ENTREPRENEURS: Harry's Sore Point

Of the hundreds of office blocks that have shot up in postwar London, few are as tall, as eye-catching or as potentially profitable as Harry Hyams' Centre Point. Or as empty. In the seven years since the 34-story building was completed on St. Giles Circus at the end of bustling Oxford Street, it has not acquired a single tenant. Many Londoners have charged that Hyams is purposely keeping it unoccupied to cash in later on runaway rent rises.

In space-starved London, where some commercial rents have doubled over the past five years, Centre Point has gradually grown from a simple oddity...