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Manulife To Acquire Office Tower At One Bay East In Kowloon From Wheelock Properties

HONG KONG, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Wheelock Properties Limited (WPL) and Manulife (International) Limited have signed a sale-and-purchase agreement for the West Tower at One Bay East at 83 Hoi Bun Road, Kowloon East for HK$4.5 billion ( C$588 million), marking the largest single office tower purchase in Kowloon. The 21-storey building, which is currently being developed by Wheelock Properties, totals approximately 512,000 square feet.

Wheelock began construction of One Bay East, a 1,025,000-square-foot development which comprises the West Tower and a twin East Tower, in February 2012. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

One Bay East-West Tower will be named Manulife Tower and will serve as the headquarters for Manulife's Hong Kong operations.  Manulife plans to take occupancy in Manulife Tower in 2016.

Stewart C. K. Leung, Chairman of WPL, said: "One Bay East is ideally located in the heart of Hong Kong's second Central Business District (CBD2) and is going to play a crucial role in enhancing Hong Kong's status as an international financial and business centre. We envisage that many multi-national 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, which has decided to make a vast investment in this area and in our development. This is a win-win scenario for both the vendor and the purchaser."

Robert A. Cook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Financial Asia Limited, said: "Manulife has enjoyed more than 115 years of remarkable business success in Asia and Hong Kong. Hong Kong, where our regional hub is based, is a critical market for our growth plans. This property acquisition demonstrates our continued commitment to Hong Kong and the important role that it plays in our Asia strategy."

Michael Huddart, Manulife' s Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer for Hong Kong, remarked: "The decision to acquire a new office tower in Hong Kong is both a milestone for the company and a significant investment, demonstrating our commitment to expand our franchise here and to the future of Hong Kong. It is a strategic business decision for us to purchase an office building that will accommodate our business operations in Hong Kong, and help meet our long-term agency and staff expansion needs, as well as our future growth here."

Over the past few years, especially following the government's announcement to develop Kowloon East into the CBD2, more and more multinational companies are eyeing this district for their operations. Manulife was a pioneer moving its Hong Kong operations to Kwun Tong back in 2010.

Ricky K. Y. Wong, Managing Director, WPL, commented: "We are very pleased to conclude the sale-and-purchase agreement for the One Bay East-West Tower with Manulife. We intend to keep the One Bay East-East Tower for both enbloc and strata-title sale primarily on a whole-floor basis, to multi-national and local companies when the development is closer to its completion."

Wheelock Properties has an impressive "Kowloon East Waterfront Portfolio" which includes One Bay East (83 Hoi Bun Road), Wharf T & T Square (123 Hoi Bun Road) and the future residential redevelopment of Kowloon Godown (1-3 Kai Hing Road), spanning a 500-metre coastline along a quintessential waterfront in the vibrant and promising CBD2.

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