The “sharpest” building in a smorgasbord of London icons, The Scalpel, is set to be listed for £820 million in a litmus test for the British office market.
WR Berkley Corporation is selling the distinctively sharp-angled 52 Lime Street property between the 30 St Mary Axe tower informally known as “The Gherkin”—which sold for £700 million in 2014—the Leadenhall or “Cheesegrater” building and the 20 Fenchurch Street “Walkie Talkie” tower.
Eastdil Secured and Cushman & Wakefield have been appointed to handle the sale on behalf of the NYSE-listed insurance holding company whose London arm occupies the building as its headquarters.
KPF architects designed the 42-storey office tower to lean away from Leadenhall so it becomes invisible behind the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Completed in 2018, the building is 190 metres high and has 59,400sq m of office space, with floor vacancies currently available to occupy within the building ranging from 613 to 1155 square metres.
The listing comes as as Britain grapples with the second wave of Covid-19.
Under current United Kingdom Covid restrictions, offices are able to remain open at all times while residents adhere to a three-tier restriction framework depending on the level of infection in the local government area.
Some Berkley Company employees returned to their offices at Scalpel on 1 September, however the majority continue to work remotely.
In July, UK office rent collections sat at 71 per cent collected—albeit one week late—compared to industrial at 56 per cent and retail at 42 per cent, according to the latest market update from Cushman & Wakefield.
Despite struggles in the sector, the British prime minister Boris Johnson continues to push developments as a way to economic recovery, recently announcing a massive shake-up of planning reforms as well as a £100 billion rail project.
Australian developer Lendlease is also active in the region with $32 billion worth of development projects in the pipeline including Euston Station, Silvertown Quays and the Thamesmead Waterfront community.
There are also plans for a new theme park in Kent called London Resort estimated to be worth £3.5 billion.
The UK has forged the path for the emerging Australian build-to-rent sector, growing by £10 billion in the past five years.