London’s famed ‘Gherkin’ on sale for £650m

London’s landmark ‘Gherkin’ office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital’s skyline, went on sale for about £650 million (US$1.1 billion, 820 million euros, S$1.37b) on Tuesday (29 July) after being placed into receivership.

Property firms Savills and Deloitte Real Estate were jointly instructed to sell the 41-storey block in the city’s financial district. The building looks like a glass gherkin, rising out of the City of London financial district.

This was after lenders to the current owners — German property firm IVG Immobilien — became frustrated at its attempts to restructure debt. IVG Immobilien bought the building in 2007 but the business struggled to repay its loans after the financial crisis, forcing lenders to bring in receivers Deloitte on April 24.

Savills said it expected bids from “all corners of the globe” for the Norman Foster-designed building, which is expected to be sold by the end of the year.

Jamie Olley, Head of City Investment at Deloitte Real Estate, called the property “the most iconic office tower in the City’s skyline”. “The property will appeal to a wide range of domestic and international investors and we are confident of maximising returns to the receivers and creditors,” he added.

Officially known as 30 St Mary Axe, the tower with its distinctive curved glass sides was designed for reinsurer Swiss Re, and opened in 2004. Swiss Re sold it to IVG Immobilien for £600 million.

The building has featured in a number of films including boy wizard adventure “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and Woody Allen’s London-set melodrama “Match Point”.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 29 Jul 2014

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