Manulife Buys $580M Office Tower in Hong Kong’s CBD2

Manulife (International) Ltd. has signed a sale-and-purchase agreement with Wheelock Properties Ltd. for the West Tower at the One Bay East development in Kowloon East, Hong Kong.

Manulife (International) Limited has signed a sale-and-purchase agreement with Wheelock Properties Limited for the West Tower at the One Bay East development in Kowloon East, Hong Kong. The HK$ 4.5 billion ($580 million) deal marks the largest single office tower purchase in Kowloon. The Hong Kong office of CBRE Group Inc. acted as advisor in the transaction.

Michael Huddart, Manulife’ s executive vice president and chief executive officer for Hong Kong, said: “The decision to acquire a new office tower in Hong Kong is both a milestone for the company and a significant investment, demonstrating our commitment to expand our franchise here and to the future of Hong Kong. It is a strategic business decision for us to purchase an office building that will accommodate our business operations in Hong Kong, and help meet our long-term agency and staff expansion needs, as well as our future growth here.”

The 21-story building is part of a 1,025,000-square-foot development which incorporates the West Tower and a twin East Tower. Developed by Wheelock Properties, construction on the One Bay East project started in February 2012 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.

The 512,000-square-foot West Tower of the One Bay East development will be named Manulife Tower and will serve as the headquarters for Manulife’s Hong Kong operations. Manulife is expected to move into the Manulife Tower in 2016.

An increasing number of multinational companies have set their sights on Kowloon East for their operations, especially since the government announced plans to transform it into Hong Kong’s CBD2. Kowloon East comprises the former Kai Tak Airport, Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay Business Areas. Manulife was amongst the first major companies to move its Hong Kong operations to Kwun Tong back in 2010.

“One Bay East is ideally located in the heart of Hong Kong’s second Central Business District (CBD2) and is going to play a crucial role in enhancing Hong Kong’s status as an international financial and business center. We envisage that many multi-national and local companies will be attracted to this area and we are glad that our vision is shared by such a renowned company as Manulife, which has decided to make a vast investment in this area and in our development. This is a win-win scenario for both the vendor and the purchaser,” said Chairman of WPL, Stewart C. K. Leung.

Wheelock Properties’ Kowloon East Waterfront Portfolio, apart from One Bay East, also includes Wharf T & T Square and the future residential redevelopment of Kowloon Godown. The portfolio spans across approximately 1,640 feet of coastline along the sought-after waterfront in the CBD2.