Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Largest Reinsurer in Talks to Buy One of London’s Tallest SkyscrapersBy and
Insurer is said to weigh occupying part of tower, leasing rest
Brookfield secured approval for new building in 2017
Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, is in talks to acquire a plot that has approval for one of the tallest towers in the City of London financial district, people with knowledge of the plan said.
The insurer is negotiating to buy the One Leadenhall project from Brookfield Property Partners LP, and could use it as its new U.K. headquarters, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plan is private. Cushman & Wakefield is brokering the possible deal, the people said.
The company has looked at multiple developments and no final deal with Brookfield has been agreed, the people said. Spokesmen for Brookfield, Munich Re and Cushman & Wakefield Inc. declined to comment.
International investors haven’t let political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit deter them from buying property in Europe’s largest financial hub. Investment volumes in commercial real estate in central London rose 20 percent last year to more than 19 billion pounds ($26.5 billion), according to data from Savills Plc.
London’s skyline has been transformed since Swiss Re AG developed a high-rise headquarters close to the Lloyd’s of London building in the EC3 postcode about 15 years ago. The Gherkin, as the company’s tower has become known, has been joined by other developments including the Scalpel that insurer WR Berkley Corp. is currently developing as its new London headquarters.
The City of London Corp. approved Brookfield’s plans for a 36-story tower at One Leadenhall Street at the start of last year and work could get underway after Amazon.com Inc. vacates the existing 7-story building on the site later this year.
The proposed tower would be about the same height as the nearby Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street and have about 540,000 square feet (50,000 square meters) of offices and 50,000 square feet of stores. Munich Re could occupy as much as 150,000 square feet of space in the building and would seek tenants for the remainder, the people said.