I know theres threads on this already but its big news so deserves its own thread.
All systems go for Sellar's London Bridge office duo
Transport for London and PricewaterhouseCoopers linked with developer's two projects
By Daniel Thomas
The consortium behind the Shard tower above London Bridge station is to begin the development of Europe's tallest tower this year.
Developer Irvine Sellar told Property Week that he had a 300,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m) tenant ‘in solicitor's hands', giving him a mandate to start on site.
Sellar declined to name the tenant, but sources said the most likely anchor tenant for the tower is Transport for London or PricewaterhouseCoopers.
‘The funding package is close to being finalised, and we are in talks with two restaurant operators,' said Sellar. ‘This building will commence on site this year.'
The news comes as the consortium, which includes Irvine Sellar's Sellar Property Group, CLS Holdings, and Buckingham Securities representing the Halabi Family Trust, this week won planning consent for the adjacent Renzo Piano-designed office building, New London Bridge House.
Transport for London has been talking to the team at the tower for several months. The transport authority is looking to take up to 600,000 sq ft (55,741 sq m) of office space around London.
It is understood that the Greater London Authority body wants to separate this into three offices centred on transport nodes around the capital.
Sources close to the office search say that London mayor Ken Livingstone is keen for Transport for London to take at least part of its space at the building. Any such prelet would guarantee the finance to start the building, adding to the regeneration of the south London area that started with the mayor's own headquarters at More London.
The move could prove controversial as rents at the building were expected to exceed £45/sq ft (£484.40/sq m), while Transport for London is seeking a rent nearer to £30/sq ft (£322.90/sq m).
It is thought that the lower levels of the Shard are available for much less, however, and a deal could be struck in the next few months. Chinese hotel group Shangri-La has agreed to take 18 of the 66 floors.
Drivers Jonas is acting for Transport for London; Savills and CB Richard Ellis are advising on the Shard.
Sellar said New London Bridge House would also start on site this year, and that talks were progressing with potential occupiers.
New London Bridge House will involve the demolition of a 1960s office tower to develop a 600,000 sq ft (55,741 sq m) office and retail building. Cushman & Wakefield advised on planning.
He said: ‘We're very pleased with the planning decision as, although we were confident, all planning committees can be a bit of a lottery. Both buildings will be completed before 2011.'
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which occupies the site of the Shard, is also looking at the two buildings to house its office requirement, which could be for up to 400,000 sq ft (37,160 sq m).
A Transport for London spokeswoman said: ‘We are looking at all options at the moment.'