Greater Tokyo’s largest apartment development announced

Makuhari New Town Wakaba Residential District

Chiba Prefecture announced the three developers that have been chosen to work on a large-scale apartment project in Makuhari New City in Chiba. Mitsui Fudosan, Mitsubishi Jisho and Nomura Real Estate will begin work on a 180 billion Yen (1.5 billion USD) residential complex with approximately 4,300 apartments. When complete, it will be the largest apartment complex in the greater Tokyo area.

To appeal to young family buyers, prices will kept at affordable levels, with some suggesting they could be around the 40 million Yen (335,000 USD) range. The complex will house as many as 10,000 residents when complete.

The project is located on prefecture-owned land in the Wakaba Residential District, which is a 10 minute walk from the JR Kaihin Makuhari Station.

The 17-hectare site will be sold to the developers later this year for 28 billion Yen (235 million USD). Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016, and the entire project, which includes three 46-storey high-rise residential towers, retail and medical facilities, is expected to take 15 years to reach full completion.

The Wakaba residential district was established by Chiba Prefecture in the 1970s as a school and university centre. The prefecture had hoped Waseda University would establish a campus in the area, but lost out to Tokorozawa City in Saitama. In 2008, it was decided to change the focus towards residential development.

According to the latest chika-koji land prices announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) on January 1, 2015, land prices in Chiba’s Mihama district, which includes the Wakaba area, dropped by 2.1% from a year earlier. The Mihama district includes reclaimed land which suffered from liquefaction in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, and land values have continued to decline ever since.

Makuhari New City is built on reclaimed land that, until the 1970s, was shallow water and sandy beaches. The concept of the new city was to create a cosmopolitan centre for work, living, study and entertainment. During the bubble economy in the late 1980s, the business district attracted a large number of both domestic and international companies. BMW Japan and Canon Marketing Japan both had their headquarters in Makuhari but later moved to central Tokyo. Other major corporations such as Sony, Japan Airlines and Mitsui had planned to take up large tracts of land in the commercial zone, but these plans fell over after the collapse of the bubble. By the mid 1990s, the business district was said to resemble a ghost town.

Makuhari New City is 40 minutes by train from Tokyo Station and offers fairly a convenient commute to central Tokyo. There has also been continued development of retail, commercial and hotel facilities in the surrounding area. The centre of the New City is the Makuhari Messe convention centre.

According to the Real Estate Economic Institute, the new apartment market continues to improve in central Tokyo, while activity in outer areas remains weak. However, there is still demand from young families with children for residential properties that are near major train stations that offer access to central Tokyo.

Location

Source: The Nikkei Shimbun, March 31, 2015.

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