Laing O’Rourke Takes the Biscuit in Cheesegrater Race
Building construction and development firm Laing O’Rourke has reportedly won the contract to build the Cheesegrater tower – aka 122 Leadenhall Street – with a projected completion date of 2014.
The firm was in a head-to-head race with rival developer Skanska for the job, but according to the Construction Enquirer, they have been told that they have won the job – with one of the deciding factors being their shorter construction programme.
Pending an official announcement by British Land and Oxford Properties, the two backing companies who formed a 50-50 partnership to build the 737 ft tower, Laing O’Rourke will continue the works with a projected completion date of late 2014. Preparations for the site were finished back in 2008, which involved demolishing the old 122 Leadenhall Building and clearing the site to make way for the new office tower.
The site is now ready for construction work to commence.
According to reports this morning, one source told the Construction Enquirer that this is the “first major office skyscraper for O’Rourke in the City”, and that it will be a “statement in what is seen as one of the few growing markets at the moment.”
The source added: “It’s a great one to win and will put OΓÇÖRourke firmly back on the map in the London commercial tower market.”
Designed by Sir Richard Rogers, the 48-floor tower will provide 610,000 sq ft of space for the conventional office market at an estimated cost of ┬ú290m. Its distinctive wedge-shaped profile earned it the nickname of the Cheesegrater, much to the annoyance of British Land boss Chris Grigg, who was quoted as saying that the company are “not massive fans” of the pseudonym.
He said: “We think it will be a stunning piece of British architecture, so to call it a ‘Cheesegrater’ is very disappointing.”
However, akin to the fate that has struck so many iconic office buildings throughout Central London – including the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie tower and the Helter Skelter – the name has clearly stuck and it seems unlikely that its official title of 122 Leadenhall will be used as regularly as its favoured nickname.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” said Shakespeare, and so is true of the Cheesegrater. The building will add a new dimension to the City of London skyline and provide office tenants with incredible views and an enviable working environment. One of the building’s many highlights will be a 30-metre high atrium, along with exterior glass lifts and an adjacent public plaza.
The southern side of the building features a tapered glass fa├ºade – giving it that distinctive wedge-shaped profile – but which is designed to minimise the building’s impact on its neighbours and to preserve views of St Paul’s Cathedral.
If the tower is indeed completed by 2014, it will join several other major new developments vying to win large-scale office lease contracts during a projected period of office space shortage in the City. A number of break clauses and leases are set to expire in 2014, which is providing the impetus for current developments – such as The Pinnacle (aka Helter Skelter) – to be completed in time for the expected shortage of prime space.
Find out more and stay up to date with these developments online at officebroker.com/blog.
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