Singapore’s Ascendas-Singbridge is adding to its office acquisitions in South Korea by picking up a newly-completed, mid-rise office building in Seoul’s Gangnam district for S$124.3 million ($91.8 million).
A fund managed by the real estate firm acquired the 15-storey, 19,578 square metre ICON Yeoksam, with Ascendas-Singbridge unveiling both the new privately-held investment vehicle and the office deal in a single announcement.
The seller is said to be a joint venture led by a unit of Seoul-based GL Industrial Development, which developed the building and held a 40 percent stake. Korea’s Mirae Asset Securities and Meritz Securities each held a 20 percent share in the project, according to a report by local news outlet ChosunBiz.
The acquisition by Ascendas Asset Management Co boosts the group’s assets under management in Korea to S$800 million ($590.8 million), expanding its total lettable area in the country by one-fifth to 1.3 million square feet (139,355 square metres).
Ascendas Adds Another Downtown Office to Seoul Portfolio
“With the support of our investors, we are pleased to have successfully acquired ICON Yeoksam, which has good connectivity and high visibility in the core GBD [Gangnam Business District] area,” commented William Tay, CEO of Korea Operations for Ascendas-Singbridge. “In view of its strategic location, the mid-sized building has already attracted the attention of numerous blue-chip companies seeking to set up their offices there.”
Completed in October, ICON Yeoksam is located at 706-19 Yeoksam-dong within the key business district south of the Han River, nearby the Seolleung station on subway Line 2.
Since 2002, Ascendas-Singbridge has built up a portfolio of centrally located office buildings in Seoul including Anam Tower, Citibank Center and Jongro Place. This past July, a fund controlled by the Singapore firm sold Signature Towers Seoul to IGIS Asset Management for a 2017 record price of $635 million.
Singaporean Builder Continues Overseas Push
Ascendas-Singbridge bought the asset through its fifth single-asset office fund in the country, the S$39.6 million ($29.2 million) Ascendas Korea Office Qualified Private Real Estate Investment Trust No. 5 (AKOPREIT5). The privately-held trust, which was established in late September, is a 10-year closed-end vehicle and is said to have secured debt financing to cover the remainder of the acquisition cost.
Ascendas-Singbridge, which has a total of over S$20 billion ($14.77 billion) in assets under management, has moved aggressively to invest in overseas assets this year. The developer jointly owned by Singaporean government-controlled Temasek Holdings and JTC Corporation recently completed the acquisition of 66 Gouldburn Street, a grade A office tower in downtown Sydney for A$252 million ($200 million), a deal that was first announced in August.
In September, Singapore-listed Ascendas REIT, which is managed by a unit of Ascendas-Singbridge, scooped up a 14-storey office tower on the outskirts of Brisbane, Australia for A$83.83 million ($66.6 million).
Ascendas-Singbridge is also ramping up its activities in India, revealing in June a $500 million joint venture with Bangalore-based Firstspace Realty to invest in logistics properties in the country. And in August, the Ascendas India Growth Programme – a fund set up by Ascendas and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC – acquired a 16-acre business park site in Pune, India.