Real estate: local firms in South Korea

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

The real estate group at Bae, Kim & Lee LLC has a strong reputation for inbound and outbound real estate investment transactions. The firm's enviable client roster includes Korean real estate developers and regularly advises on commercial, residential and multi-use building city development projects. Gun Chul Do leads the practice from Seoul. The department recently handled a number of high-value real estate transactions in Korea and abroad. Other key contacts include REITs and investment expert Hyeon Kang, David Ahn, Chiyoung Song and Eun Jin Jeon.

Practice head(s):

Gun Chul Do

Testimonials

‘Hyeon Kang, who has expertise in real estate and finance, has been a great advisor.’

‘The team provides an excellent service, demonstrates professionalism and close personal attention to all details. The team is made up of professionals who are known to be the best in the field, recording the lowest turnover. Their practical knowledge in the field along with the highest level of soft skills displayed in times of many negotiations unrivaled to other firms.’

‘Hyeon Kang and the team show a great ability to proactively manage and respond to dynamic business situation.’

‘The team has broad experience looking at things from different angles.’

‘Hyeon Kang and Seungeun Chi always try to study and compare both sides of the issue and give the highest qulality insights.’

‘Their ability to work as team players, analyse problems and make sound decisions and communicate effectively, together with their penchant for detail were all key to our success.’

‘Hyeon Kang has deep knowledge and a variety of experiences not only in real estate but also in related areas. He is especially great when it comes to understanding his clients’ needs.’

Key clients

Shinhan financial Group Co., Ltd

Shinhan Reits Management Co., Ltd.

Lotte Corporation

Lotte Asset Development Co., Ltd.

SK D&D Co., Ltd.

D&D Investment Co., Ltd.

Daehan Real Estate Investment Trust Inc.

Gaoli Group

Expedia Inc.

Amazon.com, Inc.

Work highlights

  • BKL advised Shinhan Group in its acquisition, through Shinhan Consortium, of a mixed-use prime commercial building being developed within Block 6-4 of the business district of Pangyo New City.
  • BKL advised NH Investment & Securities, and Koramco REITS Management on the acquisition of Samsung C&T’s headquarters building in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
  • BKL has provided comprehensive legal advice to Korean Hyundai Asset Management Co., Ltd. on its acquisition of the former corporate headquarter of Lufthansa in Cologne-Deutz by way of a share deal. The seller is a real estate fund managed by M&G Real Estate.
  • BKL acted as Korean counsel for Hana Alternative Asset Management Co., Ltd. on a project for the acquisition of an office building located in London, U.K., known as the Sanctuary Building.
  • BKL advised KB Real Estate Trust on its purchase of Gangnam N Tower located in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, South Korea, from real estate trust management and investment company under the Real Estate Investment Company Act.

Kim & Chang

Kim & Chang’s real estate practice has recently been advising its clients on novel REIT issues and overseas acquisitions – both through REF and REIT structures. The group is led by Yon-Kyun Oh in Seoul with the support of Keun Ah Cho who has substantial experience in tax-efficient real property investment structures such as REITs, business transfers, project financings, share acquisitions, and acquisitions under insolvency proceedings. Also notable are Sang Min Lee and David Pyun.

Practice head(s):

Yon-Kyun Oh

Other key lawyers:

Keun Ah Cho; David Pyun; Sang Min Lee

Testimonials

‘The team consists of a number of reputable lawyers qualified both in Korea and abroad. They are good at providing creative legal solutions for challenging transactions or circumstances. The team always provides clear and reliable advice which is hard to find in other firms.’

‘Yeom Seung-Hoon represents the team’s superior capabilities. He is very good at understanding clients’ concerns and identifying potential legal risks within a transaction.’

Key clients

DWS Asset Management (Korea) Co. Ltd.

Mirae Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd.

M&G Real Estate

The Blackstone Group

Brookfield Asset Management

Goldman Sachs

KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.)

Samsung SRA Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Invesco

WeWork Companies Inc.

Work highlights

  • Kim & Chang advised M&G Real Estate on its acquisition of the Centropolis building located in Seoul, Korea.
  • Kim & Chang assisted Vestas Investment Management Co., Ltd. with its acquisition of logistics real estate properties in Europe through Korean REITs.
  • Kim & Chang advised Korea Land & Housing Corporation on the government-sponsored Housing Land Site Leasing REIT project.
  • Kim & Chang handled the acquisition of an office building in London, U.K. on behalf of Mirae Asset Global Investments.
  • Kim & Chang advised Samsung SRA on its purchase of City Center building located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA for approximately $32m.

