Sustainable buildings: property firms ESR and Chinachem clinch Hong Kong’s first green loan, worth US$1.13 billion, for new logistics centre


In an action plan for logistics development to be published later this year, the government will formulate strategies to realise smart development, modernisation, sustainability and internationalisation in the sector, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said during his second policy address on October 25.
Groundbreaking ceremony to initiate the development of the new cold storage and logistics facility in Kwai Chung. Photo: Chinachem Group

The planned cold storage centre in Kwai Chung will aim to achieve green building certification such as BEAM Plus New Building Platinum and LEED Gold, with 30 per cent of the site area designated for greenery. BEAM stands for Building Environmental Assessment Method, and LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

To achieve the BEAM Plus platinum rating, a building must score at least 75 points out of 100, according to the Hong Kong Green Building Council, which operates the scheme.

Points are awarded for factors such as low carbon energy use, human health and well-being, green construction practices and smart design and technologies.

Other considerations include sustainable site development, use of green materials, waste reduction, saving water and recycling.

To achieve LEED Gold, 60 to 79 points must be earned through credits relating to climate change, human health, water resources, biodiversity, green economy, impact on the community and natural resources, according to the US Green Building Council which runs the system.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, United Overseas Bank and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation were the lead arrangers, bookrunners and underwriters of the loan.

Financial terms such as the interest rate or any penalty and reward mechanism for the completion and sustainability of the green building features were not disclosed.

The logistics project will advance the shared environment, and the social and governance priorities of both companies, while aligning with Chinachem’s commitment to “the balance of people, prosperity, and planet”, said the company’s CEO, Donald Choi.

In August 2022, Hong Kong-listed ESR, the largest logistics real estate manager with a focus on Asia-Pacific, and unlisted Chinachem Group announced that they had formed a joint venture to develop the facility in Kwai Chung. It was Chinachem’s first foray into the logistic sector.

They cited tight demand in the sector to support their business case. Logistics space vacancy stood at just 1.4 per cent in the second quarter of last year, with no new supply in the pipeline and a million square feet of cold storage space set to be converted to data centres by August 2026.

Expected to be completed in 2027, the new facility will have good road transport links to the city’s business districts, airport and border with mainland China, according to the developers.

ESR Group won the tender for the site, at the junction of Mei Ching Road and Container Port Road South, in July last year for HK$5.26 billion (US$670 million). The terms allows for a maximum gross floor area of 138,000 square metres to be developed.


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