Ascendas sets up third office fund in S. Korea

Business park developer Ascendas has folded a recently purchased office building in downtown Seoul into a new office fund in South Korea - its third in the country.

The Ascendas Korea Office Private Real Estate Investment Trust 3 (Akopreits3), as the fund is called, is a seven-year closed private fund managed by the company's subsidiary, Ascendas Asset Management.

The fund holds Jongro Place, a Grade A office building in the central business district of the capital city of Seoul. The building was recently acquired for S$289.6 million.

Ascendas Asset Management chief executive Lee Ho-Gil noted that the five-year-old Jongro Place is almost fully occupied, with an occupancy rate of 97 per cent.

"Its high connectivity and visibility in an up-and-coming area of Seoul's CBD has already attracted the attention of numerous blue- chip companies which seek a suitable location to set up their offices," he said.

Jongro Place, a Grade A office building in the central business district of Seoul, has an occupancy rate of 97 per cent.  -- PHOTO: ASCENDAS

Jongro Place is close to population centres, and is well connected to the core areas of Seoul via four subway lines. The building overlooks Jongmyo Shrine, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

It has 14 floors, and a total net lettable area of 23,000 sq m.

Jongro Place's anchor tenants include South Korea's top e-commerce operator Coupang and global banking group Citigroup.

With the acquisition of Jongro Place, Ascendas Group has grown its assets under management in South Korea by 23 per cent, from 1.1 trillion won (S$1.3 billion) to 1.3 trillion won.

Ascendas is part of Ascendas- Singbridge.

"Since making our first foray in South Korea in 2002, we have grown our portfolio to five properties," said president and group chief executive Manohar Khiatani.

"As a fast-growing developed country, South Korea continues to hold huge potential for businesses."

Ascendas is exploring further investments in Grade A office buildings in key gateway cities in the region through its private funds due to strong institutional investor demand for Asian core real estate exposure, said the company.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Ascendas sets up third office fund in S. Korea'. Print Edition | Subscribe