Samsung consortium says wins $ 31 bn Seoul project

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Seoul, Nov 2: Samsung Corp said on Friday its consortium had won a 28 trillion won ($30.88 billion) project to develop a business district in central Seoul, South Korea's biggest-ever property development project.

State-run Korea Railroad Corp said it was in negotiations with the 26-member consortium led by Samsung and the National Pension Service to finalise the sale of the land it owns in the Yongsan district by the Han River .

''An official deal is expected to be signed on Nov. 17,'' a Samsung Corp spokesman told Reuters, adding that the full value of the project was 28 trillion won.

Construction is expected to start in the first half of 2011, once the area owned by Korail is reclaimed from current tenants.

The project, dubbed the International Business Zone, is expected to be completed ''in late 2016,'' the Samsung Corp spokesman said.

The project is a rare big deal in Seoul's crowded urban landscape, whose rising property prices and tight supply has attracted global investors such as Morgan Stanley and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC) in recent years.

Bankers and government officials initially estimated the total development expense including land and construction costs at around $21 billion.

Developing the Yongsan area, the location of one of Seoul's two main train stations, is one of the Seoul city government's key promises.

Reuters>

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