Gherkin sold: Safra Group buys one of London's tallest buildings 30 St Mary Axe

Kasmira Jefford
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The Gherkin was bought in early 2007 for £600m (Source: Getty)

Brazilian investment group Safra is to buy the City’s iconic Gherkin skyscraper from receivers Deloitte, the two firms announced this morning.

Deloitte’s real estate arm and Savills was appointed to sell 30 St Mary’s Axe this summer after its previous owners Evans Randall and German firm IVG failed to strike a restructuring deal over its mounting debt-pile.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed although Safra is thought to have paid around £726m for the landmark building at the heart of the City's insurance district.

Safra Group said in a statement this morning:

"The acquisition of 30 St Mary Axe is consistent with our real estate strategy of investing in properties that are truly special – at the best locations within great cities. While only ten years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential.

"We intend to make the building even better and more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants."

IVG and Evans Randall bought the tower in early 2007 for £600m from insurer Swiss Re, which set a record at the time for a building in the City and was considered overpriced. The acquisition was funded by a £500m loan from a consortium of five banks led by Bayerische Landesbank and first defaulted in 2009.

The problem was largely due to a tranche of the debt secured against the building, which had soared as the Swiss franc strengthened against the pound.

The Gherkin, designed by Lord Foster - who was also behind City Hall and Wembley Stadium - is 99 per cent let to companies, including Swiss Re, which occupies around half of the building. Tenants pay an average rent of £55 per sq ft.

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