Addressing Social Issues
Resolving the issue of children on
waiting lists through real estate
Rather than short-term profits, we want to create something meaningful for the world. Such broadly meaningful contributions will ultimately benefit our customers. One of the projects that symbolizes our social values is the conversion of an already existing real estate asset into a nursery school.
If speed is the priority, the best way to renovate a used property is to attract an office or store as a tenant. However, we believe that this may not necessarily be the best answer when considering from multiple perspectives the various factors surrounding a given property, such as location, the surrounding environment, and social context.
The problem of children on daycare and educational waiting lists in urban centers is a major contemporary social issue. We thought that, were we to find a suitable property, it would be more beneficial to local communities and to our customers in terms of asset formation to convert it into a daycare center that could contribute to meaningfully address pressing social issues, rather than simply seeking standard tenants, who can be found anywhere, and risking the building’s eventual obsolescence.
Our first opportunity arose with a property in Toyosu, Koto Ward in Tokyo. We demolished the property’s deteriorating playground and converted the space into a newly built licensed kindergarten, “Nissei Toyosu Ekimae Nursery School Hibiki.”
Utilizing this success as a stepping stone, we moved on to a large office building of about 1,400 tsubo (approximately 4,600 square meters) on a parcel of land in Takadai, Chiyoda Ward, near Iidabashi Station in Tokyo. We changed how the property was used, converting it into a licensed nursery school and a certified kindergarten with support from the government. In addition to creating opportunities for children to enter preschool, we developed this investment property into a rare asset that generates stable income that is completely different from that of office rent.
The area around this site is popular as an educational district among families raising children due to its concentration of famous schools, with our long-awaited early childhood education and childcare facility a welcome addition for the residents of the surrounding apartments. Global Kids Iidabashi Preschool and Global Kids Iidabashi Kindergarten are filled with the smiling faces of children and their parents, with representatives from local governments all over Japan visiting frequently to learn from our success.
Our third project in this series is located in Meguro Ward, Tokyo. We converted a 12-year-old former art museum into a licensed nursery school, the “Associe Meguro Otori Nursery,” which accepts children aged 0-5 from as early as 7 a.m. We followed this success up by converting a medical school training facility in Ikejiri-Ohashi, which began operations in April 2019 under the name “Associe Ohashi Nursery School.” With childcare available from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. (extended daycare), this nursery has become a reassuring ally for parents working in the heart of the city.
In addition, we realized a project in the vicinity of Musashi-Kosugi Station, a major terminal in the Tokyo metropolitan area, that most strongly expresses the values outlined in our “Raysum-isms.” The project involved revitalizing a former obstetrics and gynecology building to attract a tenant with a strong commitment to early childhood education.
In pursuit of sustainability, the team visited many areas to find not only major businesses but also those that have strong support from the local community based on their solid educational philosophy. As a result, we were able to interact with many wonderful businesses.
However, entering an unfamiliar area is a high-risk challenge for any business. The team in charge of this project met many times with the representatives of the business’s owners to achieve each and every condition necessary for them to start their operations with peace of mind. Ultimately, they decided to commit.
These efforts culminated in the “Shirakashi Nursery School,” which has received high praise from the families of the children attending the school, not to mention local residents and even the owners who invested in the school.
We are fortunate to have created opportunities for a total of nearly 700 children to attend preschool across the five properties we have developed. In the future, we will continue to take on diverse challenges, not only with regard to the issue of children waiting for school, but also anything that may fall under the broad question of “What social issues can we contribute to resolving through real estate?”
“In the Toyosu project, we had the option of putting in an otherwise ordinary restaurant or a drugstore. However, it was clear that eliminating long waiting times for children entering nursery schools was a particularly urgent issue. We thought, in the long run, which would be better: to gradually turn the area into a mess of small shops or to implant a meaningful presence in the local community? Both for the value of customer’s property and for the surrounding community itself. The customer who purchased the property was someone who thought not only in terms of numerical performance, but also in terms of immeasurable value.”
Masaru Nomura (Marketing Div. General Manager)
*Positions and department names are current as of April 5, 2021.