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At the risk of making London sound like a box of kitchen implements, the latest addition to the landmark skyscrapers is set to be ‘the Scalpel’. This joins The Shard, the Cheesegrater, and the Gherkin. This latest building – tall, thin and angled – will be situated near the now-quaintly named St Pauls Cathedral. Work is to begin shortly and it is anticipated that the 35-storey building will be completed in 2017, the intention being for it to house the European headquarters of the owners, US insurance company W R Berkley Corporation.
The building, on the corner of Leadenhall Road and Lime Street, currently comprises Prudential House, Winterthur House and Allianz & Cornhill House.
Eugene O’Sullivan, of Morgan Pryce, comments, “This is a significant investment in the City and is clearly being carried out in order that the company can demonstrate its influence and place in the industry. It follows other insurance companies who are now taking the place – both physically and metaphorically – of the now-cautious banking companies. It also shows that confidence in London continues to grow, and not just from the Middle East and Asian markets.”
The Scalpel has been designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and will be constructed by Skanska which is also the contractor of choice of Land Securities for its £260m New Ludgate development.
What remains to be seen is whether the commercial plan for the building will succeed. It is believed that the insurance company does not intend to use all the space for itself, and that some will be let. However, given the square footage still going spare at some of the other recent landmark buildings, this ambition is far from guaranteed. It is arguable that quirky offices in the City are already undersubscribed and that more offices of this kind are simply not needed at this time.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.