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1 Undershaft Wins Approval

1 Undershaft, which will be the tallest building in the City of London, has been approved by the Corporation's planning committee almost a year after the building first surfaced.

The scheme has been designed by Eric Parry Architects for Aroland Holdings Limited and features 130,000 square metres of office space plus 2,000 square metres of retail space. There will also be a viewing gallery at the top of the building of a greater height than that of the Shard, and importantly free to access. Hopefully, unlike the sky-garden that tops 20 Fenchurch Street, public access will also be substantially easier.

The project has purposefully cultivated London links and will have a viewing gallery and education centre run by the Museum of London at the base of the tower, an unusual form of planning gain for a commercial tower in the City of London.

Thanks to the massive structural cross-bracing that runs up the tower, much of the base of the tower is actually open and a new public square will be built under it with access to a raised ground floor reception of a similar manner to that at the Leadenhall Building.

Construction may be some time away as the plot is presently occupied by 1 St Helen's formerly the CGU Building which was the first tower to exceed the height of St Paul's Cathedral. The demolition of this building, considered to be one of the finest international style towers in London, will be the tallest yet undertaken. There's also no word though on whether the developer plans on constructing the building speculatively or waiting for a pre-let and to demolish the existing tower will require the developer buying Aviva (formerly CGU) out of the lease for the building have occupied since its construction that runs until 2024.

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