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Wheelock said to start HK$4b Hong Kong office tower sale

[HONG KONG] Wheelock & Co has started a sale of One HarbourGate East Tower, an unfinished office building it's developing in Hong Kong that could fetch about HK$4 billion (S$724 million), people with knowledge of the matter said. 

Several Chinese financial firms have expressed interest in the East Tower, which is part of a twin-block office project being developed in the Hung Hom area of Kowloon, the people said. The building could fetch as much as HK$16,000 per square foot of gross floor area, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

Hong Kong, which boasts the world's most expensive office rents, has attracted Chinese companies seeking to boost their brand profiles and diversify their investments. Evergrande Real Estate Group agreed this month to buy an office building in the city's bustling Wan Chai district for HK$12.5 billion, breaking previous price records.

The East Tower, a 15-story building with about 254,000 square feet of gross floor area, is the smaller block of the twin office towers known as One HarbourGate. Wheelock said this month it will sell the development's West Tower to China Life Insurance Co for HK$5.85 billion. The project is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

A sale of the East Tower could be concluded in the next two to three months, one of the people said.

"We understand from property agents that East Tower attracts great interest in the market," Eva Ho, a spokeswoman for Wheelock, said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg queries. She declined to comment further.