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Old December 14th, 2005, 02:34 AM   #421
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High-rise boom raises the roof for property specialists

David Middleton reports on how planning teams have been central to law firms' real estate ambitions

The only way is up, and London's skyline is going vertical with a number of landmark high-rise buildings either approved, or waiting for the green light, while still more sit on developers' drawing boards or are in the creative dreams of architects.

The recent rise of the London high-rise has been generating plenty of big-ticket work for the City's top-notch real estate practices, and with increasing numbers of towers on the horizon, figuratively at least for now, that work is showing no signs of slowing down.

"Land is a finite quality, so you've got to build higher to get a greater density in the development," is how one City planning partner puts it. "The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister [ODPM] is keen to increase density and going vertical is an obvious way of achieving it," says another.

With the Government on side and a London mayor who is supportive, the developers and architects have been taking dreams off the drawing board and attempting to turn them into reality. Not all of them will wind up built, but there is still plenty of work for the lawyers.

From the purchase of the physical site, through the planning processes (which was described as "horrendous" and "awful", among other unprintable adjectives) to the finance and funding, letting, construction and ultimate disposal, the work streams are measured in years.

"Planning and construction really go hand-in-hand when you're talking about tall buildings, as developers have to take down what's there before you can get the new one up," says Linklaters planning partner Ray Jackson.

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) property partner David Battiscombe says: "These are pretty challenging projects and they require a multidisciplinary approach. I can't stress that enough. This is not your plain vanilla conveyancing. You're not going to find a guy who's split a house in Streatham doing these projects."

BLP and Battiscombe have the lead role on perhaps the most iconic development in the pipeline for London, the London Bridge Tower, better known as the 'Shard of Glass'. Battiscombe's team includes fellow partners Ian Lynch (property), John Hughes-D'Aeth (construction), Andrew Little (corporate) and Ian Trehearne (planning).

"The question everyone wants answered with these projects is, 'Will it get built?', and in this case I believe it will. There's a momentum behind it," says Battiscombe.

BLP also has the mandate for Liverpool developer Beetham Organisation's 500m mixed hotel-residential development near Blackfriars Bridge in Southwark.

"There's been no deliberate strategy to target this work, but by its very nature it requires a top firm to do it, like ours - but then, I would say that," says Battiscombe.

BLP's client for the Shard of Glass is Teighmore, a division of the Sellar Property Group. Following securing planning permission, the current work for the group includes advising on the procurement strategies for the construction of the tower and on the construction aspects of the pre-letting of the hotel space to five-star operator Shangri-La.

Shangri-La is set to take 18 floors of the Shard of Glass, a crucial tenant, as the developer has stated that at least 40 per cent of the floor space needs to be pre-let before construction will begin.

Clifford Chance secured instructions from Shangri-La on the back of a strong relationship with the hotel chain in the Asia-Pacific region out of Hong Kong. Clifford Chance global head of real estate Cliff McAuley is leading that work, with construction partner Alan Elias and planning partner Brian Hall.

Clifford Chance's magic circle rival Linklaters has perhaps been the biggest beneficiary of the boom in tower developments, scoring key roles on everything from the first of the new generation, such as 30 St Mary's Axe, or the 'Erotic Gherkin', to the latest proposal with momentum, the 1bn, 307-metre Bishopsgate Tower, which will be better known as 'Helter Skelter', developed by German property investors Deutsche Immobilien Fonds (Difa).

Linklaters also advised Heron on its approved 183-metre tower in Bishopsgate and has now submitted an application to extend the building by four floors on invitation from the London mayor.

Difa has been a big-spending Linklaters client since the mid-1990s, with real estate partner James Knox managing the relationship. Helter Skelter will reap big rewards for the firm, with planning partners Ray Jackson and David Watkins heavily involved at this stage.

Linklaters advised Difa on the 50m acquisition of the Radisson SAS Hotel at Manchester Airport last year and the same hotel chain at Stansted Airport earlier this year.

