The Landmark's decade-long reputation as Central's most expensive shopping centre is being challenged by rival IFC Mall, where a branded Italian leather bag retailer agreed to pay HK$600 per square foot a month. While Landmark owner Hongkong Land would not provide rental figures for the complex, brokers estimate it tops out at HK$600 for the most coveted spaces. 'It is a record at our mall,' said Karim Azar, an assistant general manager at International Finance Centre Management, which is responsible for the leasing and marketing of IFC Mall, about the lease agreement signed for a 500 square foot shop. He would not provide further details. Rents at IFC Mall have recently been raised by as much as 200 per cent for renewed leases, with the prevailing monthly charge for most units at between HK$350 and HK$450 per square foot. This is quite a rebound for the shopping area, which largely opened in 2003, when the city was gripped by Sars, forcing its owners - Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land Development and MTR Corp - to provide financial subsidies to some retailers opening there. At the same time, Hong Kong's tallest building Two IFC, above the mall, set its cheapest office rents at less than HK$20 per square foot. Last month, a US-based investment fund rented 5,000 square feet in the tower for about HK$140 per square foot in terms of gross floor area or HK$150 per square foot in terms of net area, a record high for office rentals in Hong Kong. Mr Azar said negotiations with several other potential retail tenants were under way at prices of more than HK$400 per square foot. 'International brand names are willing to pay high rents for their first flagship store in Central as there is no new supply in the area,' Colliers International research and consultancy director Simon Lo said.