Wheelock Properties

Property's income set to double

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2007, 12:00am

Wheelock & Co will see rental income from its Central property - Crawford House - grow to HK$120 million a year after the building is fully let.

This compares to about HK$60 million when the building was fully let before anchor tenant Lane Crawford moved to IFC Mall in 2004, according to Ricky Wong, executive director of Wheelock Properties, a unit of Wheelock.

The company recently leased 55,000 square feet of space to Swedish fashion retailer H&M as its flagship store in Hong Kong at a monthly rent of HK$5 million.

It has also leased a retail floor of more than 13,000 sq ft to baby-care company Eugene Group.

'We are now in talks to lease the fifth floor of 10,000 sq ft - the last vacant retail floor - at HK$50 to HK$60 per square foot,' said Mr Wong.

Together with office space, which was 90 per cent leased, monthly income would be around HK$10 million, or annual income of HK$120 million, he said.

The 24-storey office-retail building on Queen's Road Central was built in 1977, with a site area of 12,286 sq ft and a gross floor area of 195,500 sq ft.

The retail space has a gross floor area of 89,500 sq ft. Formerly known as Lane Crawford House, it is now called Crawford House.

The retail portion has been vacant since Lane Crawford moved to the International Financial Centre shopping centre.

Mr Wong said the value of the property had been significantly enhanced after the change in tenant mix.

Lane Crawford House was put up for private tender in 2005.

Wheelock had invited local and foreign firms to bid for the property, with a target price of $2.5 billion.

According to one of the bidders at the time, the highest offer was $2.1 billion.

But Wheelock scrapped the sale plans as the offer did not meet its expectations.

He said the value of the property now was $3 billion - HK$500 million more than the value two years ago.

Crawford House is one of six properties in Wheelock's proposed real estate investment trust.