Two New Office Towers to Rise in South Korea’s $30B Songdo District

Two new office towers are set to rise in the $30 billion Songdo International Business District near Incheon, South Korea. The buildings, provisionally known as the Songdo LIG Towers, will cost between $300 million and $500 million to build and will break ground next year for a 2012 completion. The towers comprise the F2 block of the commercial and business district of Songdo IBD (pictured) and will rise 30 and 22 stories, with retail on the bottom floors. The buildings are a joint development between LIG Consortium, which includes a leading Korean insurer as well as engineering, construction and management companies, and New Songdo International City Development L.L.C., comprised of Gale International and POSCO E&C. Tenants will include LIG Consortium’s companies, as well as M&M Corp., a leading Korean logistics company. The buildings will not only house these firms, but also foreign companies that have a strategic alliance with LIG Consortium, which has drawn up detailed measures to attract such foreign direct investment. The announcement marks a major accomplishment in Gale International’s efforts to introduce Songdo IBD to the rest of the world; the company launched its global marketing campaign in January to target Fortune 500 companies and leading South Korean multi-nationals that would establish their headquarters, regional branch, business center or other significant facilities in Songdo IBD. “These companies will acquire parcels to build their own facilities and create multi-national campuses,” Gale International chairman & CEO Stanley Gale told CPN, noting that 15 other campus “pods” are available. Companies that have already shown near-term interest in such development include: Korea’s Shinhan Bank; Korean metal supplier Poongsan Corp.; Korean Air; Korean shipper Hanjin Shipping; and multi-national companies United Technologies and Microsoft Corp, among others. Songdo IBD’s corporate tenants will begin to move into the area around 2010. Earlier this year, Gale International signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft to act as a strategic partner for the project, and announced approximately $3 billion in new construction starts this year. The majority of the development over the next two years will be commercial space; the 100-million-square-foot master-planned city will officially open in August 2009. Upon Songdo IBD’s full completion in 2015, it is estimated that the city will be home to 65,000 residents, 300,000 workers, 45 million square feet of office space, 30 million square feet of residential space, 10 million square feet of retail space, 5 million square feet of hotel space and 10 million square feet of public space. It will also include a world-class hospital, an international preparatory school, museums, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea and the 100-acre Central Park. The project was recently named a “green urbanism” pilot project by the U.S. Green Building Council for its long-term environmental sustainability efforts.