Real estate developer Hines announced this week that it has opened an office in Hong Kong to serve as the Houston-based developer’s Asia Pacific headquarters and appointed company veteran Ray Lawler to lead an executive team for the region.
Lawler will oversee Hines’ APAC operations, including its business in China and Australia, as Co-CEO for the region. With no building of their own yet in Asia’s most expensive real estate market, Hines’ website lists the company’s Hong Kong office as being in the AIA Central building on Connaught Road.
After having served most recently as Hines’ Senior Managing Director for the West Region of the US, Lawler has moved to Hong Kong to lead the developer’s efforts to target additional real estate investment, development and management opportunities in Asia Pacific, including establishing ventures in new markets in the region, according to a statement from the company.
Expanding a Regional Footprint
“Hines is very enthusiastic about the real estate market in the Asia Pacific Region and foresees long-term growth potential in a number of new business opportunities and diverse product categories,” Lawler said in a statement. “We have a long-term commitment to the region and ambitious plans for our expansion.”
The company first entered the Asia Pacific region in 1996 when it established an office in Beijing. Since then, the firm has developed and acquired a total of 12 million square feet (1.1 million square metres) of space in the region, valued at more than $2.4 billion.
The privately owned firm’s 15 projects include the recently completed One Museum Place in Shanghai, a 60-story Class A tower in the Jing’an District, designed by Gensler. In addition to offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Australia, the firm also maintains regional offices in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.
Building an APAC Team
Also joining Lawler in the new office are managing director Claire Thielke and director Drew Huffman, who they will be responsible for pre-development, development, entitlement, asset management, acquisition, disposition, leasing and financing, as well as pursuing new business efforts in Hong Kong and throughout the Asia Pacific region.
A former US Marine captain, Lawler joined Hines in 2007 and most recently served as a senior managing director in the US’ west region responsible for the acquisition, development, asset management and disposition of over eight million square feet of office, residential, industrial and retail projects.
Thielke, a Standford graduate and scholar, joined Hines in 2009 and most recently served as chief operating officer for investment management.
Since joining the firm in 2011, Huffman has been responsible for acquisition and disposition of over 30 assets exceeding eight million square feet.
Hines, which opened an office in India 13 years ago, last year promoted Amit Diwan to managing director and country head for its business in that country.