Lee & Ko

Besides regularly handling high-value commercial property transactions, Lee & Ko has also developed a strong reputation for contentious real estate work including disputes arising from the construction sector; Chang Ik Chang is the name to note on this front. Reconstruction and redevelopment mandates and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) related work are some other core areas of operation. Jin Wook Yang is recommended for his real estate development expertise. Yang is joined by Junghwan Lee and Dong Seok Woo, whose practices encompass both domestic and overseas projects, in leading the offering. Also notable is Jee In Kim, who specialises in matters involving overseas real estate investment by Korean institutional investors.

Practice head(s):

Junghwan Lee; Jin Wook Yang; Dong Seok Woo

Other key lawyers:

Chan Ik Chang; Jee In Kim

Key clients

Hana Alternative Asset Management

Shinhan Alpha Yongsan Reits

Hyundai Engineering CO., LTD

Ryukyung PSG Asset Management Company

Samsung E&C Corporation

Pine Street Asset Management

IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Samsung SRA Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

United Partners Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Investments Co., Ltd.

NomuraRifa Asset Management

Vestas Investment Management

LB Asset Management Inc.

KTB Asset management Co.

Korea Asset Investment Management

Work highlights

  • Represented Shinhan Alpha Yongsan Reits in the KRW 140.3bn acquisition of Prime Tower in Seoul.
  • Represented Hyundai Engineering in the KRW 989.4bn Dongbuk Urban Railway Private Participation Project.
  • Represented Ryukyung PSG Asset Management Company in the KRW 600bn acquisition of Samsung SDS Tower in Seoul.
  • Represented Samsung E&C Corporation in the KRW 750bn sale of Samsung Seocho Office in Seoul.
  • Represented Pine Street Asset Management in the KRW 150bn acquisition of Novotel Busan.

Shin & Kim

At Shin & Kim, Robert Young and Kyung Don Lee jointly head up a team of over 50 practitioners dedicated to real estate work covering the areas of real asset M&A (including value-add acquisitions) and outbound real estate investments and divestment. The group also assists clients through the entire cycle of real estate development, from the acquisition of land through to zoning and building permits and the eventual completion of a building. Furthermore, a track record of handling transactions involving landmark Korean buildings is evident. Senior foreign attorney Eunjoo Lee boasts extensive experience of representing Korean funds in outbound investments into the USA, Asia and Europe.

Practice head(s):

Kyung Don Lee; Robert Young

Other key lawyers:

Eunjoo Lee

Key clients

AIG Global Real Estate

Kendall Square Logistics Properties

Blackstone

Invesco Real Estate Korea

AEW ASIA LIMITED

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)

Korea Investment Management Co., Ltd.

Hana Asset Management Co., Ltd.

LaSalle Investment Management Asia Pte Ltd.

Angelo Gordon Asia Limited

IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Pebblestone Asset Management

PAG (Asia)

SSG Capital Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised IGIS Asset Management as the asset management company of Korean real estate fund with respect to the purchase of (previous) Renaissance Hotel land development project.
  • Advised City Core as asset manager of Apple Tree PFV, with respect to the sale of Centropolis building located at Gongpyeong-dong in the Central Business District of Seoul.
  • Advised KR1 CR REIT with respect to its sale of Seoul Square building, which is one of the landmark buildings in Seoul.
  • Advised Inmark Asset Management Co., Ltd. as asset manager in connection with the acquisition of the office building located near Central Railroad Station in the central part of Vienna.
  • Represented Mirae Asset in its acquisition of State Tower Namsan which is the premium office and retail building located in Seoul through master-feeder structure.

Yulchon

The real estate practice at Yulchon covers the full gamut of domestic and cross-border transactions, fund formations and financing deals, and provides comprehensive tax and project finance advice through its cross-practice approach. Some of the key names to note include Bong Hee Han who primarily practices in the areas of real estate, M&A, finance and overseas investment, Tae Jin Cha and Jin Seok Choi who sits in the corporate and finance group. Ju Bong Park spearheads the construction and real estate practice with the support of firm co-managing partner Hee Woong YoonGeen Kim recently joined from Lee & Ko and specialises in financial investment products, collective investment schemes, real estate investments and cross-border investments.

Practice head(s):

Ju Bong Park

Key clients

ARA Korea

ADF Asset Management

CBRE Global Investors (Korea) Limited

Mirae Asset Global Investments Co., Ltd.

Pacific Investment Management

Vestas Investment Management

IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Hangang Asset Management Co., Ltd.

GreenOak

DWS Asset Management (Korea) Co. Ltd. (changed name from Deutsche Asset Management (Korea) Co., Ltd.)

Morgan Stanley

NH Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Korea Investment Management Co., Ltd.

