City of London development thriving

The business heart of the capital is soaring. Just as the industry was welcoming the new tower at 22 Bishopsgate as the tallest building in the Square Mile, Singapore developer Aroland Holdings unveiled plans for 1 Undershaft – between the Cheesegrater and The Gherkin – at 73 storeys this raises the bar again.

22 Bishopsgate would double the floorspace of The Shard with some 2.2 million sq ft of space, if not exceeding its height. The developers Lipton Rogers and Axa Real Estate envisage the scheme as ‘London’s first vertical village’, providing a wide range of facilities on various floors, including an auditorium, gyms, restaurants, retail and spaces for leisure and learning. Construction is expected to start in February 2016 following a green light from the City of London’s planners.

1 Undershaft goes even further, with the architect Eric Parry describing it as ‘a building where the public are put first with a new public square at its base and the capital’s tallest free public viewing gallery at its top’, as well as helping to bring more desperately needed office space to the City. A planning application is expected next year.

The construction backdrop to these news stories is also interesting. Construction costs in the capital have already become the second highest in the world after New York, according to a report released in summer by Turner & Townsend, and British Land has stated that it is expecting construction costs for Central London sites are set to rise by 5-6% per annum. We are getting very close to an overheating market.