Wednesday, 21 September 2011

International Firms Choose Village Life in the City as Ronson's Heron Tower Secures New Lettings

Despite a supposed slow down in demand for City office space, Heron International, the London-based developer led by the charismatic, Gerald Ronson and behind The Heron, the City of London’s most high-profile residential development, has announced a host of new lettings at its landmark multi-let office scheme, 110 Bishopsgate, the 230m tall tower that stands opposite Liverpool Street station, better known as Heron Tower.

Whilst joint letting agents CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield are only actively marketing the low rise floors at present – defined as those up to level 20 – just eight out of a total of 36 floors of Grade A office accommodation have been let in the 46-storey tower, the other 10 non-office levels being made up of plant, bar & restaurant and retail space. Several floors are known to be under offer, however with current tenant, McDermott Will & Emery set to exercise their option to take an additional 11,981 sq ft on floor 10, which will see them occupying the entirety of the three-storey, Village 3, firmly in line with Ronson's vision, whereby Heron Tower serves as the regional headquarters for anywhere between 20 to 25 high quality international firms.

Joining both the Chicago-based law firm and serviced office provider, Landmark Plc, who now occupy Village 6, across floors 17 to 19 are Partners Group, the private markets investment management firm based in Switzerland, who will swap the views from the 19th floor of the soon to be refurbished, One Angel Court for the 14th floor of Heron Tower, having signed terms to take 12,938 sq ft. City Credit Capital, the online FX (Foreign Exchange) and CFD (Contracts for Difference) broker will move from the 20th floor of nearby Tower 42 to part of the 12th floor after taking approximately 6,000 sq ft.

Chicago Trading Company, the derivatives trading firm will similarly move the short distance from the seventh floor of John Stow House at 18 Bevis Marks, which commands a rent of around £37.50 per sq ft, to the 16th floor of the Heron Tower where it has taken 11,969 sq ft. Finally, the Lithuanian bank, AB Bank SNORAS, which has maintained a London office on Lombard Street since November 2009, will move into the 20th floor, signing for 12,938 sq ft on what is the first of the high rise floors.

Whilst Heron International won’t reveal rental terms, it is thought that all four tenants are paying upwards of £62.50 per sq ft, which is impressive given the two major recent deals announced by British Land at 6 Broadgate and 122 Leadenhall Street respectively have both failed to break the £55.00 psf barrier. In the case of the Chicago Trading Company, it also shows the premium that firms are willing to pay for what is widely regarded as some of the very best space in the square mile.

Meanwhile, across the City on Silk Street, work on The Heron continues apace, with main contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine having now completed the main towers 36-storey concrete core. Given the residential nature of the building, concrete floor slabs have replaced the steel frame structure of the Heron Tower and these have now reached level 15. The elegant curtain wall cladding of clear, opaque black and dark grey glass, designed by David Walker Architects is following close behind and is now up to level eight. The £115m construction phase is due for practical completion in 2013.