SMBC restores 89-yr old office building in Osaka

Sumitomo Building Osaka 3

On May 19, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) completed the restoration of the 89-year old building that houses their Osaka head office.

The Sumitomo Building was built in 1926 as the headquarters of Sumitomo Bank. The 6-storey building was constructed by Obayashi Corporation and had a total floor area of 36,000 sqm. It was designed by architects Yutaka Hidaka, Eikichi Hasebe and Kenzo Takekoshi of Sumitomo’s construction division. Construction took five years. During construction, the greater Tokyo area was struck by the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake. As a cautionary measure, the building’s proposed floor count was reduced by one storey. A spanish-style private courtyard was built on the top storey.Read more

Land prices continue to climb in latest LOOK Report

Land prices continue to climb in Japan’s major cities with 84% of survey sites recording an increase in land prices in the first quarter of 2015. 16% of the locations saw no change in land prices, and none of the locations saw a decrease in prices. Two retail locations saw prices rise by 3 ~ 6%: Ginza in Tokyo and an area near Nagoya Station.

Monetary easing and a bullish condominium market is behind the rise in prices in Tokyo, with 90.7% of locations seeing positive growth.Read more

Residential yields in Minato-ku - June 2015

Apartment yield Tokyo June 2015

According to real estate listing site Homes, the average gross yield on an apartment in Minato-ku in June was 4.7%, showing no change from the previous month and down 0.6 points from last year. The average gross yield across Tokyo was 6.7%, up 0.1 points from the previous month but down 0.5 points from last year.

The average asking price of a second-hand apartment in Minato-ku was 857,700 Yen/sqm as of June 1, down 1.4% from the previous month but up 8.2% from last year. The average asking price for land was 1,212,727 Yen/sqm, up 0.1% from the previous month and up 2.7% from last year.Read more

Foreigners buy 174 ha of forestry in 2014, down 10% from 2013

According to the Forestry Agency, there were 13 cases of foreign funds acquiring a total of 174 hectares of forestry across Japan in 2014. The buyers, which were private individuals and corporations, were primarily from the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong and Singapore, and the reasons for purchase were either asset holding or development.

Buyers from Hong Kong accounted for just 8% of the land acquired by foreigners, while buyers registered in the British Virgin Islands accounted for 78% of the land acquired.

Hokkaido is the main destination of foreign funds

Over 99% of the forestry was located in Hokkaido. Buyers from the British Virgin Islands acquired 135 hectares of forestry in Hokkaido’s Iburi sub-prefecture for the purpose of real estate development. The British Virgin Islands is a popular tax haven that may also be used by Japanese investors, so the actual nationality of these buyers is unknown.Read more

Historic hotel in Takarazuka to be demolished

Takarazuka Hotel 1

Hankyu Hanshin Holdings plan to demolish the historic Takarazuka Hotel in Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture, and will build a new hotel in a separate location nearby.

The 5-storey hotel opened in 1926. It was developed by Ichizo Kobayashi, the founder of Hankyu Railway, the Takarazuka Revue and Toho, and local industrialist Kaemon Hiratsuka. Hankyu acquired the hotel a few years after it opened.Read more

Ageing gas pipes pose potential hazard

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has estimated that there approximately 80,000 gas pipes across the country in commercial and residential buildings that pose a risk of gas leaks due to the age of the pipes. An additional survey in 2014 found that there were 8,290 ageing pipes in public buildings, including schools and community centres.

Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas and other gas companies are calling for old pipes to be upgraded to the newer ones which do not corrode as fast and are safer in earthquakes, but the high cost of replacement has been a significant obstacle.Read more

Mori to build Japan’s tallest residential tower in Toranomon

Atagoyama District Redevelopment I Distict 3

Mori Building have released details for a 56-storey residential tower on the southern side of Toranomon Hills. The Atagoyama District Redevelopmeent (I District) will be 220 meters tall, just 35 meters shorter than the mixed-use Toranomon Hills complex. When complete, it could become the tallest fully-residential building in Japan, exceeding The Kitahama in Osaka and The Parkhouse Nishishinjuku Tower by 11 meters. It may also become the second tallest building in Tokyo that includes a residential component (second only to Toranomon Hills).Read more