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Macquarie, Samsung Mull $21.5 Billion Seoul Project

Macquarie Bank and a consortium led by Samsung are preparing bids for a 20 trillion won (US$21.5 billion) project to develop a business district in central Seoul, sources close to the plans said.

State-run Korea Railroad and Seoul's city government said in August they would redevelop a 566,000 square meter riverfront site in Yongsan, in downtown Seoul, to make it the capital's new trade and commerce center and would accept proposals on Oct. 30.

Bankers and government officials estimate the total development expense including land and construction costs at 20 trillion won, the biggest-ever property development project in South Korea. Construction is slated to start in 2010.

The sources told Reuters that Australia's Macquarie Bank is scouting out investors and property developers, while Samsung has teamed up with GS Engineering & Construction and Kumho Industrial to jointly bid for the project.

Macquarie representatives were unavailable to comment, while Samsung Corp declined to comment.