Goldman Sachs Allowed to Move Murals to Build London Offices
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) will be allowed to move a set of protected murals from a building in the City of London financial district, a decision that may clear the way for the investment bank’s new European headquarters.
The vote by the City’s council gives a Goldman Sachs unit the option to develop an office building at 70 Farringdon Street, about a minute’s walk from its existing London headquarters on Fleet Street.
Planning permission for a 54,400-square-meter (585,500- square-foot) office development at the Farringdon Street site was first granted in 2005 and renewed in September 2011. The murals, nine semi-abstract ceramic panels by artist Dorothy Annan, were listed for preservation last year and “incorporate stylistic images of telecommunications equipment,” according to documents given to council members in advance of the vote.
Goldman Sachs had been “somewhat concerned that their development may be scuppered” by having to keep the murals in place, Peter Rees, chief planning officer for the City of London, told council member’s today.
Joanna Carss, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs in London, declined to comment.
The murals will initially be stored and may eventually be displayed near the Guildhall School of Music, about a mile from the Farringdon Street site, the documents provided to the council said. Goldman Sachs’ new office building is unlikely to be a suitable location for the murals “at least in the view of the developers,” Rees said at the meeting.
Goldman Sachs bought an adjoining site at Plumtree Court in February, according to documents filed with the U.K.’s Land Registry. An application is expected for a “comprehensive redevelopment” of the sites, the City of London said in the documents provided to the borough’s council.
Goldman Sachs will have to show how it plans to “reduce the risk of sewer overload in this area” during development, the City of London told the New York-based bank’s planning adviser DP9 Ltd. in an Aug. 30 letter. The area is a “flood risk hotspot,” according to the letter.
Vibrations during construction may also lead “to water main bursts and or sewer collapses,” the City wrote. The borough released the letter following a request by Bloomberg News.
Goldman Sachs’s London Property unit had assets of 73.7 million pounds ($120 million) through December and paid 103.4 million pounds for a development site this year, according to a filing with Companies House in August.
Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd., controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau, bought River Court, part of Goldman Sachs existing European headquarters, from a group of Irish investors advised by Warren Private Clients Ltd. for about 280 million pounds last year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Callanan in London at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ross Larsen at Rlarsen2@bloomberg.net