Li Ka-shing’s unfilled towers show deepening downturn


The struggles of Li’s premium properties reflect the prolonged weakness in Hong Kong’s office market. — Bloomberg

HONG KONG: No one’s property in Hong Kong epitomises the pain in the office market better than real estate legend Li Ka-shing’s.

CK Asset Holdings Ltd’s crown jewel Cheung Kong Centre in Central has been about a quarter empty for the past year while its nearby new glassy tower has just 10% of its space leased.

While there are other towers in the area that have higher vacancies, the struggles of Li’s premium properties reflect the prolonged weakness in Hong Kong’s office market.

The city’s vacancy rate was at a historic high of 16.7% in the first quarter, according to CBRE Group Inc. Office rental prices fell 35% since the peak in 2019, data from CBRE show.

Cheung Kong Centre II, a smaller version of CK’s headquarters building, has only a fraction of the space in its 41 floors rented since pre-leasing started last year, according to brokers who market for CK. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

CK Asset’s chairman Victor Li said new demand for offices wasn’t high in the short term, but he was confident in the future of Cheung Kong Centre II. — Bloomberg

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