London’s ‘Cheesegrater’ secures top 2012 letting agreement

British Land and Oxford Properties, the owners of London’s ‘Cheesegrater’ tower, has signed a lease agreement on 110,000 sq ft of office space, representatives revealed yesterday.

The deal will see insurers Amlin Plc occupy a substantial portion of the 614,000 sq ft property – just off Leadenhall Street – which has now secured a total pre-let of 51% following an earlier arrangement with risk managers Aon.

Tim Roberts, head of offices at British Land, said: “This will be our second major pre-letting at the building and it shows the considerable appeal of our offer – highly specified and well located buildings of strong architectural quality coupled with a commitment to occupier service.”

Non-binding heads of terms have been agreed between the two parties on what is one of the largest letting agreements of 2012, with Amlin set to take over a minimum of levels 18-24 and 45, and an option to take up to 36,000 sq ft of further space.

Construction work on the ‘Cheesegrater’ is projected for completion in 2014, with Amlin earmarking March 2015 as the date they intend to move from their current headquarters in the Aviva Tower.

Richard Hextall, Amlin’s group finance & operations director, said: “We have conducted a thorough review of our future accommodation options together with Savills over the past year and have decided that The Leadenhall Building will provide the best solution for our expanding group and London operations.”

Just a short walk away on Fenchurch Street, Canary Wharf Group’s rival development – known colloquially as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ – has already secured pre-lettings above 50%, meaning this latest deal puts BL and Oxford on a relatively even footing.

Despite rapid growth in the T&T sector, so much so that their office take up has outweighed that of the financial industries for the first time this year, both the ‘Walkie Talkie’ and ‘Cheesegrater’ have focused on insurance as the only sector of growth across the financial services.

The news is likely to be welcomed by city planners following growing concerns over the progress of at least six landmark developments across the capital, where the significant pre-lets seen at the aforementioned properties are now a prerequisite for construction.

The most notable project that has been affected is The Pinnacle, where construction has been stalled for over a year due to legal disputes and a lack of space pre-let to tenants. 100 Bishopsgate is facing similar uncertainty as developers look to find enough advanced tenants to make the 564ft tower economically viable.

 

Photo courtesy of Bridging and Commercial

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