Joint venture formed to develop City skyscraper

Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group have agreed a £500 million joint venture to develop London’s next large skyscraper.

Canary Wharf Group, the owner of the Docklands estate, will buy half the 690,000 square foot tower development for approximately £250 million, and will act as construction manager on the project.

The joint venture will be backed by sovereign wealth from China and Qatar.

The 150 metre-high, 37-storey skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3, is known as the Walkie Talkie due to its concave shape.

Work on the substructure and detailed design of the superstructure will start immediately, with completion of the ground floor level planned for February 2012. Construction of the superstructure will follow, with completion of the project anticipated in the second quarter of 2014.

Robert Noel, managing director of Land Securities’ London Portfolio, said: “Earlier this year we announced our intention to carry out this project in joint venture and we are delighted to have teamed up with Canary Wharf Group to do so. The joint venture brings together two substantial companies with complementary skills in the conception and delivery of large schemes in London.”

George Iacobescu, chief executive officer of Canary Wharf Group, added: “We are looking forward to this opportunity to apply our extensive experience as a developer of large, high specification and bespoke office buildings for a diverse range of clients. We are also delighted that on this occasion we will be working alongside Land Securities with its own impressive pedigree and track record.”

Over the past 20 years Canary Wharf Group has constructed over 15 million square feet of office and retail space in London; buildings that are now occupied by over 90,000 people. It has also developed and let over 200 shops, bars, cafés and restaurants.