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INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA-Gale International of New York City says it will break ground in January on three million sf of speculative office space as part of New Songdo City, the 1,500-acre, 125-million-sf development here that got under way late last year and will take 10 years and $25 billion to complete. The master developers are Gale International, a subsidiary of the Gale Co. of Florham Park, NJ, and a subsidiary of Korea-based POSCO, the second largest steel company in the world. At a cost of $975 million, the four office towers, represent the largest private commercial real estate investment in Asia, according to Gale International. The largest tower, the 1.25-million-sf, 65-story Asia Trade Tower, will be South Korea’s tallest building. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, the architect of New Songdo City’s master plan, Asia Trade Tower will stand 984 feet and consist of 22 floors of commercial office space, 14 floors of five-star hotel space and two floors of upscale flagship retail stores topped by serviced luxury residential units. It will cost $450 million to develop, according to Gale International. The second, third and fourth office towers will total 750,000 sf, 500,000 sf and 500,000 sf, respectively. The largest of the three will cost $225 million and the other two each will cost $150 million, according to Gale International. RFPs to design the structures are scheduled to go out next month.Asia Trade Tower has been designed and located with hope of appealing to both Korean and international corporations and businesses, according to Gale International. Among other things, it will include a top floor sky lounge featuring views of the Incheon coast and surrounding mountain peaks. Immediately adjacent to the Asia Trade Tower will be an additional 1.5 million sf of retail and entertainment, including a multi-cinema theater complex. New Songdo City, which was announced in 2002 and broke ground in 2004, has been designated a Free Economic Zone (FEZ), which provides significant tax incentives for corporations and residents. The project is the first-ever U.S.-South Korean real estate joint venture, and ranks as the largest international real estate investment in South Korea’s history. The $1.23-billion Convention Center Complex (Phase I) of this project has been approved by the city and is in the design development stage. The city is ultimately slated to include 50 million sf of office, 30 million sf of residential space, 10 million sf of retail, five million sf of hotel space, 30 million sf of garage space and 10 million sf of public space. Planned amenities include a world class hospital, a Central Park and a Jack Nicklaus golf course. In addition, two international K-12 preparatory schools are being developed by the Harvard Advisory Group. Gale International president/CEO John Hynes, who is in Korea, was not immediately available Wednesday morning for comment. In a prepared statement, he said the four speculative office towers would be a true barometer of the corporate interest in, and our commitment to, New Songdo City. “The towers, coupled with quality of life initiatives including international schools, a world class hospital, high end residential, museums and retail, will ensure that highly skilled domestic and international professionals are attracted to live and work in New Songdo.”

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