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Manulife buys $588-million office tower for Hong Kong base

Manulife (International) Ltd. is buying the West Tower at One Bay East in Kowloon East in Hong Kong for $588-million. The 21-storey building, which is currently being developed by Wheelock Properties, totals approximately 512,000 square feet.

Manulife Financial Corp.

A subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC) has purchased a 21-storey office tower to be built in Hong Kong for $588-million.

The insurer says the building will be named the Manulife Tower and become the headquarters for its Hong Kong operations. Manulife, which has offices throughout Asia, Canada and the United States, expects to move into the property in 2016.

The price paid is equivalent to about $8,790 a square foot – reportedly the second-highest paid in Hong Kong for a whole office building sale.

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The West Tower located at One Bay East is being developed by Wheelock Properties and will total 512,000 square feet once it's complete.

Wheelock began construction of the West and East Towers of One Bay East in February. The total development is expected to total more than one million square feet when it is finished.

"One Bay East is ideally located in the heart of Hong Kong's second Central Business District and is going to play a crucial role in enhancing Hong Kong's status as an international financial and business centre," Stewart Leung, chairman of WPL, said.

"We envisage that many multinational and local companies will be attracted to this area and we are glad that our vision is shared by such a renowned company as Manulife."

Robert Cook, president and CEO of Manulife Financial Asia Ltd., said: "Manulife has enjoyed more than 115 years of remarkable business success in Asia and Hong Kong. … This property acquisition demonstrates our continued commitment to Hong Kong and the important role that it plays in our Asia strategy."

Manulife Tower is the newest addition to Manulife's global real estate investment portfolio, which includes more than 36 million square feet in key markets across Canada, the United States and Asia. Currently, Manulife owns 16 other office properties in Asia, totaling approximately 900,000 square feet.

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