Pearl Oriental Holdings has released two office floors in Pearl Oriental Centre in Wan Chai for lease, but estate agents say the asking rents are out of line with average rates in the area. The ninth and 10th floors of the 30-storey building are being offered at a monthly rent of $38 to $45 per square foot on gross area. The developer, which has made a name as an aggressive property trader in Hong Kong, now owns 16 office floors in the building. The other 14 floors were sold earlier on a strata-title basis. The centre, at 200 Gloucester Road, made headlines earlier this year when a number of mainland-connected companies which had paid deposits to buy floors in the tower in 1994 decided to default because of a downturn in the commercial property market. The two floors put on the market feature a 7,388 sq ft floor plate, which estate agents say would be suitable for a medium-sized company. Tenants who lease whole floors would be able to take advantage of the 73 per cent efficiency rating, or net usable area divided by gross floor area, which agents say is satisfactory by local standards. However, agents warn that leasing part of the floor area would reduce the building's efficiency to a less economical 60 per cent. Management fees are $2.70 per sq ft a month on gross area, with one agent saying they are a bargain for the area. While the building's Wan Chai location is a 10 to 15-minute walk from the nearest MTR station, agents agree that the sea view on all floors provides some compensation. Estate agents familiar with the Wan Chai area said tenants could find considerably lower rents at around $25 to $30 per sq ft - even from strata-title landlords who own the building's other 14 floors. A quick canvass of the area, according to agents, revealed that rents in nearby buildings were considerably lower. For instance, rents in Chinachem Group's Century Tower were between $25 and $28 per sq ft, while rents in Sino Plaza were hovering around the $38 to $40 per sq ft mark. Over at the World Trade Centre, agents said asking rents were between $30 and $35 per sq ft. According to the developer's spokesman, a one or two-month rent-free period would be available. FACT FILE Development: Pearl Oriental Centre, 200 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai Developer: Pearl Oriental Holdings Floors for lease: two (9th and 10th) Size (gross floor area): 7,388 square feet Rent: $38 to $45 per sq ft gross a month Total office floors: 30. Management fees: $2.70 per sq ft gross a month Leasing conditions: one or two-month rent-free period.