Sachin Doshi, former managing director and head of Asia Pacific private real estate at APG Asset Management, has set up a new Hong Kong-headquartered real estate management platform named Emerald Lake.
Speaking exclusively to PERE, Doshi said that the platform will incubate standalone businesses across different real estate sectors. The venture currently employs six people, with plans of increasing it to ten in the next six to nine months.
Weave Co-Living is the first of these, which has been set up as a developer, owner and operator of co-living spaces targeting young professionals and post-graduate students in specific cities across the region. So far, Weave has raised $60 million in initial fundraising from venture capital firms and Asian family offices.
PERE understands that Doshi is also in talks with two institutional investors and a global private equity firm. He declined to disclose the names of these institutions.
Weave has made its first investment in a Hong Kong property, which has 160 units and 6,000 square feet of common areas and retail amenity. The value-add investment is targeting returns of between 14 percent and 16 percent.
By launching Weave, Doshi is betting on a niche asset class that is fast gaining traction in Asian markets such as China, Hong Kong, and India. Campus Hong Kong for example runs a co-living facility in the island-city while India has six startups pursuing community living development. Ascott, the Singaporean developer-cum-manager CapitaLand’s serviced residences arm, is also understood to have partnered with a Singapore university to field test this sector.
As well as demographic factors and rising accommodation costs for traditional residential apartments, co-living is also being driven by the co-working phenomenon, according to Myles Huang, director of research in Asia Pacific Capital Markets for JLL. He says some operators, including real estate startups, are looking at developing centers that combine both work and lifestyle elements.
Explaining the differentiation that his platform would be able to bring to the sector, Doshi said: “We will have a fully technology-enabled platform. We have just hired a lead community manager and we intend to curate an offering that does not currently exist in the market. Also, a lot of the existing players are non-institutional and operate in what can be considered a regulatory gray area. We will follow regulations to a tee.”
For instance, some firms may be operating a co-living space from an industrial building that does not have all the fire and safety regulations in place, or be using a commercial building without procuring the right license.
PERE reported on Doshi resigning from his leadership role at the Dutch pension fund asset manager in June. He headed APG Asset Management’s non-listed real estate portfolio in the region for four years.