Korean developer plans GBP80m waterfront project in Wales
Richard Warren in London
Korean developer CoDA plans to build an GBP80 million (HK$1.2 billion) flagship residential development in Wales, the first Korean property investment of this scale in Britain.
This follows the South Korean government's easing of restrictions on foreign property purchases overseas and may herald more investment from that country in Britain.
CoDA's Harbour Square waterfront project will be the landmark residential development in Swansea's SA1 regeneration scheme. It is the company's first development in Britain.
The Welsh Assembly's GBP400 million plan to redevelop 40.44 hectares of the southern Welsh city's waterfront and 11.33 hectares of docks into offices, shops, restaurants, bars, leisure facilities, flats and a marina, persuaded the Koreans to invest in SA1. It follows other urban waterside redevelopments such as London's Docklands.
'The fact that SA1 is being developed by the Welsh Assembly Government and that we will be engaging directly with the government, has created a huge amount of confidence among our investors and provided the assurance they needed,' CoDA chief executive Hoshik Chi said.
CoDA will apply for planning permission next month to build two blocks housing 406 flats, car parking and seven retail units on its 1.09-hectare site. Construction will take three years to complete.
The week before CoDA's announcement, the Welsh Assembly and the City and County of Swansea revealed a GBP1 billion blueprint for the redevelopment of the city centre. The plan envisages the creation of a public square, offices, homes and shops that will mesh with the SA1 waterfront redevelopment.
Miles Thomas, associate with Knight Frank which assisted CoDA with its acquisition, said SA1 had placed Swansea firmly on the international map. Aside from CoDA, four Korean equity funds and some Middle Eastern investors had shown interest in the scheme.
'The continued demand for residential accommodation in Wales is the driver for increased investment at home and from abroad,' Mr Thomas said.
'This, coupled with a relaxation in South Korea's laws regulating the purchase of property abroad, means that similar organisations may now look to Wales' strong property market as a route to invest.'
Harbour Square has been designed to reduce its environmental footprint.
Under-floor heating in the flats is fed by biomass boilers fuelled by locally procured wood pellets which have a zero emission. Lighting, power and ventilation systems are designed to reduce the amount of energy used.
According to Mouseprice.com, Swansea property prices have risen 10 per cent each year for the past five years. The average price of a home in Wales' second city is GBP113,708, almost half the British average.