A fund managed by Stanford University recently took a 24.55 per cent stake in a 1.5 billion yuan luxury villa development in Shanghai in its first direct property investment in the city. The project comprises 131 detached houses in a development surrounding Dingshan Lake in Qingpu district, 50km from Shanghai's central business district. 'Total investment cost is between 1.2 billion and 1.5 billion yuan. Stanford will have a 24.55 per cent stake in the project,' said Cai Cheng, president of Eldo International Holding. Eldo owns 49 per cent of the project. The remaining stake was owned by a Sino-foreign investment fund, Mr Cai said. Stanford Management was unavailable for comment. The company was established in 1991 to manage Stanford University's financial and property assets, according to the company's website. Stanford Management oversees about US$12 billion of endowment and trust assets, expendable funds, and commercial property investments. 'As the project is being built along the lake, we also look after the ecological environment in the area,' Mr Cai said. 'The money we spent on environmental protection is 2.5 times the construction cost of the property development.' The first phase, covering a floor area of 30,000 square metres, will provide 38 houses. Construction work on the first phase will begin in October and was scheduled for completion in 2008. Presales were expected in the middle of next year with a selling price expected to be in the region of more than 20,000 yuan per square metre, Mr Cai said.