New tall building at 55 Gracechurch Street approved as developers embrace post-pandemic office trends
The City of London Corporation has today (26 January) granted planning permission for a 30-storey office-led development in the City Cluster, the Square Mile’s first tall building approval of 2021.
The approved Tenacity scheme at 55 Gracechurch Street, located between Monument station and Leadenhall Market, embodies many of the emerging trends for post-pandemic office space – delivering a ‘workplace destination’ alongside extensive retail, cultural, public art and open space.
The new office areas will include social and breakout zones to promote collaboration and innovation, and the building’s floorplan offers space for large businesses as well as SMEs and growth stage companies.
Seeking to achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, the first tall building in the City Cluster to do so, the development includes sustainability measures such as re-using and recycling building materials, being highly energy efficient and innovative systems which allow for free cooling for most of the year.
An ambitious urban greening approach including extensive green walls, green roofs and tree planning will reduce noise and air pollution while providing access to nature and biodiversity.
A free-to-access garden terrace, offering a suspended treetop walkway and panoramic views across London, will also be made available to the public. An innovative ceiling system will harvest rainwater to simulate rainfall to irrigate the plants.
Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, Alastair Moss, said:
“We remain positive about the long-term future of the City office despite the current lockdown. It is fantastic, therefore, to see this significant vote of confidence from the developers of 55 Gracechurch Street.
“The building design embraces emerging development trends, such as flexible workspace, greening and access to fresh air – all of which were rising trends that have now been embedded into building design as a result of the pandemic.
“Of particular merit to this development is an innovative ventilation strategy which uses fresh air, filtered from outside, to cool the office floors.
“The development will even reuse stonework from the existing building and include recycled steel with a commitment of an impressive 98% diversion of construction waste to landfill.”
Founder and CEO of The Tenacity Group, Patrick Wong, said:
“Today marks a significant milestone for us and underlines our commitment to the City of London and the future of truly sustainable office buildings in the City.
“Despite the events of the last twelve months and the changes and challenges that we have all witnessed, Tenacity is quite clear that the era of the office is not over. Far from it. We believe the future is bright for the right kind of space – space that 55 Gracechurch Street will provide – that embraces sustainability and provides flexibility, puts the needs of the workforce at its core but also engages with the wider community around it.
“Today’s decision reinforces that view, and we look forward to working with the City to bring our vision for 55 Gracechurch Street to fruition.”
The approved 55 Gracechurch Street scheme offers more than 34,000sqm of office, almost 2,500 sqm of retail and more than 1,600sqm of publicly accessible garden terrace and space for cultural programming.
It is entirely car free, instead offering more than 500 cycle parking spaces and enhancing the pedestrian experience by widening pavements and reinstating historic and introducing new pedestrian routes at ground floor level.
A number of other tall building proposals for the City Cluster are expected to be decided upon by the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee this year.