Everybody stand up! Ten new towers planned for the City of London skyline

The 32-story tower at 85 Gracechurch Street will be another addition to the London skyline ( )

The 32-story tower at 85 Gracechurch Street will be another addition to the London skyline ( )

The Standard may reveal that ten new skyscrapers are planned for London’s financial center as a key sign of long-term economic confidence in the capital.

The contractors behind the eight tower blocks are holding confidential “pre-application” talks with the City of London Corporation, while the other two have recently filed formal applications.

Shravan Joshi, chairman of the city’s planning and transportation committee, told Standard: “These are all important buildings that will once again change or add something to the city’s skyline.”

Public applications are for a 63-story development at 55 Bishopsgate, which will be one of the tallest on the Square Mile at 285 m (935 feet) above sea level, and a 32-story tower adjacent to it at 85 Gracechurch Street. Leadenhall Market.

The city’s aim is to ensure that the plans are “not just for show” but also bring positive benefits to London and the wider United Kingdom.

But the 55 Bishopsgate plan, which includes an adjacent 22-story tower, has already sparked official objections from Historic England and Westminster council due to its potential impact on the protected landscapes of St Paul’s Cathedral and the wider city skyline.

Aerial view of the proposed 55 Bishopsgate towers

Aerial view of the proposed 55 Bishopsgate towers

Most of the proposed tower blocks are located in the City’s “east cluster” with the Gherkin at 30 St Mary Ax, the “Walkie Talkie” at 20 Fenchurch Street, the “Cheesegrater” at 122 Leadenhall Street, and the “Scalpel” at 52 Lime Street. are among the cornerstones.

All new proposals are at least 75 m high (almost 250 feet), thus meeting the City’s definition of a “tall building”.

Mr Joshi said the number of applications this year exceeded those made in both 2020 and 2021, an encouraging sign of Square Mile’s post-pandemic resilience.

“They persist despite the macroeconomic threats that are there,” he said. “This is a point of confidence not only in terms of the current economic situation, but also in terms of the long-term situation where the City and London provide a secure foundation for property development.”

He said demand was driven for “A-grade, truly high-quality office space” and not just from financial services companies normally based in the City. He said new industries attracted to Square Mile include technology, creative arts, media and education firms. Many of the proposed towers also secured “anchor” tenants.

Joshi declined to say whether he included the controversial plan for a 16-story tower block above Liverpool Street station.

This was suggested by Sellar, whose Shard at London Bridge remains the capital’s tallest building at 310m (1,017ft).

55 Bishopsgate will be 10 m (33 feet) shorter than 22 Bishopsgate, which was completed two years ago and is now the tallest building on the Square Mile.

A sky garden to rival that of the Walkie Talkie was proposed as part of 55 Bishopsgate.

A sky garden to rival that of the Walkie Talkie was proposed as part of 55 Bishopsgate.

Other tower blocks currently under construction include One Leadenhall, a 35-story tower north of Leadenhall Market.

A 33-story tower was approved for 70 Gracechurch Street last year, a 150 m (492 feet) tower at 50 Fenchurch Street was also approved, and another tower was proposed near the Walkie Talkie.

Historic England seeks to lower the height of the proposed tower block at 55 Bishopsgate. He says the current plan will “harm both the city’s historic environment and the wider London skyline”, particularly the views of St Paul’s and Whitehall from Waterloo Bridge when viewed over St James’ Park lake.

Mr. Joshi said the City Corporation will preserve historic buildings while determining its planning practices, while trying to ensure that the most modern workspaces are provided.

“We have to strike a balance on the Square Mile,” he said. “We are not Manhattan in the sense that we have a Roman history to preserve; We have historical buildings to look at.

“We have a responsibility to preserve the historical and cultural fabric that makes the Square Mile what it is.”

When asked about the scale of demand for new office space, he said Bloomberg’s “Pret index,” which uses sandwich shop sales figures to compare global cities, shows London’s economy is “rebounding harder and stronger” than rivals like New York and Tokyo. .

This was supported by Transport for London passenger data, which showed that trips were about 80 percent of normal, although fewer workers came to the office on Monday and Friday.

City Corporation now wants developers to consider whether office buildings can be retrofitted before allowing proposals aimed at demolishing skyscrapers to be considered.

“I think that’s the biggest agenda item we have to address in terms of planning in the commercial real estate world,” said Joshi.

“We expect developers to come to us with a renovation argument first. You have to have a good argument to explain why that building can’t be retrofitted and you can’t use the existing carbon to bring that building to a commercial state.

“They need to get past this hurdle before getting into any pre-application discussion about development plans.”

Peter Murray, co-founder of New London Architecture, said the new developments were “good news” and countered perceptions that “everything has come to a standstill” due to the pandemic and economic downturn.

He said: “There are several reasons for this. One is ‘flight to quality’ – companies with upcoming leases want to move to the newest offices and improve themselves [staff] well-being

“This means there will be second-hand office space, which is a bit more problematic. But they have a feeling. [property] Agents in the city say that when these new buildings are completed in five years, there will be a shortage rather than an abundance of office space.

“Firms like HSBC in Canary Wharf are reviewing their location and looking for something smaller. Maybe the City of London will become more attractive as a location for larger companies.”

said 300pearl Next year, the anniversary of Sir Christopher Wren’s death, would bring visitors from all over the world to London.

“The City of London is very different from most of the ‘old town’ areas of Europe, such as Madrid, Rome and Paris, which are kept in jelly and are barely touched,” Murray said. “The City of London has always been sensitive to the needs of the business community.”

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