WR Berkley planning new City skyscraper
US insurance firm WR Berkley has announced plans to build a new skyscraper in the City of London for its UK headquarters.
It has recently purchased the land at 52-54 Lime Street and 27 Leadenhall Street, EC3 (next to The Willis Building and opposite Lloyd's of London) which adds up to a 2.2 acre parcel of land in an area of the City synonymous with skyscrapers.
Only a few details of the proposed scheme have been revealed. All we really know is that it's expected to be about 40 storeys tall, translating into a height of about 165 meters (540 feet), similar to that of the Gherkin and the currently under construction Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3. It will add to the high-rise insurance firm cluster that has developed around the Lime Street area with SwissRe at the Gherkin, Willis at The Willis Building, Aon taking a prelet at the Leadenhall Building and Merkel planning to move to the Walkie Talkie.
If approved, the building will be the first skyscraper to win approval in the City of London since The Pinnacle in 2008. The fact that WR Berkley is building the tower for its own occupation is quite unusual in today's market. All of the recent high-rises in London have been speculative/multi-tenant developments, meaning that they have to rely on a significant prelet before construction can begin. This building will not be subject to that uncertainty, so if planning is approved it looks highly likely that it will get built.
The photo below shows the site of the planned building. There is currently a 1950's stone building on the site.
Photo source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Colin
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