UBS awaits fate of new headquarters

Marion Dakers
THE DEVELOPERS of the new UBS headquarters on the Broadgate estate are set to find out as soon as this week whether the existing office blocks will be recommended for listed status, stalling progress on the £340m project.

English Heritage’s advisory board will meet on Wednesday to discuss the group’s recommendations, which will inform the government’s decision on whether to protect 4 and 6 Broadgate.

UBS and site co-owners British Land and Blackstone won planning permission for a new 700,000 square foot office block in April, but this could be superseded if the department for culture, media and sport decides to protect the 1980s estate.

Buildings normally become eligible for listed status 30 years after construction, but can be protected if they are under threat or are of outstanding quality. The Broadgate estate was first developed in 1985, short of the 30-year benchmark.

British Land called the moves towards listing “a terrible signal” to businesses at the weekend.

City of London policy chairman Stuart Fraser wrote last month in City A.M. that it would be a mistake to list the structures, and that the plans for the new building “aptly demonstrate the adaptability of the original Broadgate development concept and the vision of its architect, Peter Foggo”.

But others, including original Broadgate developer Sir Stuart Lipton and the Twentieth Century Society have called for the entire estate to be protected from demolition.

English Heritage said in a statement: “We have no desire to fossilise buildings and we refute any suggestion that listing does this – in planning, there is always a balance to be struck between creating ‘new and big’ and recognising the value of the existing.”

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