Cheesegrater project gets the go-ahead

 
Marion Dakers
BRITISH Land confirmed its deal with Oxford Properties to build the Cheesegrater skyscraper yesterday, bringing the £340m project closer to fruition after it was sidelined during the recession.

British Land has kicked off the 50:50 joint venture by contributing the site on Leadenhall Street, worth £90m, and expects to spend a further £125m. The FTSE 100 firm will act as lead development manager.

Planning consent, demolition and initial work has already been completed, and the 736ft (224m) tower is scheduled for completion in mid-2014.

The developers of the wedge-shaped building, which has been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, are yet to sign up a pre-let tenant, although there are already thought to be several companies interested in taking space.

The companies said yesterday a range of occupiers from the insurance, financial, professional and corporate business sectors have expressed an interest in the 610,000 square feet of office space available.

Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pension fund, manages C$16bn (£10.3bn) of real estate around the world. It is an investor in the Watermark Place development next to Cannon Street station.

Oxford Properties’ senior managing director in Europe, Paul Brundage, said: “In investment terms, this project is consistent with Oxford Properties’ strategic goals and is further evidence of our long-term commitment to, and confidence in, the London market.”

British Land chief executive Chris Grigg added that the Leadenhall Building “will provide the City of London with a unique combination of iconic architecture with world-class public and office spaces”.

Shares in British Land, the UK’s largest real estate investment trust with £8.9bn of assets under management, closed up 1.3 per cent at 529.5p.