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[IMGCAP(1)]SONGDO, SOUTH KOREA-LIG Consortium will build two office buildings at the epicenter of Songdo International City’s emerging financial district. The landmark buildings, set on 2.3 acres, will be owned by LIG Consortium, which plans to multi-tenant part of the class A office space as a financial linchpin for the under-construction aerotropolis.

Penciled for a 2009 start and 2012 delivery, the towers will be situated in the F2 block, close to the country’s tallest office building, the Northeast Asia Trade Center, an advanced corporate center set to open in 2010. The size of the LIG towers, development cost and architect have yet to be determined.

Gale International and Posco E&C have formed a 70-30 joint venture, New Songdo International City Development LLC, to develop the city. The Songdo aerotropolis. is a 1,500-acre development being built in the Incheon Free Economic Zone near Incheon International Airport, one of the busiest in the world. The airport and Songdo international business district [IBD] will be linked by a 7.4-mile bridge that’s on track to deliver in 2009. Future infrastructure calls for a subway between the airport and the development and a new freeway at its northern gateway.

“The endorsement of Songdo IBD by one of Korea’s largest business conglomerates, LIG Consortium, indicates that top tier domestic as well as international companies are finding those attributes highly attractive,” Stanley C. Gale, chairman and managing partner of the New York City-based Gale International, says in a prepared statement for GlobeSt.com.

LIG is one of the largest conglomerates in the country, with its mix including insurance, defense and transportation. Songdo is centrally located in the Yellow Sea Economic Basin, with China and Japan easily within reach for day travel. “The South Korean Ministry of Trade and Finance expects the GDP of Northeast Asia, a region that includes northern China, eastern Russia, the Koreas, and Japan, to account for nearly a third of global GDP by 2020,” Gale continues.”Songdo IBD is perfectly positioned, geographically and philosophically, to take advantage of that shift. By philosophically I mean that Songdo is a city that has been implemented according to a master plan that includes sustainability and a world’s-best high-tech infrastructure as its two cornerstones.”

One Songdo LIG Tower will be 29 stories and the other, 21. LIG’s headquarters will be front and center in the project, with logistics giant M&M Corp. also putting its HQ into part of the office space. Gale started marketing the trophy office space globally in January, targeting Fortune 500 companies and leading South Korean multinationals as tenants.

[IMGCAP(2)]Songdo IBD will be the world’s first new city designed and planned as an international business district. It’s being touted as the “gateway to Northeast Asia.” China is leading the world in airport city development.

Songdo’s build-out is slated for 2015: 100 million sf [9.29 million m2] in mixed-use space, 65,000 residents and a 300,000 daytime population. The master plan calls for 45 million sf [4.18 million m2] of office space, 30 million sf [2.78 million m2] of residential space, 10 million sf [929,030 m2] of retail, five million sf [464,515 m2] of hotels, 10 million sf of public space. It will include the Convensia Convention Center, Korea’s largest column-free space, schools, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, museums, world-class hospital and 100-acre Central Park. Forty percent of the 1,500 acres will remain green space while its buildings are being designed with environmental sustainability to minimize the city’s carbon footprint. The Songdo IBD recently was named a green urbanism pilot project of the US Green Building Council.

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