Rents for space in Cheung Kong (Holdings') new office tower, The Centre, a 79-storey block on the edge of Central, have been described as too high. The developer has announced that it will lease the top half of the building at rents ranging from $56 to $70 per square foot on the gross a month, according to one of four leasing agents, First Pacific Davies (FPD). With an efficiency rating of slightly more than 78 per cent, that made net rents about $89 per sq ft on the top floors, agents said. Some property agents said it would be difficult for the developer to fill the space at such a high rental rate. Jones Lang Wootton (JLW), another marketing agent for the project, has begun soft-marketing the grade-A space on floors 19 to 40 in The Centre, which are for sale, but so far no price per square foot has been revealed. Some agents said the grade-A space could sell for as high as $17,000 to $18,000 per sq ft. Whole floors in buildings such as Nine Queen's Road Central are now selling for $16,000 to $18,000 per sq ft, according to one Chesterton Petty official. FPD director Cecelia Tse said the generous 26,000 sq ft floor plate provided by The Centre was aimed at big space users such as financial institutions and banks. Some agents said rents and prices were on the high side if Cheung Kong hoped to lure the companies out of Central to the Sheung Wan area. They said the developer should be offering the grade-A office space at a discount to the price these companies were paying in Central. 'It makes zero sense to be moving to Sheung Wan at those rents,' said Roger Weir, manager of corporate services with Vigers. 'These rents are too high to justify even a move to another location in Central.' The Centre, next to the Central Market, is being developed by Cheung Kong and the Land Development Corp. Ms Tse said rents for The Centre were not unreasonable considering the building's specifications and magnificent harbour views. She said they were above those in Exchange Square because the floors were higher than the floors in Exchange Square.