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JP Morgan Opt For 25 Bank Street

American banking giant JP Morgan has decided to plump for 25 Bank Street in Canary Wharf choosing the former Lehman Brothers headquarters over Riverside South.

Designed by Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners, Riverside South was to be the largest single office complex in Europe with two towers of 236 metres and 191 metres. With a further 70-metre tall building straddling between them that would contain the trading floors the total amount of internal space on offer was approaching 335,000 square metres with landscaping planned on top of this to help tie the site in to Westferry Circus and fill what is a piece of the missing jigsaw puzzle for the area.

Piling was started on the scheme back in June 2008 by Canary Wharf Contractors, with additional minor changes made to the scheme to tweak it as raft work progressed on the foundations throughout 2009. In contrast, the latter half of 2010 has seen work almost completely halted.

Despite being seemingly negative, the news isn't necessarily bad for Canary Wharf. JP Morgan paid 237.98 million for the Riverside South site, half of the construction costs for Canary Wharf contractors, and will have to pay another 76 million as a result of breaking the contract with Canary Wharf. On top of that Canary Wharf will receive a payment of 495 million for 25 Bank Street from JP Morgan and 144.5 million from AIG who insured the Lehman Brothers lease.

As foundation work already done the site has been secured against the nearby River Thames and is still ripe for development. It seems unlikely, given the scale of existing proposals, that they will be able to go ahead in this climate, something JP Morgan asserted in the original but now modified press release.

With this in mind, and the early indications from both Canary Wharf and JP Morgan, it appears they will continue to work together building the scheme only up to ground level, although quite what happens to the site now is anyone's guess as the foundations can be adapted for a variety of
uses and structures.

Regardless of this, it is a valuable plot with approval for tall buildings that in the medium term could prove another interesting chapter in the continuing evolution of Canary Wharf.
Riverside South
Riverside South