Rents soar at London skyscrapers

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LONDON - In the City of London office market, fortune favours the bold.

Rents for skyscrapers with nicknames like the Walkie-Talkie and Cheesegrater rose faster than those for the rest of the financial district in the last three years, rewarding developers who started construction at a time when the economy was shrinking.

The financial crisis interrupted a plan for a cluster of distinctive skyscrapers on the eastern edge of the City of London starting with the Gherkin, which opened 10 years ago. Those who took the risk are benefiting from a surge in demand that is outstripping new space coming onto the market.

More than half of the 47- storey Leadenhall Building, also known as the Cheesegrater, has been leased ahead of its completion in June.

Land Securities Group and Canary Wharf Group have agreements with tenants for almost 90 per cent of 20 Fenchurch Street, the 155m Walkie-Talkie tower.

A decade ago, it was the Gherkin that "set the scene" for the new wave of skyscrapers, said designer Robin Partington, who led the Foster + Partners team that designed the tower.

"It certainly shifted a mindset for the skyline of London."

BLOOMBERG

Source: Straits Times: 7 May 2014