Walkie Talkie to tower ahead

Kasmira Jefford
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LAND Securities’ Walkie Talkie will be the first of the City’s skyscrapers to be completed in 2014, taking advantage of a squeeze in new office space to attract prospective tenants, chief executive Francis Salway said yesterday.

The developer is pressing ahead with the 37-storey tower on Fenchurch Street in a joint venture with the Canary Wharf group and without the safety of an advance letting, despite the financial risk.

With 30 per cent fewer new developments going ahead in 2012-13 due to lack of financing and economic uncertainty, Salway expects to see a demand for new space.

He said the number of tenant enquiries had doubled in the last two months, as “companies that do need to move are realising that there isn’t that much new space being built.” His comments came as the group reported a seven per cent year-on-year rise in first-half net asset value per share to 863p, while pre-tax profits were down 17 per cent to £378.9m.