Wharf (Holdings) is launching a second batch of serviced apartments at its three-tower Gateway II development in Tsim Sha Tsui after strong leasing response. Doreen Lee Yuk-fong, director and general manager of Wharf's marketing arm Harriman Leasing, said it had secured 86 clients for the first batch of 95 suites. The second batch of 57 suites will be offered from today, with rents at $48 to $50 per square foot a month, up from $43 to $44 per sq ft for the first batch, she said. She said discounts offered would be reduced slightly in light of the good response. Wharf launched the serviced apartments in Sutton Court and Hampton Court, built on top of two office blocks of Gateway II, in mid-September. The first 95 units on offer, ranging from 700 sq ft to about 2,000 sq ft, account for 19 per cent of the 499 apartments in the development. The unit mix includes studios, one-bedroom to three-bedroom apartments and penthouses. Ms Lee said more than half of the tenants for the first batch signed one-year or two-year contracts and there were very few tenants who rented for less than four months. She said Wharf at present required tenants to rent for at least three months. The majority of its tenants were long-term clients, she said, adding that there was a shortage of high-end serviced apartments on the Kowloon side. Jones Lang LaSalle director Amelia Lim said the serviced apartments in Gateway II had attracted many people working in Central. While serviced apartments were limited in Kowloon, demand for such properties was enhanced by a new trend to locate multinationals in the area, which was traditionally dominated by mainland companies, she said. FPDSavills executive director Isabel Michie said the apartments had attracted not only expatriates but also Hong Kong locals. She said serviced apartments had been increasingly favoured by the market, with people looking for long-term leases of up to two years joining the stream. Ms Lee said the office portion of the first two blocks of Gateway II was 40 per cent leased and the company was in no hurry to put the third office block on the market. She said most of the existing tenants in Wharf's office property portfolio had renewed or were due to renew their contracts before the end of this year.