TOKYO -- A group of leading Osaka-area companies, including Kansai Electric Power, will acquire a major Tokyo office building in Japan's second-biggest deal for a single structure since the 2008 global financial crisis.
The consortium will pay more than 150 billion yen ($1.41 billion) for the long, squat Shiba Park Building in the capital's Minato Ward, with an eye toward eventual redevelopment. The deal is second only to the roughly 170 billion-yen purchase of Tokyo's Pacific Century Place Marunouchi skyscraper by Singapore's sovereign wealth fund in 2014.
The 14-story Shiba Park Building is among the largest in central Tokyo, with about 6,000 sq. meters of space per floor and a width of about 140m. It has been dubbed the gunkan, or warship, for its distinctive profile.
The buyer group, expected to include private railway operators and general contractors, aims to complete the purchase by March's end from international investors including Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Land and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council. The buyers have teamed up to pool investment capital.
The participating companies all have in-group real estate arms, but their holdings are by and large in their home region. With Japan's population concentrating ever more in Tokyo, relatively strong prospects for rising prices there have drawn the out-of-towners into investing in the area. With interest rates remaining at historic lows, many companies are turning to real estate in search of better returns.
The Shiba Park Building has changed hands among overseas investors and equity firms multiple times since being built in 1982 by the now-defunct Shuwa Corp. Companies that have based operations in the warship include Daiei, which was one of Japan's biggest supermarket chains in its heyday before falling on hard times and selling to competitor Aeon.