Project set to appoint development manager by end of year

London tower builders have been sounded out about the scheme to build the City’s tallest tower at 1 Undershaft as the project gears up to appoint a development manager before Christmas.

Building understands senior figures from Cheesegrater builder Laing O’Rourke, Multiplex and Mace met with top bosses from Singapore developer and client Perennial Holdings over the summer.

The soundings are understood to have been a series of informal talks with the three contractors over how they would build what will be the Square Mile’s highest building which will stand at just over 300m.

1 Undershaft Eric Parry

How the consented scheme for 1 Undershaft currently looks

Designed by Eric Parry Architects, the scheme has planning but has been undergoing a significant redesign over the past year to bring it up to date with modern building methods and issues such as carbon emissions. Among those working on the job are engineer WSP and cost consultant Aecom.

The current scheme was granted planning in November 2016 but the scale of the redesign could mean the proposals will have to be resubmitted again for full planning.

A development manager is due to be appointed in the next couple of months with 22 Bishopsgate developer Lipton Rogers, CO-RE, the firm behind the redevelopment of 120 Fleet Street, recently won by Lendlease, and Stanhope, which is also working on another tower scheme at 55 Bishopsgate for funder Schroders, all in the running for the job.

aviva tower

Source: Shutterstock

1 Undershaft will replace the existing building, the Aviva Tower (middle) designed in 1969 by GMW and built by Taylor Woodrow

Current tenant of the site, insurance giant Aviva, is due to move out of the 1960s building by the middle of 2024 with Perennial and the winning development manager then set to take control of the site.

No date has been given for when work might start although demolition of the existing tower, a 23-storey block designed in 1969 by GMW Partnership and built by Taylor Woodrow, is expected to take around a year meaning main construction work would probably not begin until late 2025.

Perennial is currently building a 50-storey tower called 8 Shenton Way in Singapore which is due to be completed in 2028.

But 1 Undershaft is significantly taller and will eclipse the 278m high 22 Bishopsgate, built by Multiplex, as the tallest in the City, putting it on a par with the Shard – built by Mace.

As well as 55 Bishopsgate, which will be close to 60 storeys and is due to go into City planners before the end of the year, two more towers are planned nearby at 55 Gracechurch Street, designed by Fletcher Priest, and KPF’s 70 Gracechurch Street.

A Stanhope team is developing the latter while Hong Kong firm Tenacity is behind 55 Gracechurch Street.