At US$9100 per sq. ft., Hong Kong’s Tian-hui Skyscraper (天匯) is the most expensive real estate in the world.

The building is 40 storeys high– but it has an 88th floor at the highest level! What is going on?

In western societies, the number 13 is considered inauspicious, so some builders have deliberately “skipped” the 13th floor for their buildings. Donald Trump’s Trump Tower has done that. For the Chinese, the number 4 sounds like “death”, so some buidings will have no 4th, 14th, 40th and 44th floors.

If you go to any China-town, you will see many cars with license plates like “888”, “168”, “118” and the likes. Properties with “8” number can also be sold at higher prices. Chinese like the number 8 because it sounds like “prosperity” or “getting rich”.

Tian-hui Skyscaper is 40 storeys high with 34 residential floors. The followings are the floor number assignments:
*1- 6th floor (commercial/parking)
*8 – 12th floor (5 floors): no 13 and 14th
*15- 23rd floor (9 floors): no 24th
*25- 33rd floor (9 floors): no 34th
*35- 39th floor (9 floors): no 40- 59th
*60- 61 floor (2 floor): no 62nd
*63rd floor (no 64-65th)
*66th floor (no 67th)
*68th floor (no 69-87, jumps to 88th)
*88th floor

This is the most blatant and haphazard floor numbering to attract buyers in history.

Some local consumer groups complain that the real estate developer misleads the public on the numbering of the floors for financial gains. Local politicans criticize the Hong Kong government of failing to regulate the industry. The “4th Uncle”, nickname of the developer, said, “Buyers are delighted with the floor numbers!”

Whoever can afford US$9100 per sq. ft. or US$56M for a 6200 sq.  ft. unit in the building should not be too stupid.

Incidentially, the height of the building is 152 meters. “152” sounds like “not easy to maintain the #1 position” in the local Cantonese dialect. In terms of Feng Shui, 5-2 combination means disaster and major sickness or even death! Fortunately the “1” mitigates the negative effects of 5-2 a little bit.

Ken Lai

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