Citi Agrees to Record HK Office Buy

19-Jun-2014 Intellasia | The Wall Street Journal | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The US lender has bought a new $700 million tower block in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district, described by realtors as the largest single office transaction ever undertaken in the former British territory.

The new purchase will offer Citi staff a panoramic vista of Hong Kong’s Victoria harbor with views of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and the planned Kai Tak Metro Park.

The new building will house most of Citi’s five thousand staff in Hong Kong who are currently dotted around the city in locations varying from a plum address in the heart of the financial district to satellite offices elsewhere.

Citi’s big bet on Hong Kong comes as rival regional financial hubs grow in prominence, led by Shanghai, where China’s government is pushing a new free trade zone to grow the city as a banking centre. Singapore too continues to battle Hong Kong for new business. Prominent business leaders in Hong Kong, including the likes of Charles Li, chief executive of the city’s bourse, have urged the city to lift its game if it is to stay ahead of the pack and continue to lure global business.

For Citi, Hong Kong is one of the bank’s biggest markets in Asia and generates over one billion dollars in revenues annually. The bank paid HK$5.425 billion in a sale and purchase agreement with Wheelock Properties Limited for the East Tower at One Bay East in Kowloon East. The 21 story tower is currently under development, with completion slated by the end of 2015.

“Our decision to purchase the East Tower of One Bay East underlines our belief and confidence in Hong Kong’s continued growth as a leading global financial centre and hub for some of our core regional businesses,” Stephen Bird, chief executive officer for Citi in Asia Pacific said in a statement.

The new development is described as a twin tower grade-A waterfront office block, with a total gross floor area of around 1,025,000 square feet.

CBRE Group Inc. acted as advisor on the office sale.


Category: Hong Kong

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