Ascott snags contracts to manage 14 properties across 8 countries

The 131-unit lyf Fukuoka in Japan is slated to open in 2020. PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LIMITED

SINGAPORE - CapitaLand's serviced residence arm, The Ascott Ltd, has secured contracts to manage 14 properties with over 2,000 units across eight countries, the group announced on Tuesday (April 9).

The countries include China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

Three of the 14 new properties are under its co-living 'lyf' brand. They will be located in Fukuoka, Japan; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Shanghai, China.

Under a partnership inked with Japanese real estate company, NTT Urban Development Corporation, Ascott will manage lyf Fukuoka and jointly explore serviced residence opportunities in Japan, Ascott said. The 131-unit property, nestled within Fukuoka's major retail and recreational centre, is slated to open in 2020.

Meanwhile, the 160-unit Shanghai property located in the central business district of Hongqiao, is set to open in 2022.

lyf Raja Chulan Kuala Lumpur, which resides within Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, the Malaysian capital city's commercial, shopping and entertainment hub, is targeted to open in 2020.

"Ascott's latest lyf properties in Fukuoka, Kuala Lumpur, and Shanghai are set to enjoy a ready catchment of corporate and leisure travellers, given their prime locations in the cities' major commercial and recreational hubs, and proximity to tech unicorn companies," Ascott said.

With these three new additions, Ascott has eight lyf properties with over 1,600 units under development in Singapore, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

It will also open its first lyf property, lyf Funan Singapore, in the fourth quarter this year.

Said Ascott's CEO, Kevin Goh: "Demand for our lyf-branded co-living properties is gaining ground. We are bringing lyf to Fukuoka, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai as the buzzing start-up ecosystems in these cities have given rise to a popular culture of living and co-creating as a community among the millennials.

"Millennials already account for a quarter of Ascott's customer base, and with our lyf brand, we can seize opportunities presented by the booming millennial generation, set to become the largest spending travel demographic in the near future."

Besides Singapore, China and Japan, the group is looking to bring its lyf brand to other potential markets including Australia, France and Germany.

In its press statement on Tuesday, Ascott noted that the addition of the 14 new properties marks its first foray into Changchun, the second largest city in North-east China.

Also among the new properties is the 100-unit Ascott Riverpark Tower Frankfurt, to be designed by renowned architect Ole Scheeren. This is the first time Ascott is bringing its 'Ascott The Residence' brand to Germany. The serviced residence will take on a Jenga-like structure, and offer panoramic city and river views when it opens in 2022, the company said.

Another newly-secured property is the 118-unit Citadines Hongqiao Mixc Shanghai is secured under Ascott's strategic alliance with Nasdaq-listed Huazhu Hotels Group, one of China's leading hotel operators, and Huazhu's subsidiary CJIA Apartments Group.

"We have continued to build on our strong growth momentum in the first quarter this year, and accelerated Ascott's growth across Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Besides management contracts, Ascott's strategic alliances with market leaders... continue to provide us with a strong pipeline of properties," said Mr Goh.

He added that the group's serviced residences and apartments for corporate leasing will fast track Ascott's expansion to achieve its global target of 160,000 units by 2023.

As at 3.29pm on Tuesday, units in Ascott Reit were trading at $1.20, up 1.7 per cent, or two cents, while CapitaLand shares were trading unchanged at $3.69.

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