Haitong Securities has agreed to buy a trio of office buildings worth a combined RMB 7.5 billion ($1 billion) in a Greenland Group project on Shanghai’s Bund, according to announcements last week by units of the mainland investment bank.
The sale of the nine, eleven, and nineteen-storey properties, which form the foothills leading up to the Greenland Bund Centre’s 300-metre supertall tower and three other skyscrapers, will bring in immediate cash as the developer works to complete the remainder of the 760,000 square metre (8.2 million square foot) urban renewal project.
With the joint venture having previously sold two of the seven headquarters properties in the RMB 100 billion development, this latest sale marks the progress that Greenland and its local government partner have made since the Shanghai-based developer bought on China Minsheng Group’s stake in the distressed project in February of this year.
Selling Off the Headquarters Buildings
In the first of the two deals, Haitong UniTrust International Leasing has agreed to buy the B1 headquarters building, so-called because of its suitability for use as the head office of a large corporation, for RMB 1.36 billion, according to a bourse filing by the subsidiary of Shanghai-based securities brokerage Haitong Securities.
In the second deal, which was reported in the same Haitong UniTrust regulatory filing, Haitong Securities has agreed to purchase headquarters buildings B2 and B3 in the development along the western bank of the Huangpu river for an undisclosed sum.
The vendor in both transactions is a 50:50 joint venture between Greenland Group and municipal vehicle Shanghai Bund Investment Group, which owns the development project at the intersection of East Zhongshan Road and Dongjiadu Road in Shanghai’s Huangpu district.
Acquiring Office Space Along the Bund
Shanghai-based Haitong indicated in its statement on the purchase of the B1 building that it was acquiring the assets to consolidate and expand its premises in China’s commercial capital as it also looks to put its name on a property in one of the city’s highest profile locations.
“The purchase of the properties can reasonably centralise the Company’s use of office premises in Shanghai, alleviate the problem of insufficient office premises, enhance the corporate image of the Company and reserve spaces for future development of the company,” Haitong noted in its regulatory filing.
Located on Xiaodongmen Street in Shanghai’s Dongjiadu area, the trio of buildings are part of a 111,500 square metre (1.2 million square foot) urban renewal project in what was once one of the city’s oldest working class neighbourhoods.
Haitong UniTrust Leasing is paying RMB 84,872 per square metre for the nine-storey B1 office property, based on its estimated gross floor area of 16,024 square metres.
The unit of the investment bank is also paying an additional RMB 56.6 million for the project’s two floors of underground parking, bringing the total consideration for the property to RMB 1.42 billion.
Haitong Centralises Shanghai Space
Although financial details for the purchase of the other two adjacent properties – B2 and B3 – have not been disclosed, the nineteen-storey B2 building, which has a gross floor area of 32,100 square metres, has a market value of RMB 4 billion, according to a mainland press account.
The same press account gives the market value of the B3 property, which has 18,900 square metres of gross floor areas spread across eleven floors, as RMB 2 billion.
All of the properties are nearing completion, with a handover expected this year on condition that the seller has completed the initial registration of the building and obtained the legal title to the assets.
The Greenland joint venture is selling the office buildings to Shanghai’s largest investment bank less than a year after the Shanghai government-controlled developer bought out China Minsheng Investment Group’s 50 percent stake in the RMB 100 billion mixed-use project, following a bond default by the financially troubled investment company.
Zhang Yuliang, chairman and president of Greenland Holdings, said that Haitong’s acquisition of the trio of buildings will enhance Shanghai’s financial focus and influence, while making a positive contribution to the development of China’s economy in the new decade, according to a local media account.
Taking on a Troubled Project
With the People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China Limited having acquired the project’s A1 and A2 headquarters buildings in July last year – also at an undisclosed price – the Greenland joint venture has now sold five of the development’s cluster of seven headquarters buildings.
The sales of the partially completed office properties highlight the progress that Greenland and its partner have made on the megadevelopment following the stake transfer in February last year. China Minsheng, which had originally purchased the project in 2014, had failed to bring any element of the multi-building plan to completion before selling its remaining stake in the project to Greenland in 2019.
The development’s four high-rise buildings, which include a 300-metre supertall tower that will provide more office space along with a hotel, are now in the above-ground construction stage, with the superstructures expected to be completed this year.