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City of London Approves Three Huge Schemes

Three huge new office developments for the City of London have been given the go ahead by the local council planning committee, One New Change, Watermark Place and the revised plans for the controversial Heron Tower on Bishopsgate.

One New Change occupies a sensitive site next to St Paul's Cathedral and is the first project designed by famous French achitect Jean Nouvel to be built in the U.K. It is a two block development containing 50,000 square metres of retail and office space spread over 6 floors complete with a novel totally open roof and roof gardens with public access made possible by a unique ramp solution that runs through the heart of the building. The developer of this scheme is Land Securities.

Watermark Place is the new 10 floor office and retail development designed by Fletcher Priest Architects for banking giant, UBS. The site is currently occupied by the infamous Mondial House, a 70s building shaped almost like a computer that was planned to have been the biggest switching house in Europe.

The new scheme sees the current building totally demolished with retail introduced on the lower floors and the structure set back more from the river opening up another valuable part of the bank of the Thames to public access that will be the largest riverside space in the City of London. Behind the dappled facades of glass will be about 75,000 square metres of office space.

Heron Tower meanwhile has had a long history through the planning process the culminated in a public inquiry, the developer missing the previous property cycle, letting out the current site for another few years to Norton Rose and then waiting for the markets to improve.

This delay has seen the planning climate change it become more acceptable to have 200 metre plus buildings in the City of London. With an extra four floors, three office floors and an additional restaurant floor at the top, the height has increased by almost 20 metres to 202.6m to roof and a whopping 242 metres to the tip of the spire. The shorter partner building remains unchanged.

If built before anything else that's currently approved this will make it the tallest skyscraper in the U.K beating the current record set by One Canada Square of 235 metres.

Developer, Heron International, plan to build the project speculatively immediately upon taking possession of the site in 2007. Their confidence in it comes partly from the KPF designed concept of splitting the tower into "urban villages" of three floors each making the 62,000 metres it contains much more attractive than larger less flexible skyscrapers such as the Minerva Tower.

Some preparatory has already begun on this, and work on all three schemes should be going ahead in 2007 in time for the developers to catch the next predicted boom in property in the City of London.

Article Related buildings:

One New Change

One New Change
Watermark Place

Watermark Place
Heron Tower

Heron Tower
Watermark Place London
Watermark Place London