Insurer JLT to shun City skyscrapers

Marion Dakers
INSURANCE broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson is close to signing for office space in a new development at 80 Fenchurch Street, industry sources have told City A.M.

The insurance firm, which is currently based at 6 Crutched Friars, had been linked with flagship City towers including the Cheesegrater, but is now understood to have ruled out taking space in a skyscraper.

Twinlite, an Irish property developer, hopes to build a nine-storey block designed by architect Foster + Partners on the 80 Fenchurch Street site, which is due for completion in 2013.

Shieldpoint 78, an Isle of Man-registered firm named as the developer on planning applications, could start work as soon as this month after winning permission from the City of London in late January to demolish the empty buildings at 78 – 87 Fenchurch Street.

However, work could be delayed by New College, Oxford, which owns the freehold land underneath the buildings and has so far withheld its permission for work to begin.

A spokesperson for JLT declined to comment on 80 Fenchurch Street, but told City A.M.: “We have been looking at various options and aren’t in any agreement at a contractual level.”

Shieldpoint 78 and Twinlite could not be reached for comment.

The developers of several City towers including the Cheesegrater, Walkie Talkie and the Shard are currently hunting for tenants to sign for office space in their developments ahead of completion in 2014, while the investors financing the Pinnacle have asked for a large pre-let before they grant further funding.

London has seen a resurgence in large office builds over the last 12 months, with developers keen to cash in on an expected space squeeze after 2012. Some have restarted projects that were shelved during the recession.