The City of London has decided to delay a controversial vote over whether to grant the Heron Tower permission to rename itself after its biggest tenant Salesforce, in a new twist to the saga.
The City's planning and transportation committee said that the decision would be reviewed at a special meeting in August after members felt the decision needed "further consideration".
Chairman Michael Welbank said: "The City of London's landmark buildings have proven phenomenally popular with the public, as the nicknames of the "Gherkin" and the "Walkie Talkie" have shown. However, the official names of the buildings rarely attract public attention.
"We often receive name change applications; however we have never before had an application to change the name of a building to reflect a commercial tenant when this tenant was not the sole occupant of the building. For this reason, the planning and transportation committee felt that the decision needed further consideration and have referred it back to the committee for a future debate," he said.
Speaking at the planning meeting today, one member of the committee described the name as "cheap and tacky" and argued that "it [was] not in the interest of the City at all".
However another committee member Randall Anderson said: "We have a building named after a developer and now we have a name after a technology company. It is in our interest to have a large successful company identified as being in the City."
The row over the renaming of the building escalated after the owners of the Heron Tower at 110 Bishopsgate announced in May that it would be known as Salesforce Tower as part of a deal that saw the US cloud software firm become its biggest tenant.
Several tenants located in the building, including a rival technology firm Powa Technologies, were unhappy at having to use another company’s name in their details.
Although the name change was recommended for approval, the committee said it will now have to rethink the guidelines it follows for granting name changes. Draft proposals are expected to be drawn up by September and a decision on the Heron Tower is not expected to be made until then.
Councillor Tom Sleigh, who has publicly spoken out against the renaming, said: “I think Salesforce are a brilliant company. It is not about their name per se. This is to do with if we should let existing iconic buildings become a sort of advertisement, for the right price. Remember that Salesforce are just one tenant in a multi-occupancy building. The City's prestige would be damaged by this type of commercialisation."
Salesforce.com chief legal officer Burke Norton said: “We are confident that we and Heron have complied with all requirements necessary to change the name of Heron Tower to Salesforce Tower. The City of London planning fepartment has acknowledged this fact and has recommended that the City's planning and transportation committee approve the name change.We will of course consider whatever steps are necessary to effect that outcome.”
Heron International declined to comment.