But unlike the Shard of Glass, Helter Skelter does not yet have its planning permission, with the application to be considered by the Corporation of London in the spring. "We're very confident of getting consent," says Jackson, buoyed by the knowledge that the ODPM is growing tired of planning inquiries over skyscrapers in the Bishopsgate area.

Herbert Smith is another firm that has secured big-ticket work on the back of a skyscraper, with real estate partner Patrick Robinson securing the mandate from Minerva for its approved 217-metre City office tower development at 138 Houndsditch.

"Herbert Smith know what they're doing; that project will do well," commented one partner at a rival firm.

Developer British Land is also in on the act, developing the 225-metre office tower at 122 Leadenhall Street, more commonly known as the 'Cheese Grater'. British Land is historically a major client for SJ Berwin; however, the firm has not secured work on this development from its key client, with Linklaters instead getting the mandate.

"The mindset of working for a developer as opposed to an operator is very, very different," says one source. "SJ Berwin know enough to work for the operators, but I'm not so sure they could handle the serious financial aspects to work for a developer."

SJ Berwin is, however, advising British Land on the 65-metre 201 Bishopsgate. Partner Lewis Myers says: "We have a very strong banking department with experience of lending on developments of all shapes and sizes."

But it has not been all smooth waters for the developers and their lofty ambitions, with English Heritage taking a tough stance on skyscrapers it sees as impeding historic London views. This has been a particular problem for the Bishopsgate area, which English Heritage claims detracts from St Paul's Cathedral. It is an issue that has been a bugbear for the planning lawyers on each development, although the ODPM has moved to rein it in.

"We've all had problems with English Heritage in one way or another on every single tall building development," one planning partner laments.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) is another body that developers have to appease, although traditionally this has been easier than pleasing the folk at English Heritage. Cabe's modus operandi is to promote high standards in the design of buildings and the spaces between them and it has been largely in favour of 'trophy buildings' that are architecturally unique.

Many of these projects will turn out to be pie in the sky, but the London skyline will change. So which of the competing firms can best ride the elevator to the top has still to be determined.



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Old December 14th, 2005, 02:57 AM   #422
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OMG thats a greattt skyline
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Old December 14th, 2005, 06:08 AM   #423
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London needs more towers.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 11:37 AM   #424
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That gap between Tower42 and DIFA, is there a plan for that place?
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Old December 14th, 2005, 12:03 PM   #425
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L-er
That gap between Tower42 and DIFA, is there a plan for that place?
It's only a gap from that angle, if you move further right or left on that bridge ther gap disappears. That said, it's only a matter of time before another tower is proposed to 'fill' the gap.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 12:15 PM   #426
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grrrrr, I really do love St Paul's Cathedral, probably more than any other building in London, but it is also a leaning stone for English heritage groups who say that building more SS wil obsruct views of it. Thanx for the article btw!

I also have to ask, as L-er did, what will be built to fill the gap between difa and tower 42? Maybe when a new batch of SS are proposed there will be an even better one to go there... we can only hope
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Old December 14th, 2005, 12:15 PM   #427
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But when will any of the towers start building!!!!!!!!
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Old December 14th, 2005, 07:34 PM   #428
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well, I'm living in the building where LBT will go, so they can't commence work till I'm out. But I've lost my car keys somehwhere in the building and for the life of me I can't think where they could be. It could take a while for me to find them and once I do, I'll move out pronto! Though don't get ure hopes up, I once lost my watch for 2 years before finding it again.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 08:26 PM   #429
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London Bridge Tower Early 2006
51 Lime Street - Under Construction
122 Leadenhall Street Late 2006/2007
Heron Tower - 2007 when Norton Rose move out
DIFA - Romour has it its recieved Planning Permission but no official word yet so no construction date set
Minerva - Late 2006/2007
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Old December 14th, 2005, 09:34 PM   #430
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80-88 Bishopsgate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Rabbit Slim

I also have to ask, as L-er did, what will be built to fill the gap between difa and tower 42? Maybe when a new batch of SS are proposed there will be an even better one to go there... we can only hope
Great Portland Estates are planning "a major redevelopment" on a site that could partly fill that gap.

