Quick real estate news summary for the week

880 million Yen to demolish an abandoned statue, Bauhaus residence to be torn down, and Tokyo has the 2nd highest commercial real estate volume in the world. Below is a quick weekly summary of some of the recent goings-on in the Japanese real estate market.

Abandoned Kannon statue to be demolished

Demolition of the 100-meter tall World Peace Giant Kannon on Awaji Island will start in June. The abandoned statue was built in 1982 by the founder of an Osaka-based real estate company and was the centerpiece of a privately-operated museum and entertainment park. The owner died in 2006 leaving no heirs. Awaji City made multiple attempts to sell the property but high property taxes and even higher maintenance or demolition costs scared away even the bravest of buyers. Ownership was transferred to the national government last year with the local finance bureau to cough up the 880 million Yen (approx. US$8.1 million) in demolition costs. Demolition will be completed by February 2023.

Tokyo to lose landmark Bauhaus residence

The historic Bauhaus-style Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Shinagawa is now being demolished, with the site to be flattened by mid-September. This museum was built in 1938 as the residence of Kunizo Hara. It was designed by Jin Watanabe – the same architect behind Ginza’s Wako building, and Hotel New Grand in Yokohama. The iconic modernist home-turned-museum had become increasingly costly to maintain. It closed its doors in 2020.

Tokyo has 2nd highest commercial real estate volume in world

According to JLL, the greater Tokyo area had the second-highest volume of real estate transactions in the world in the first quarter of 2021. Sales totaled approximately 83.3 billion Yen (approx. US$7.6 billion), down 19% from the first quarter of 2020. Last year’s transactions were boosted by a major office acquisition in Tokyo’s Otemachi district, pulling up the total. In top spot worldwide was Boston with US$8 billion in transactions. Dallas-Fort Worth was in 3rd spot with US$5 billion. Nationwide, Japan recorded a total sales volume of US$11.5 billion, down 26% from this time last year. Office buildings accounted for 52% of the nationwide transactions, as investors bet big on workers returning to the office post-covid.

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