A former expat rental apartment building in Shibuya’s Uehara neighborhood has been fully refurbished with the apartments now available for individual purchase. The condo-conversion is a growing trend in Tokyo where land is scarce and construction costs run high.
The former Élysée Apartment (now Proud Uehara Forest) was constructed by Takenaka Corporation in 1984 as high-end rental housing for foreigners. Nomura Real Estate Development acquired the property with the intent to demolish and build new apartments. However, they later changed course and decided to renovate the existing apartments, while also adding a more contemporary extension.
The renovation included replacing all plumbing and ducting throughout the building. Retaining walls were given additional reinforcing, while the existing exterior tiles were re-used. A third-party survey of the concrete structure came back with an estimated useful life of over 65-years, the same number that would apply to brand-new construction.
The original apartment layouts had an average size of over 330 sqm (3,550 sq.ft), with ceiling heights of 3.2 meters. Determined to be ‘too big’ for current demand, the larger units were split into smaller, easier-to-sell sizes. The subdividing up of the existing apartments, and the new wing, allowed the developer to increase the apartment count from 8 to 15.
Apartments are priced from 268.6 ~ 516 million Yen (approx. 2.5 ~ 4.75 million USD), with an average asking price of around 2,000,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 1,715 USD/sq.ft), no different to brand-new luxury construction in the neighborhood. Apartments range in size from 146 ~ 232 sqm, with all apartments having just one bathroom each. Completion is tentatively scheduled for February 2020.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), there were 6,540,000 condominium units across Japan as at 2018. Of those, a little of half were between 10 ~ 30 years old. The renovation market has significant future potential, with current renovations averaging just 10,000 units per year.
Source: Nomura Real Estate Development Press Release, May 28, 2019.