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Town Creation, Not Real Estate Development. Integrated Trading Company Sumitomo Corporation Engages With Communities.

The Real Estate Investment & Development Dept. creates towns all over Japan by leveraging its strength as a general property developer and adopting a hands-on* approach to urban development through engagement with communities and public-private partnerships. This article introduces how Masayoshi Ishii, who is in charge of the Utsunomiya Station East Exit District Development project “Utsunomiya Terrace,” spends his week. He explained the strength of Sumitomo Corporation as an integrated trading company and what he values in his work.
*Hands-on: Actively participating in the management of investees or acquired companies

  • Team Leader of the Urban Development/DX Team
    Real Estate Investment & Development Dept.

    Masayoshi Ishii

    Joined Sumitomo Corporation in 2008. After working on site acquisition and the development of commercial facilities and condominiums, he became involved in coordinating large mixed-use developments and urban planning in major cities in Japan in cooperation with various other divisions. He is currently involved with launching new urban development projects through competitions, running tenant leasing in mixed-use facilities under development, promoting construction, and establishing operational management systems.

Development of Utsunomiya Terrace Amid the Pandemic—
Building the New Symbol of a City

The 14-story mixed-use complex Utsunomiya Terrace, built to transform the JR Utsunomiya Station East Exit District

When I was a college student, I majored in urban engineering. I joined Sumitomo Corporation because I wanted to work on large-scale businesses that are close to end users at an integrated trading company. I spent five years in the Retail Facilities Dept. managing facilities, including development and renovation of various kinds of commercial complexes, and seven years in the Housing & Urban Development Business Dept. working on site acquisition and development promotion for condominiums. Since 2020, I have been involved in the development of complexes for the Utsunomiya Station East Exit District Development project.

The Utsunomiya Terrace complex in Utsunomiya City was developed as a symbol of the region by combining two key elements. First, Sumitomo Corporation’s Terrace philosophy, which aims to create the “joyful, pleasant and comfortable place that people want to visit often” and uses creativity as a driver for future regional development. Second, the idea of a “community-made complex development,” which incorporates functions that are offered according to the values and characteristics fostered in each region and the concept of district development by Utsunomiya City. Currently, we are working hard to follow up on the project for the development and management of this complex, which opened in August 2022.

On the day of the grand opening

Visiting the Site Frequently and Working With the Local Community To Promote the Project

1Week Schedule

MON: A team meeting to confirm the progress of each project and share information
TUE: Visiting Utsunomiya City to confirm the construction progress with a general contractor
WED: Collecting information and preparing plans for new project
THU: Holding an online meeting with the complex’s management company
FRI: Visiting Utsunomiya City to check the tenants’ premises and go to city hall

MONDAY: Progress confirmation and information sharing in a team meeting

Five members, including myself, are responsible for construction, operation management, and leasing. Although there were limitations due to the pandemic, we took turns visiting the site and share the information that we have gained with our team members afterwards so that we are always on the same page.

TUESDAY and FRIDAY: Utsunomiya visit

I visit the site once or twice a week to confirm the construction progress, have meetings with city officials, and negotiate with tenants.

WEDNESDAY: Collecting information and preparing plans for new project

For new projects, the battle starts even before a competition begins. We analyze the local market, gather information quickly and meticulously from the government, and formulate a competitive plan and consortium based on this information in advance to create a winning scheme.

Taking on the Challenge of Creating Towns That Will Be Loved by Residents for the Next Century, Leveraging Sumitomo Corporation’s Strength as an Integrated Trading and Business Investment Company

My Passion

Through my experience, I’ve learned the importance of trying ideas that aren’t bound by conventional wisdom. In my third year with the company, I was in charge of the renewal of Decks Tokyo Beach in Odaiba, and I negotiated with Bills (a restaurant chain that serves “the world’s best breakfast”), Legoland (a theme park for children), and Madame Tussauds (a wax museum featuring famous figures) to attract them to the complex. In product planning for condominium sales, I created some unique facilities based on my original ideas, such as a condominium library under the supervision of Daikanyama Tsutaya and a lounge coordinated by the Italian company Meridiani. At the root of it all is a sense of trust that if I take on challenges, my supervisors and colleagues will support me. This is still the foundation of my work today.

My Future

The interior view of Utsunomiya Terrace. It is designed to be a cozy environment that creates a community full of comfort.

We were able to open Utsunomiya Terrace, which I took over during the pandemic, with the help of many people including my predecessor. I think that this experience will help to build my confidence as a team leader.

This was a case of urban development for a major regional city through a public-private partnership, and I would like to apply the knowledge that we gained during this project to contribute to regional development in other places. We will also deepen our collaboration with Summit supermarkets, Tomod’s, and 5G businesses to take on the challenge of creating towns that will be loved by residents for the next century, leveraging our strength as an integrated developer and adopting a hands-on approach. At the same time, we would like to look into the possibility of combining urban development and DX towards the next ten years.

My Holiday

On weekends, I find it relaxing to go out with my three-year-old child. When I find newly opened commercial facilities, I proactively visit them with my family. That way, I can enjoy quality time with them while also applying a user perspective to product planning.


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