A Chinese property investor who spent HK$2.1 billion ($271 million) in June to acquire Hong Kong’s most expensive home has added to his portfolio in the city with the HK$4.5 billion ($580 million) purchase of the east tower in Wheelock and Company’s One Harbourgate complex in Kowloon, according to a statement published yesterday on his company website.
The sale of One Harbourgate, a 15-storey office tower with adjoining retail space recently completed by Wheelock, comes just eight months after the Hong Kong real estate giant had sold the west tower and retail block in the commercial project to another mainland investor, China Life, for HK$5.86 billion ($755 million).
The purchase of the remainder of One Harbourgate was announced yesterday by Cheung Kei Holdings, a property investment firm controlled by Shenzhen-based billionaire Chen Hongtian, who seized the attention of Hong Kongers with his record purchase of 15 Gough Hill Road last month.
Kowloon Tower to Be Renamed for Cheung Kei
Like its boss, Chen’s Cheung Kei Group had kept a low profile among the real estate investment community until recently, but that anonymity is likely to end with the Shenzhen-based firm taking naming rights for the One Harbourgate Tower as part of the acquisition.
Cheung Kei’s portion of the One Harbourgate complex on Hung Luen Road in Kowloon’s Hung Hom area includes 254,000 square feet (23,600 square metres) of office space and 26,000 square feet (2,400 square metres) of retail. At a total of 280,000 square feet of gross floor area, Cheung Kei paid HK$16,071 per square metre for the recently completed structure.
Shortly after the sale of the first chunk of One Harbourgate to China Life last November, Wheelock had announced that it expected to sell the remaining buildings in the project for HK$4 billion. Cheung Kei’s price works out to roughly the same rate per square foot that China Life paid for its portion of One Harbourgate in November.
Purchases of Hong Kong office buildings have been in vogue with mainland investors in recent years with the city’s world leading rental rates appealing to cash-rich Chinese conglomerates while many of these same companies are hoping to build global businesses by establishing operations outside of the mainland’s restricted market.
$49M Home Was “Too Tiny” for Shenzhen Billionaire
Cheung Kei’s plan to use One Harbourgate as its Hong Kong headquarters parallels its chairman’s decision to use the city’s most expensive mansion as his family home.
Before settling on the HK$2.1 billion, 9,200 square foot (855 square metre) home on Gough Hill Road, Chen had last year purchased a HK$380 million home at Swire’s Opus development in the mid-levels as his family home. The billionaire, who invests in Hong Kong property as a hobby, decided on his Gough Hill Road home after finding the 5,100 square foot (474 square metre) mid-levels flat to be “too tiny.” He plans on making his new mansion his home when in Hong Kong.
Chen, who started out in the garment business before investing in hotels and other real estate in Guangdong province, is also the largest shareholder of Hong Kong-listed developer China South City. His net worth is estimated at RMB 16 billion ($2.4 billion).
The one-time suit maker is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and also heads the Shenzhen Harmony Club, an exclusive group of mainland billionaires active in both Hong Kong and Shenzhen, which includes Tencent chairman Pony Ma and BYD automotive founder Wang Chuanfu among its members.