KKR Makes First Office Acquisition in Singapore

By Mario Marroquin

AEW’s exit from the Singapore central business district is opening doors for American private equity. According to a news release from KKR, the firm and AEW completed the sale of the 206,163-square-foot office tower at 20 Anson Boulevard in the Tanjong Pagar district of the city-state this week.

The 20-story tower is adjacent to the AXA Tower at 8 Shenton Way and marks the first office acquisition for KKR in Singapore.

“We are optimistic about Singapore’s economic growth and the long-term prospects of its office real estate sector, buoyed by the country’s strong recovery from the pandemic,” Tom Lee, managing director of real estate at KKR, said in a prepared statement.

AEW and KKR, as reported by Mingtiandi, agreed to the sale of 20 Anson for $442 million at the end of March shortly after the former agreed to sell 55 Market Street to a unit of Kajima Corp. for approximately $210 million.

Jeremy Chee, a principal at KKR, said the private equity group was attracted to 20 Anson for its environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials, including the LEED Certified Gold and BCA Green Mark Platinum certifications.

KKR declined to comment further on the merits of the transaction.  

In recent years, KKR has also acquired Namsan Square and K Twin Towers in Seoul, South Korea, two hotel properties in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, and a mixed-use property near Shanghai Bund.

According to a March 2022 report from the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, nearly half of companies surveyed plan to either fully or partially relocate from Hong Kong due to geopolitical tensions and stringent COVID-19 measures, which is expected to benefit the Lion City. Singapore is expected to be a key beneficiary and was identified as the greatest competitive threat to Hong Kong by 80% of the respondents. 

Cushman & Wakefield reported at the end of Q1 that Grade A office rents climbed 2.1% on a quarter-over-quarter basis in Singapore’s central business district. The brokerage firm reported 1.7 million square feet of office space are planned and under construction in the Tanjong Pagar submarket by March 2022.

Notable transactions in the first quarter of 2022 include PAG’s purchase the 392,848-square-foot Cross Street Exchange from Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust for $603 million.