SEOUL, July 18 (Korea Bizwire) — The site of the former headquarters building of Korea Electric Power Corp. in Seoul’s Gangnam will be up for sale and it remains to be seen who will take the land plot considered one of the best locations in Seoul. In addition, overseas real estate groups such as China’s Greenland Holding Group and America’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. are showing interest in taking part in the bidding.
Due to the hefty price tag of “at least 3 trillion won,” only a few potential domestic buyers have emerged including Hyundai Motor Group and Samsung Group. While Hyundai made official its intention on July 17, Samsung is still quiet about whether to participate.
The auto maker said on the same day it would build a global business center on the site commensurate with its status as the world’s fifth largest car maker. After failing to establish a 110-story business center in Ttukseom on the northern bank of the Han River due to onerous regulations, it is determined to realize its vision this time in the south of the river.
At the 79,000-square-meter site, the company will build a visitor attraction with a prime focus on automobiles, as well as an office building for some of its control tower functions. Currently the the headquarters building in Yangjae (in southern Gangnam) has reached a saturation point.
The number of Hyundai Group companies with offices in the Yangjae headquarters is only five with 5,000 employees although there are 30 companies with registration in Seoul under the group umbrella whose total number of employees is in excess of 18,000.
In building a new head office complex in the former KEPCO site, Hyundai Motor will benchmark the Autostadt of Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany. In addition to the global business center, it will feature a hotel, a convention center, an auto theme park, a department store, and a venue for Korean Wave entertainment.
In contrast, Samsung Group has not announced whether to take part in the bidding. As of now, there is little possibility for Samsung Group to participate in the bidding at the group level. Instead, individual affiliate companies such as Samsung Life or other financial service units are reviewing possibilities for investment purposes as the site is potentially one of the most lucrative real estate investment targets in Gangnam.
A Samsung Group official said, “We have no plan to acquire the site at the level of the group. There are possibilities for individual affiliates to participate in the bidding.” That means Samsung won’t bet big on the property by entering a high price. The offer price would be within the range it can expect to earn rental income in a stable manner.
by Sean Chung (firstname.lastname@example.org)