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Serviced apartments company The Ascott Group is investing AUS$136m ($170m) in its largest Citadines brand property ” and its first in Australia ” in Melbourne”s Central Business District.
The 398-unit ” named Citadines Melbourne on Bourke - will be at 131-135 Bourke Street, within walking distance of trains, trams and buses, and close to major office towers. It is expected to be completed in the second half of 2010, but the investment is subject to approval of the relevant government authorities.
”Australia is an important market for Ascott”s global expansion strategy and our investment in Melbourne is timely,” said Ascott president and CEO, Jennie Chua. ”According to [international accountancy firm] Deloitte”s survey, it is ranked number two among cities in the world with the highest occupancy rates.”
The new Citadines will increase Ascott”s portfolio in Australia from the current 435 units in six properties (two in Hobart, three in Melbourne and one in Sydney ” all Somerset brands) to 833 units.
”To further strengthen our foothold in the country, we will continue to seek out new opportunities in other key cities including Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth,” said Chua.
The Ascott Group has nearly 15,000 serviced residences in cities throughout Asia, Europe and the Gulf region, with another 6,000 in development.