One of London’s most recognisable landmarks, the Gherkin, has been put up for sale and is expected to be snapped up by an overseas buyer.
The 40-storey City of London skyscraper was put into receivership in April, and the agents appointed to sell it are hoping for offers in the region of £600m to £650m. Savills and Deloitte Real Estate have been jointly instructed to sell the 505,000 sq ft (46,900 sq m) office building, which was designed by Lord Foster and opened in 2004. The two firms said marketing of the Gherkin – including an advertising campaign and a dedicated website – was about to begin, “with interest expected to come from all corners of the globe”.
Built at St Mary Axe on the site of the Baltic Exchange shipping market, which was badly damaged by an IRA bomb attack in 1992, the Gherkin quickly became a London landmark, featuring in TV programmes and films. Perhaps its most prominent role came in the 2006 erotic thriller Basic Instinct 2, in which the building doubled up as the office of a criminal psychiatrist.
The building currently has about 20 tenants, including the insurer Swiss Re, which originally owned the building, and is also used as a wedding venue.
Stephen Down, head of central London investment at Savills, said several parties had already registered their interest, and added that he anticipated they would be looking to close the deal by the end of September or the beginning of October. He said the building had been well looked after: “It’s in very good order.”
Potential buyers could include a sovereign wealth fund from the Middle East or Asia, or perhaps a large pension fund or private equity house.
Deloitte, which was appointed to take control of the tower, previously said that the Gherkin’s co-owners – a Mayfair-based investment bank and a German property investor, IVG Immobilien – had run into problems related to currency issues, rather than any difficulties with the wider property market.
Norman Foster – Guardian