In early March 2012, a broker received the call from the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) who was interested in acquiring a building with high specifications in central business district for their self-use. This broker subsequently enlisted the assistance of her colleagues in the Colliers Investment Services department who went on to meet with the client to understand their requirements.
Things happened in a flurry after the first meeting with ABC as the Colliers team was informed by ABC that one of the senior officers has given the approval to purchase a high specification building in central Hong Kong for their occupation space usage. The timeframe to purchase – immediate.
Sensing the magnitude of this appointment, the Colliers team quickly assembled a small team of their best in-house experts to keep the appointment highly confidential. And in the same day of the appointment, the Colliers team, with the speed of light, shortlisted a high potential property and had the purchaser conduct the inspection.
With a strategic location and impressive architecture by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern, No: 50 Connaught Road, Central is a 28-storey Grade A office building with a total gross floor area of 175,481 sq ft. Through industry connections, the team quickly hooked up with the property’s joint owners – Apollo Global Real Estate Management & National Electronics - to present to them the prospective buyer. Although the owners were interested to sell, given the then market conditions where supply was limited and demand was high, Colliers was faced with another challenge of establishing a mid-ground or fair price point for both parties.
With price at the centre of this critical appointment, the team of Colliers experts, working like a well-oiled machine, brought in the assistance of other experts within Colliers to produce in-depth property research, market benchmark reports and financial analysis in which to derive a fair price point for both parties. The challenge here lies in the fact that Colliers was appointed to represent both the landlord and purchaser and was in a position to ensure a satisfactory outcome for both sides without many market comparisons to fall back on given that a sale of this magnitude has been uncommon in Hong Kong lately.
Coupled with decades of market experience and industry knowledge, the team eventually presented a figure to both parties. Following this, came the intricate task of managing the expectations and satisfaction of both parties. Throughout the entire appointment duration, Colliers provided the full scope of agency services as well as value-added assistance to both parties for this transaction, such as tailor-made occupational analysis and frequent update of transaction comparables to equip both parties with sufficient market information to facilitate their decision.
After a few more rounds of meetings and one occasion when the deal almost fell through, the Colliers team, through their quick-witted strategy, team collaboration and fast turnaround, concluded the sale at a price of HK$4.88 billion (US$632M), which is equivalent to a unit price of HK$27,809 per sq ft. This transaction marks a new record for Hong Kong due to the high profile nature of the purchaser concluded within a mere 8-week duration by a 3-man band. Further as the property comprises a high efficiency of about 83%, the average price, based on net floor area, is HK$33,505 per sq ft. This represents a price level below that of the priciest unit rate, HK$38,200 per sq ft (net), for 20th floor of the nearby 9 Queen’s Road Central that came with an efficiency of about 73%. Taking into account the building’s naming right and roof-top signage value, the purchase of the property is inevitably a value-for-money transaction.