Privately held Grosvenor on Monday announced the appointment of Kozo Hiratani as president of the UK property group’s business in Japan, effective 1 February.
Hiratani has extensive experience in the real estate industry, having worked at Mitsui Fudosan for 25 years before joining Grosvenor, a centuries-old firm owned by the Duke of Westminster and his family.
Hiratani will also sit on the board of Grosvenor Asia Pacific and serve as an executive committee member.
“Following a thorough search process, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Kozo Hiratani as president of our Japan business,” Benjamin Cha, chief executive of Grosvenor Asia Pacific, said in a release. “Hiratani-san is an experienced executive who brings a wealth of highly relevant leadership, strategy, investment, project delivery and asset management experience to the team and to the board.”
In his capacity as general manager for Mitsui Fudosan Investment Advisors, Hiratani oversaw the investment advisory and global investment management departments. He was primarily in charge of acquisition and disposition of assets for for private REITs and private funds and the formation of private investment vehicles, including the US property fund. in acquisition/disposition.
The veteran investor also was involved in leasing and asset management during his time with real estate investment management division of one of Japan’s largest conglomerates.
Hiratani, who graduated from the University of Tokyo with two master’s degrees in civil engineering and earned an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, is the direct replacement for Daniel Cox, a former Citigroup exec who left Grosvenor in March 2020 after three years with the firm.
The president position has been newly created to reflect Hiratani’s seniority and experience. Cox’s post as managing director and chief representative no longer exists.
Homing In on Tokyo
Grosvenor has developed and invested in real estate in Asia for over 25 years and has $1.4 billion in assets under management in the region.
Within the region, the group, which traces its origins back to 1677, invests in Greater China and Japan, where it gives priority to opportunities in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta, and Tokyo. Grosvenor expanded into the Japanese market with the opening of its Tokyo office in 2001.
The group’s strategy includes investment and development in the residential, office and retail sectors, with new initiatives emerging in proptech and digital innovation. The Greater China business operates mostly through joint ventures with local partners, while the Tokyo business focuses on proprietary development and asset management.
In its first foray into Japan’s retail sector, Grosvenor in late 2017 acquired a 10-storey shopping tower in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district from Imabari Shipbuilding Co, which had bought the building in February 2015 for an estimated price of JPY 25 billion ($209 million).
Grosvenor’s high-end residential projects in Tokyo include the Westminster Nanpeidai, The Belgravia Azabu and Grosvenor Place Kamizono-cho.
More recently, Grosvenor added to its Asia Pacific office portfolio with the formation of a 50:50 joint venture with Hong Kong-listed developer Shui On Land to buy the 45-storey Nanjing International Financial Center for RMB 1.62 billion ($250 million) from Sanpower Group. The debt-riddled conglomerate had bought the asset for RMB 2.48 billion in 2014 from a fund managed by Singapore’s ARA Asset Management.