London financial district’s tallest skyscraper is going ahead, despite Brexit real estate turmoil

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 2:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 10:13pm

A 62-storey skyscraper – variously known as the Pinnacle and the Helter Skelter – is to grace London’s skyline despite the uncertainty caused in the commercial property market by the vote for Brexit.

Now officially known as 22 Bishopsgate – its address near Liverpool Street station – the building will be the tallest in London’s financial district and is being developed by AXA Investment Managers Real Assets. The building will be 278 metres tall, 10 metres lower than the original design that was first outlined almost 10 years ago.

The Shard, a 95-storey Tower in Southwark, will remain the tallest in London overall.

In the days before the 23 June referendum, Bloomberg quoted AXA IM’s chief executive, Pierre Vaquier, as saying options may have to be revisited if the vote was to leave the EU. “We have not launched the project because we want to see the results of the Brexit [vote],” Vaquier said in June.

But he said on Wednesday that the French-owned fund management firm was taking a long-term view. “The decision to proceed underscores our confidence in the progressive and attractive development that we will deliver at 22, coupled with the anticipated breadth of demand from local and global occupiers for easily accessible space in a prime location in the City of London, as one of the leading global centres for international business, that will respond to their future business needs.”

AXA IM was part of a consortium that paid £300 million (US$367 million) for the site in 2015. Construction came to a halt five years ago – a shell known as the Stump was left behind – but AXA IM said it had continued with the foundations and expected to complete the building in 2019. A contractor is expected to be appointed in the coming weeks.