Fire broke out early Sunday morning in a studio apartment on the 8th floor of the Shuwa Akasaka Residential Hotel near Tokyo Midtown. The fire spread to the apartment upstairs, damaging a total area of 40 sqm. 40 firetrucks attended to the scene and it took four hours to extinguish the flames.
The occupant of the 15 sqm studio, an 80-year old lady, was taken to hospital. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.
The 10-storey buildings was originally a hotel built in 1971. It was later converted into condominium apartments, although not all contain kitchens. Many of the 670 rooms are studios and a large number of the residents are elderly who are living alone. Other rooms are used as small offices. According to the fire department there were approximately 170 residents in the building.
Apartments can be purchased from between 76 and 98 million Yen (approximately 520,000 Yen/sqm) and can be rented from 65,000 to 75,000 Yen/month, providing gross yields of around 10%. After deducting building management fees, the net return drops to around 7.5% (not including other expenses such as property taxes, rental management fees etc).
A typical interior:
TV Asahi, March 17, 2013.
NHK, March 17, 2013.