Gehry apartment in Hong Kong sets new Asia price peak

Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:27am EDT
 
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By Alex Frew McMillan

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong apartment designed by award-winning architect Frank Gehry has sold for HK$430 million ($55.4 million), a record price for a flat in Asia, developer Swire Properties said on Thursday.

With trademark Gehry curving surfaces and billed as sculptural super-luxury, the apartment fetched $8,000 a square foot - the second-highest price per square foot in the world.

The standstone-and-glass 12-unit Opus block, set high above downtown Hong Kong, has panoramic views of Victoria Harbour, a skyline that rivals Manhattan's for sheer spectacle, and wrap-around teak-lined balconies designed to look like a ship's deck.

A property agent familiar with the deal said the purchaser is an elderly Hong Kong woman whose family is the sole dealer for a brand of lighting fixtures, with a factory in China. They intend to let the apartment as an investment, the source said.

Opus is the first residential project in Asia for Gehry, known for the crumpled, curving Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

The 6,755-square-foot Opus apartment occupies the whole of the eighth floor, which is considered the most prestigious by many Hong Kongers since the Cantonese word for "eight" rhymes with "wealth". Swire declined to comment on the buyer.

Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man, set the record for an apartment purchase when he paid 136 million pounds ($215 million) for the penthouse at One Hyde Park in the luxury London neighborhood of Knightsbridge, plus 60 million pounds to decorate. That amounts to $9,000 per square foot.

($1 = 7.7558 Hong Kong dollars)

($1 = 0.6318 British pounds)

(Editing by Louise Ireland)