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HOUSTON-Houston-based Hines and Trust Company of the West have shelled out $95 million for the 600,000-sf Millennium Tower, a 24-story, class A office building in Beijing.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. of Korea and its affiliates are the sellers. Millennium Tower, completed in November 2000, is located in the new Embassy District near the Lufthansa Center just outside the third ring road at the Airport Expressway. Hines and TCW are purchasing Millennium Tower in partnership with CSCEC Construction Co. Ltd., a branch of China’s largest construction company. CITIC Industrial Bank, a major Chinese commercial bank, provided the mortgage financing.

“Five years ago we made a commitment to invest in and develop projects in China,” says Hines president, Jeffrey C. Hines, “and this acquisition is a further confirmation of our strategy.”

Minoru Yamasaki Associates Inc. designed the 40%-occuped office tower. Major tenants include Shell, Phillips Oil, CNOOC, Korean Air and Vivendi. Robert Walker, formerly head of Jones Lang LaSalle in Beijing, has joined Hines to oversee the leasing efforts for the remainder of the building.

In 1996, Hines and TCW formed the Emerging Markets Fund Real Estate Fund and followed two years later by a second fund set up for acquisition, renovation and development of office, residential and mixed-use properties in emerging-market countries. To date, the partnership manages $850 million of equity in projects in China, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Poland, Russia, Italy, France and Germany.

Hines and TCW also are in the midst of developing a 32-story, 174-unit luxury high-rise, Embassy House in Beijing’s second Embassy District. HOK of Hong Kong is the project architect. The high-rise will come to market by midyear 2002.

Jim Morrison, senior vice president of Hines and director of the firm’s Far East activities, says the Houston-based firm is “engaged in new real estate opportunities in China and potentially elsewhere in Asia,” in addition to Millennium Tower and Embassy House.

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