INDUSTRY NEWS

Scalpel given the green light – WR Berkley to use it as London office

Construction of a new London skyscraper – nicknamed the Scalpel – has been given the green light.

Designed by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, it will be built on Lime Street in the heart of London’s financial district.

Taller than the Gherkin, the 38-storey tower stands at 190m tall, and will provide the financial district an extra 500,000 sq ft of prime London office space.

The offices will be spread across 35 floors and the building will also feature an additional two basement, as well as two roof plant levels.

The site will also feature around 7,700 sq ft of public space at street level, and space for both a retail area and restaurant.

The Scalpel will be the home of US insurance firm WR Berkley, who will use it as the firm’s European Headquarters.

The US firm will finance the entire £500m project itself, and will occupy a quarter of the total office space available.

The rest are set to be available for let on the open market – with fellow specialist insurance professionals expected to occupy them.

The firm’s chairman, William R. Berkley, said: “We plan to build on London’s rich heritage in the insurance sector by creating a fantastic new headquarters for our European business in the heart of the City of London.

“We are acting as financier, developer and occupier so these plans represent a real, financial and physical commitment to London. Today’s decision moves us a step closer to making our plans a reality.”

Work is expected to begin on the building at the end of this year. It is hoped that construction should be complete in 2017.

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