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London Walkie Talkie Owners to Shield Car-Melting Beam

Land Securities Group Plc and Canary Wharf Group Plc submitted a planning application to the City of London to install shades called “brise soleil” between stories three and 34 on the 20 Fenchurch Street tower, the companies said in an e-mailed statement today. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg
Land Securities Group Plc and Canary Wharf Group Plc submitted a planning application to the City of London to install shades called “brise soleil” between stories three and 34 on the 20 Fenchurch Street tower, the companies said in an e-mailed statement today. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The owners of the 37-story skyscraper in the City of London financial district known as the Walkie Talkie are seeking permission to mount sun-shading gear to block a car-melting light beam cast by the tower.

Land Securities Group Plc and Canary Wharf Group Plc submitted a planning application to the City of London to install shades called “brise soleil” between stories three and 34 on the 20 Fenchurch Street tower, the companies said in an e-mailed statement today.

The fix will cost in the “single digit millions” of pounds and take about six months to install, according to the companies.

The beam caused by the curved skyscraper concentrating the sun’s rays was measured at more than 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit) in September and melted parts of parked cars. The spot turned into an overnight tourist attraction, with one man trying to fry an egg in it when city temperatures hit 29 Celsius. The effect lasted for several weeks.

Local media re-nicknamed the building “Fryscraper” and “Walkie Scorchie.” The owners draped a black curtain over the top third of one side of the building as a temporary solution.

Lloyds Proximity

The building, which benefits from its proximity to the Lloyds of London insurance market, is 64 percent leased, according to the statement. Deals for another 23 percent are awaiting legal confirmation.

Tenants that have signed leases include RSA Insurance Group Plc and units of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., according to Land Securities’ website.

The 509-foot building, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, is due to be completed in June. The higher floors are larger than those below, creating more space on less land. The curved glass slants down toward the street and creates the magnifying effect, which was also blamed for setting fire to a doormat at a nearby barber shop.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Gower in London at pgower@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ross Larsen at rlarsen2@bloomberg.net

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