Korea Post

Korean Teachers’ Credit Union

Posco E&C

MBC

Lotte Corporation

Work highlights

  • Yulchon successfully advised ARA Korea Asset Management on the acquisition of the Seoul Square Building by a fund established and operated by ARA.
  • Yulchon advised ADF Asset Management on its investment in the Hwaseong-Dongtan Logistics Complex development project which will be implemented in Hwaseong city in Gyeonggi-do Province.
  • Yulchon advised CBRE Global Investment and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) in a transaction by which the State Tower Namsan located at Jung-gu, Seoul and owned by a fund operated by CBRE Global Investments (ADIA was an investor of the fund) was sold to a fund operated by Mirae Asset Global Investments.
  • Yulchon advised a private fund established by Pacific Asset Management Company on an investment transaction in Hitachi Solutions Tower B.
  • Yulchon advised a private fund established by Vestas Asset Management on a transaction by which the fund invested in Hotel G through a U.S. REIT and taxable REIT subsidiary and acquired 49% membership interests in each of 386 Geary Real Estate, LLC (which holds title to Hotel G) and 386 Geary Operator (the operating company of Hotel G).

Yoon & Yang LLC

Yoon & Yang LLC's real estate team routinely handles a range of transactions including property acquisitions, project financing, REITs, and transfers of property in the context of M&A deals. On the contentious front, the group covers disputes arising out of both domestic construction and overseas construction, large project developments, housing developments and social overhead capital projects. The firm recently bolstered its capabilities on the litigation side by repositioning seven of its corporate litigation partners to the construction and real estate group. Don Eok Choi heads the team and regularly acts for construction conglomerates in Korea. Also notable are Youngwoo Park and Soo Hyeon Park.

Practice head(s):

Don Eok Choi; Seung Ryong Yoo; Keon Joo Cho

Other key lawyers:

Youngwoo Park; Soo Hyeon Park

Key clients

Hyundai Engineering & Construction

GS Engineering & Construction

POSCO Engineering & Construction

Hyundai Development Corporation

Hanwha E&C

Shinsegae Engineering & Construction

POSCO ICT Company

Shinyoung D&D

Daesung Industrial

Daehan Real Estate Investment Trust

Work highlights

  • Yoon & Yang advised KORAMCO, one of the major real estate asset management companies in Korea, on the establishment of a parent-subsidiary REIT.
  • Yoon & Yang is currently providing Aewol International Culture Complex Co., Ltd. with legal advice on various issues including land acquisition, other permits, and licenses related issues arising from its announced plan to develop an international culture-leisure complex.
  • Yoon & Yang is providing Jeonnam Development Corporation with comprehensive legal advice on the proper execution of the relevant contracts at issue in the context of a housing lot development project in Namak New City.
  • Yoon & Yang advised Kocrep Yangjae REITs established by Koramco REITs Management and Trust in connection with its sale of Gangnam P Tower to Hangang Asset Management.
  • Yoon & Yang provided comprehensive legal advice to IGIS Asset Management on its acquisition of a landmark shopping mall, known as Dongtan Center Point Mall. The firm advised on everything from the structuring of the transaction, to the establishment of the investment funds in the form of a parent-subsidiary fund under the Capital Markets Act of Korea, as well as drafting a purchase agreement and related legal documents.

Jipyong

Jipyong’s real estate and construction group contains real estate, corporate, finance, construction, tax, and antitrust experts qualified across a multitude of jurisdictions. Acting both for construction companies and major financial institutions, the team is led by Won Jeong in Seoul. Yully Kang is one of the main names to note for structured finance, project finance, asset finance and asset-backed securitisation issues along with Seung Hyeon Lee, Dongkyoon Koo and Hera Kim.

Practice head(s):

Won Jeong

Other key lawyers:

Yully Kang; Seung Hyeon Lee; Donkyoon Koo; Hera Kim

Key clients

NongHyup REITs Management Co., Ltd.

Lending financial institutions including Kyobo Life Insurance Inc.

Lenders and the agent including Hanwha Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

Woori Bank Co., Ltd.

IGIS Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd.

Mastern Investment Management Co., Ltd.

Hanwha Investment & Securities Co., Ltd.

SK Innovation

Khan Bio Co., Ltd.

AIP Asset Management

Meritz Securities Co. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Jipyong advised NH REITs on the establishment of an investment trust, financing for the purchase of Cheongnam Building in Bangbae-dong, and the subsequent purchase of the Building through said investment trust.
  • Jipyong advised the lending financial institutions on a mortgage loan involving a REIT established by KORAMCO for the purchase of Samsung C&T office building in Seocho-dong.
  • Jipyong advised the lenders and the agent in the loan transaction involving KRW1,32bn to finance construction of a new hotel on the former Renaissance Hotel site.
  • Jipyong advised the lenders on a mortgage loan for the fund established by LB Asset Management for the purchase of Centropolis building in Gongpyeong-dong for a record-setting KRW1.12tn.
  • Jipyong advised Woori Bank on the purchase of an office building for its subsidiary in Jakarta, Indonesia through a real estate fund established by IGIS Asset Management.