The Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD) is a master-planned city situated on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land just outside of Incheon, South Korea, approximately 30 miles south of the capital city of Seoul. When complete, this new city will contain approximately 40 million square feet of office space, 40 million square feet of residential space, 10 million square feet of hotels and retail space and another 5 million square feet of cultural space. The total cost of the development is estimated to be in excess of $35 billion. It is the largest privately-conceived and privately-financed development project in the world.
Gale International acted as the lead developer and managing general partner for this project due to the size, efficiency, and success of One Lincoln Street in Boston, in addition to their proven ability to attract large-scale funds. In 2005 as project funds were raised, Morgan Stanley entered the joint venture due to their prior success with the BGI Team.
John B. Hynes was the original founder and catalyst for the Songdo International Business District in 2001. The principles from BGI, such as Kevin Benedix, Len Conlin and Scott Summers also assisted with the on-site development between 2002 and 2013. Members from BGI negotiated the Land Supply Agreements with the Korean government, assembled the development and consultant teams, obtained zoning permits for 100 million square feet of space and secured $1.5 billion in capital for the land acquisition. In addition, the BGI team secured in excess of $12.5 billion in individual project financing between 2005 and 2011 and oversaw the construction of approximately 30 million square feet during that time-frame. Lastly, it should be noted that in 2010, Songdo IBD was recognized by the US Green Building Council as the world’s most sustainable masterplan.
In the Spring of 2011, after the zoning entitlements were secured for Seaport Square in Boston, John B. Hynes sold his interest in Songdo IBD LLC and directed the company’s focus towards the execution and implementation of the Seaport Square Master Plan.