Shanghai Hua Tian Property Development, controlled by Stanley Ho Hung-sun, and its partner have bought a commercial site in Shanghai for a record 1.43 billion yuan. Hua Tian, a unit of Mr Ho's Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau, teamed with France's Shanghold Investment to acquire the site at a land auction on Monday. The site is located at Hong Qiao, the core business area in Shanghai. The price represents 1,772 yuan per square foot, compared with between 1,301 yuan and 1,394 yuan in similar areas. DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (Shanghai) investment director Jim Yip said the price was a record for a commercial site in Shanghai. That compared with the 2,323 yuan to 2,787 yuan per square foot for strata-title grade A offices in the city's secondary market. Mr Yip said Hua Tian was willing to pay a record price because the site was close to its City Center of Shanghai project. The developer was also optimistic about the prospect of the retail market, he added. The 1.88-hectare site can be developed into an office and retail complex at a plot ratio of four, providing a gross floor area of 808,161 sqft. Hua Tian outbid developers including Singapore-listed Yanlord Land Group and Hong Kong-listed Orient Overseas (International). 'The grade A office rental rose as much as 8 per cent last year. We expect office rents will continue to increase 5 to 8 per cent this year,' DTZ said.