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Li Ka-shing's Skyscraper Is 21% Empty as HK Vacancies Hit Record

Lingering Covid curbs and closed border with mainland have diminished city’s appeal as a regional hub and gateway to China.

Cheung Kong Center, center, and other buildings in Hong Kong’s skyline. 

Cheung Kong Center, center, and other buildings in Hong Kong’s skyline. 

Photographer: Bertha Wang/Bloomberg

Hong Kong's most prestigious skyscrapers have more empty office space than ever before, underscoring the challenge facing John Lee's government as he tries to revive the city's standing as an international business hub.

Empty premium office space — or the so-called Grade-A stock — has almost tripled in three years to an all-time high of a combined 11.9 million square feet (1.1 million square meters) as of October, according to CBRE Group Inc. At Cheung Kong Center, a skyscraper owned by billionaire-developer Li Ka-shing, vacancy surged to 21% in September, from just 5.4% in mid-2020, according to Midland IC&I Ltd.