Home > News > Skyscraper News > London > United Kingdom > Former CGU Headquarters Sold

Former CGU Headquarters Sold

The former CGU tower in London, which was once the tallest building in the City of London and the first to exceed the height of St Paul's Cathedral has been sold for just shy of 290 million.

These days called St Helens after the church it stands near, the building is occupied by the insurance giant Aviva which is the offspring of CGU who originally built the 56,000 square metre tower in the sixties.

The new owners, the Malaysian Kuok family, are rumoured to be considering redeveloping the site with an 80-storey building. Although in a prime location, such a tall skyscraper would lead to sight-line issues, and that's without also taking into account the tower is considered the prime example of International Architecture in London, with many finding it surprising it isn't listed.

Although this may be the case, the 118 metre tall design from GMW Architects was completed in 1969 and is definitely old enough to secure a listing as a historic building. Counting against this may be the fact that the tower was badly hit by the Bishopsgate bomb of 1992 that completely destroyed the Baltic Exchange meaning that it has no original exterior left thanks to the subsequent reclad. Followers of the Theseus' paradox may muse as to whether this still constitutes a historical building.

Despite this, with the demolition of Drapers Gardens, 20 Fenchurch Street and the former P&O Building on Leadenhall Street, it is the only surviving example of top-down construction in London making it structurally important even if the original detailing is missing.

The other issue against redevelopment is that Aviva remain the occupiers of the building, and appear to be quite happy that it remains their corporate headquarters. With it fully-let and relatively modern already, it provides a healthy rental income for the owners.

Whether the Kuoks ever actually manage to redevelop the tower remains to be seen. They aren't the first owners of it to have such aspirations, but ultimately it could be they will be happy to just sit on the yield from the rent.

Article Related buildings:

St Helens

St Helens
20 Fenchurch Street

20 Fenchurch Street
122 Leadenhall Street

122 Leadenhall Street
St Helens, London
St Helens, London