter of this year.