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WR Berkley buys London space for skyscraper | 13 July 2012

US insurance firm WR Berkley has announced it is to build on its European portfolio with a 40-storey building in the heart of London’s financial district, ft.com reports.

The area surrounding the Bank of England was once dominated by banking superpowers, although many moved to Canary Wharf on the promise of lower rents and large trading floors. Average rents for prime offices in Canary Wharf are at £36 per square foot per year, for example, whilst the figure is closer to £55 in the city.

As the trend for banks to move away took place, insurers became the premier tenants of the financial district and this looks set to continue following the announcement by WR Berkley.

WR Berkley has already bought the land it wants to develop and has called on architect Kohn Pederson Fox to design the building.

The announcement follows similar developments by other high profile insurers including Aon which signed the lease on a 191,000 square foot building now commonly nicknamed the “cheesegrater” for its similarities to the kitchen product. Elsewhere, fellow insurers Markel also signed up for a new property in London, putting itself down as first tenants for the ‘Walkie Talkie’ tower currently being built.

Speaking to reuters.com of the trends surrounding rents in the capital, director of commercial research at property broker Savills, Mat Oakley explained: “The insurance industry is to some extent counter-cyclical, and that explains what is happening.

“It is a sector going through consolidation and expansion, hence the need for new space.”

Written by David Howells on behalf of Qube Global Software

While posted by Qube Global Software all views expressed are not necessarily those of the company. All facts are verified where possible directly by the author.

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