Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd., the Hong Kong arm of Standard Chartered plc (02888.HK) is closing its express banking center at a prime site in Causeway Bay a year before its lease ends.
The move caught the commercial property market by surprise, as banking tenants rarely walk away from a rental contract, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.
The express banking center occupies two adjacent units with a total gross floor area of 1,150 square feet at 77-83 Percival Street.
The rent is HK$720,000 (US$92,500) per month, which translates into HK$626 per sq ft.
The landlord of one unit is now asking for a monthly rent of HK$320,000, 8.6 percent less than StanChart has been paying. The other is asking for HK$340,000, 8.1 percent below the rent at present.
The bank has refused to comment on why it is terminating the lease.
It is unclear whether the decision is related to the poor outlook for the city’s economy or to the banking group’s restructuring plan, which involves substantial cutting of costs.
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