Ascott has acquired new properties in Tokyo and Paris, as part of its partnership with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
The group has spent a total of US$104 million on an office building in Paris, which it will now convert into a Citadines-branded serviced residence, and an existing serviced apartment property in Tokyo which will be rebranded as a Somerset.
The conversion of the Paris property is expected to cost an extra US$33m and the 70-unit Citadines Suites Champs-Élysées Paris is scheduled to welcome its first guests in 2018. The Somerset Shinagawa Tokyo meanwhile, will also be revamped and is expected to open by the end of 2016.
Set up in July 2015, the US$600m serviced residence global fund is Ascott’s largest private equity fund and a 50-50 joint venture with QIA. The fund will invest in serviced residences and rental housing properties with an initial focus on Asia Pacific and Europe.
“Ascott serviced residence global fund’s maiden acquisitions are quality assets in key gateway cities where demand for serviced residences by expatriates and travellers remains strong,” said Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s CEO. “As we gear up to achieve Ascott’s expansion target of 80,000 units worldwide by 2020, the fund provides the financial boost to support our acquisitions and growth. With the first right to manage properties acquired by the fund, we will be able to increase Ascott’s fee-based income.”
The five-storey Citadines Suites Champs-Élysées is located in central Paris, close to the Arc de Triomphe. Following its conversion, the property will feature restaurant, lounge and fitness centre.
Somerset Shinagawa Tokyo is currently a 50-unit serviced residence operating in the residential district of Takanawa. It is a five-minute walk from Shinagawa Station, which will become the Tokyo terminal station for Japan’s new Maglev high-speed train, which is expected to start operating in 2027.
“Ascott will continue to build up scale by working with strong capital partners and we will seek investment opportunities in gateway cities. This year, we have added more than 6,000 serviced residence units to our portfolio with over 30 management contracts. Besides investments and management contracts, we will also seek more strategic alliances and franchises to expand Ascott’s presence globally,” Lee added.