Initial rumours suggested a skyscraper of around 250m+ ... we've heard nothing new since 2002 apart from the fact that the lease on the current buildings runs until March 2011, and that no construction will proceed until then. But they are DEFINITELY planning something major there. Whether it's a supertall skyscraper, we'll have to wait and see. We might see renderings of something big in the next 2-3 years.

The site address is 80-88 Bishopsgate, btw.

It would be the absolute perfect site for a skyscraper, being located in the dead centre of the cluster, and lying outside the viewing corridors of St Paul's cathedral and other heritage sites...
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Old December 14th, 2005, 09:36 PM   #431
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXSBass
London Bridge Tower Early 2006
51 Lime Street - Under Construction
122 Leadenhall Street Late 2006/2007
Heron Tower - 2007 when Norton Rose move out
DIFA - Romour has it its recieved Planning Permission but no official word yet so no construction date set
Minerva - Late 2006/2007
I doubt Leadenhall will start before 2008 - the lease on the current building runs until then.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 11:11 PM   #432
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[QUOTE=wjfox2002]Great Portland Estates are planning "a major redevelopment" on a site that could partly fill that gap.

Initial rumours suggested a skyscraper of around 250m+ ... we've heard nothing new since 2002 apart from the fact that the lease on the current buildings runs until March 2011, and that no construction will proceed until then. But they are DEFINITELY planning something major there. Whether it's a supertall skyscraper, we'll have to wait and see. We might see renderings of something big in the next 2-3 years.

The site address is 80-88 Bishopsgate, btw.

QUOTE]

In there last set of accounts GPE say they have appointed Allies & Morrision to work up a scheme for the site
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Old December 15th, 2005, 01:06 PM   #433
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXSBass
London Bridge Tower Early 2006

construction starts end of 2007 at the earliest
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Old December 17th, 2005, 07:48 PM   #434
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Good news! The legal row concerning the shard has been settled, and everything is fine!
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Old December 17th, 2005, 08:08 PM   #435
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Here is what i see starting next year, 100m+:

Beetham London: 220m
St Georges wharf: 181m
Wood wharf 1: 150m
Wood wharf 2: 150m
Crossharbour Tower: 142m
1 Milharbour scheme 2: 131m
Dome waterfront hotel: 130m
Hammersmith and Fulham tower: 122m
1 Harbour quay: 104m
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Old December 17th, 2005, 08:53 PM   #436
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lovely list there, and good see the legal wrangling has ceased too...
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Old December 17th, 2005, 09:53 PM   #437
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Yeah, that is a nice list, 9 100m+ towers, so all together it will be 14 in '06 if all goes to plan. (including the current ones)

It will be nothing compared to what we could see in '07, though!!!

Here is what i think will start in 2007, 100m+:

Shard/London Bridge: 310m
Bishopsgate tower: 290m
Heron tower: 242m
Riverside south 1: 214m
Riverside south 2: 190m
Vauxhall Cross Island Tower 1: 180m
Suffolk house: 180m
Doon street tower: 168m
22 Marsh wall block: 137m
Crossharbour building: 131m
Convoys wharf 1: 116m
City road Basin site A: 115m
Granite wharf 1:107m
Granite wharf 2:107m
Eagle house: 104m
Creekside industrial estate building: 100m
Vauxhall Cross Island Tower 2: 100m

That could be 30 100m+ Towers U/C in 2007 including the ones from now and 2006, too!

I also expect atleast another 20 proposals by the start of 2008, hopefully we could see another 1000ft+?

Last edited by newcastle kid; December 17th, 2005 at 09:59 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2005, 10:05 PM   #438
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Imagine a boat up the river towards the olympic stadium in 2012.

You have the much denser canary wharf, with all the activity going on in the distance, and then on either side of you you have the beautiful DIFA and the amazing Shard shining in the sun, like a gateway into new London...

wow...
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Old December 18th, 2005, 07:06 PM   #439
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Please replace that bloody shite bridge !!! grrrr
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Old December 18th, 2005, 07:20 PM   #440
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Great pictures!!, i hope i can go to the olympic games.
London will have one of the most spectacular skylines in Europe!.
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