Vacant Bar in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong, in July 2021
Lan Kwai Fong–Hong Kong’s party district–is full of vacant space.

I spent the July 1, 2021, public holiday walking around Hong Kong Island, and was struck by the volume of vacant and distressed commercial real estate. 

Over the past two years, Covid-19 and political unrest slashed tourist arrivals and sledgehammered Hong Kong’s food and beverage sector.

Social distancing regulations and the absence of wealthy mainland visitors changed the nature of commercial real estate in Lan Kwai Fong, Central and Wanchai. Causeway Bay, which once had the most expensive commercial real estate in the world, has also been badly affected.

Vacant Bar in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong, in July 2021Hong Kong, in July 2021
Prime Lan Kwai Fong food and beverage locations stand empty…
Closed restaurants in an alley near Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong, in July 2021
…as do outlets in nearby alleys, where a few brave operators hang on.
7-Eleven store in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong, in July 2021
“Club 7-Eleven” is a favorite among budget-conscious revelers in Lan Kwai Fong.
A mid-market steakhouse in Central, Hong Kong, in July 2021
It’s jarring to see mid-market restaurants and candy stores where luxury jewelers once operated.
Vacant storefront in Central, Hong Kong, in July 2021
Calligraphy abuts graffiti in Central.
There are many vacancies in offices and other commercial real estate in Central, Hong Kong
Office space is available in glass towers and in the backstreets of Central.
Discount retailers in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, in July 2021
Pop-up stores sell phone accessories and covid products on Russell Street in Causeway Bay.
Graffiti-covered bar in Wanchai, Hong Kong, in July 2021
Food and beverage outlets in Wanchai are also suffering.
Budget clothing stores in Central, Hong Kong, in July 2021
It’s not all bad news. Budget clothing outlets like Giordano and Bossini still attract shoppers in Central. But it’s hard to cover the rent when you are selling items at HK$39 (US$5) a pop.

Click here for more articles about property in Hong Kong.

Christopher Dillon has owned residential, industrial and commercial real estate in Hong Kong and Japan, and is the author of the Landed series of property books. The second edition of Landed Hong Kong is available from Amazon.

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