Controversial UBS property gets go-ahead

Marion Dakers
THE CITY of London awarded planning permission for UBS’s new UK headquarters at 5 Broadgate yesterday, though campaigners lobbying to give the existing block listed status could yet get the decision overturned.

The new 700,000 square foot office block would be built by British Land and Blackstone, which own and manage the Broadgate estate near Liverpool Street, at a cost of £340m.

UBS has agreed to a headline rent of £54.50 per square foot, and will continue to pay rent on its existing Broadgate offices before moving to the new building in 2016.

But the Twentieth Century Society is pressing English Heritage to recommend Broadgate for protected status in a report due next month.

City planning officer Peter Rees pushed for the new project at the meeting, claiming that original Broadgate architect Peter Foggo was unhappy with the finished buildings and their distinctive red cladding.

Rees said in a statement after the meeting: “The City of London works hard to ensure that new developments represent the best of contemporary architecture while respecting our cherished network of alleys and open spaces – the gossip channels of the Square Mile. 5 Broadgate succeeds on both counts.”

The properties at 4 and 6 Broadgate are largely vacant, with agent DTZ assigned to find short-term tenants to rent small spaces until demolition starts later this year – pending the English Heritage report.