The ‘Can of Ham’ – Another Addition to The City’s Skyline?
The alternative naming conventions that have plagued property developers in Central London for years are showing no signs of letting up, as The City’s latest prospective office building – the ‘Can of Ham’ – shows.
True to its nickname, the proposed semi-elliptical office and retail development in St Mary Axe is distinctly shaped like a can of imported water-saturated ham.
Designed by architects Foggio, it was initially set to undergo development by Targetfollow Property, and planning permission has already been accepted for a 24-storey office building to stand beside the Gherkin. But when two of the Targetfollow Group’s subsidiaries were put into administration last year, Targetfollow Property Holdings and Targetfollow Property Investment & Development, the development was acquired by administrators Deloitte.
Now, one of the world’s largest pension funds – the US-based TIAA-CREF, which invests on behalf of 3.5 million teachers and doctors in the US – is understood to have bought a key part of the site for the proposed development for around ┬ú20m.
The TIAA-CREF is thought to be increasing its profile in Central London, particularly in The City, and is hoping for a fast transaction for the ‘Can of Ham’ so it can take advantage of the current wave of development in the area.
According to online reports, the design suffered objections in 2008 during the initial planning procedures, with oppositions from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). The structure was described as creating an “uncomfortable and unattractive form both at street level and on the city skyline”. There were also concerns that the building was too similar to the Gherkin, one of the City’s most iconic and revered landmarks.
The 295 ft development will be built at 60 – 70 St Mary Axe, close to the Gherkin (located at 30 St Mary Axe). It is not permitted to exceed its agreed height due to the risk of compromising views of the Tower of London.
City planning officer Peter Rees commented: “The City welcomed the design of the site by the previous owner but inevitably new owners will review designs and methods of construction,” – suggesting that a fresh (and possibly less ham-shaped) design could be on the cards.
Either way, it is expected that The City’s skyline will be graced by a 295 ft building – shape TBC – at some point in the near future.
Administrator Deloitte has so far sold off chunks of Targetfollow’s property portfolio, including buildings and offices in Birmingham, Stockport, Norwich and London.
Image source – Construction Enquirer – depicting the future skyline of The City, when and if all current and proposed developments are completed.