Catlin for 20 Gracechurch

CATLIN, the biggest underwriter in the Lloyd&rsquo;s of London insurance market, has made an offer for a 120,000 sq ft space at 20 Gracechurch Street.<br /><br />In what is the second biggest City property deal this year City A.M. can exclusively reveal the insurer will be paying around &pound;45 per square foot for 15 years. <br /><br />It will get about three and a half years rent free, meaning it will pay approximately &pound;34.5 per square foot for the 15 storeys it will be taking.<br /><br />Catlin&rsquo;s tenancy contract at the London Underwriting Centre (LUC) expires in March 2011, but Catlin is believed to be ready to move in next year. CBRE and Savills have been acting joint advisers for 20 Gracechurch Street, with Catlin advised by Allsop.<br /><br />The deal follows Nomura signing for City riverside development, Watermark Place, and stimulates hopes that activity will begin seeping back into the commercial property market. Property agents are relying on prospective tenants taking advantage of the current depressed commercial values to revitalise the City.<br /><br />One industry observer commented that he predicts more insurers will be taking space in EC3 in the near future stating: &ldquo;There is real life in that sub-sector.&rdquo;<br /><br />20 Gracechurch Street, owned by Aviva and Atlas, is just a stone&rsquo;s throw from Catlin&rsquo;s current London quarters on Mincing Lane.<br /><br />Last week Catlin posted record half year pre-tax profits of $240m (&pound;143m) in the six months ending June 30, driven by net investment returns which soared 262 per cent to $195m.