Great Eagle Holdings has cut rents by 14 to 22 per cent for tenants renewing leases at its Citibank Plaza in Central this year. The cuts reflect the downturn in the grade-A office market, but are well below the 30 to 50 per cent cuts seen elsewhere in Central and Admiralty. According to a Great Eagle spokesman, tenants renewing since the end of last year had seen rents drop from $68 per square foot on the lettable area to $53 to $58 per sq ft. Great Eagle public relations manager Winnie Wong said the company was confident of being able to renew clients at its asking rents, even if there had been larger cuts in the overall market. 'There are so many things that come into play when a person is renewing their lease,' she said. 'It is related to the relationship between us and the client.' Vigers head of valuation Paul Dwyer said it would be wrong to assume that a company in Citibank Plaza would move just because rents were cheaper in another building. 'To move an IT-related client, as so many of these tenants are, is a difficult job,' he said. 'There is a tenant inertia. So, until the dollars stack up in savings, then people will not move.' Any company also would look at comparable renewals in the building before deciding to move. 'So, from a rent valuation point of view, it [the current reduction] would be difficult to beat because the best evidence will be within the building itself,' he said. Great Eagle had been able to maintain its rent profile in the building because of all the other leases it had managed to renew, Mr Dwyer said. However, some agents said the developer might have to slash office rents in Citibank Plaza by 20 to 30 per cent more to keep tenants from moving into the new supply coming on to the market. Many were looking at the nearby Cheung Kong Center, where the developer was charging effective rents of about $45 per sq ft on the lettable. Citibank Plaza tenants also would look at rents in the South West Tower and The Center in Sheung Wan before signing up again. 'Some tenants who are renegotiating their leases were paying $60 or more per sq ft and are now asking the developer for rents in the $40 [price range],' one property agent said. This was the rent Great Eagle was charging when the building first opened in 1992. Agents said the demands were not unreasonable considering the new supply due to come on to the market in the next two years. Some said as many as six tenants had moved out of Citibank Plaza into cheaper grade-A accommodation. They estimated as much as 50,000 sq ft of space in the building was vacant. Ms Wong refused to comment on the figure.