Planning application for 240m RSHP-designed tower to be submitted in first half of next year

Multiplex is in pole position to win the job to replace the tower housing its own UK headquarters at 99 Bishopsgate in the City of London with a 240m skyscraper, Building can reveal.

The contractor, which is owned by the parent company of the scheme’s developer Brookfield Properties, is providing pre-construction advice on the 54-storey scheme currently being drawn up by Cheesegrater architect RSHP.

A full planning application will be submitted in the first quarter of next year shortly after a second consultation revealing more details on what the tower will look like, Building understands.

99 Bishopsgate shutterstock

Multiplex is providing pre-construction advice on plans to replace 99 Bishopsgate (pictured) with a 54-storey tower designed by Cheesegrater architect RSHP

Pre-application talks with the City started around two months ago, with the scheme likely to see the demolition of the site’s existing 28-storey building and its replacement with a tower with more than triple the floorspace.

A series of “satellite” buildings are also being proposed, including a standalone cultural building which is understood to be a condition required by City planners for the scheme to get the go ahead.

The project team so far includes Alinea on costs, AKT II on structural engineering, Ramboll on MEP services, Atelier 10 on sustainability, Momentum on transport, GIA on sunlight and wind, Trium Environmental Consulting on environment, The Townscape Consultancy on townscape and heritage and Andy Sturgeon as landscape architect.

Other members of the team revealed by Brookfield earlier this week include DP9 on planning and Kanda Consulting on communications.

RSHP is understood to have beaten a longlist of high profile architects including Foster & Partners, KPF, PLP and SOM in a private competition to win the design job, having impressed Brookfield with its vision for the site’s public realm.

Brookfield said its ambition for the scheme is to improve the public realm around the base of the building and is understood to be looking at a range of options including a Cheesegrater-style open area under the tower through which pedestrians can walk.

The developer, which owns the current 99 Bishopsgate building, has criticised the current block’s lack of active street frontage and permeability with surrounding streets.

The new scheme is also expected to feature extensive vertical planting, an elevated winter garden and terraces serving the upper floors, along with 2,000sq m of retails space.

Brookfield have proposed a building with a total of around 97,000sq m of floorspace, more than three times the current block’s 30,000sq m.

In a preliminary application submitted to the City earlier this month, Trium said the height of the scheme would be “in keeping” with the surrounding cluster of tall buildings, which includes PLP’s 22 Bishopsgate, which was built by Multiplex and is currently the tallest building in the City at 278m.

If built, the new 99 Bishopsgate could be the Square Mile’s fourth tallest, behind Eric Parry’s new 305m proposals for 1 Undershaft, 22 Bishopsgate and recently approved plans by AFK for a 269m tower at 55 Bishopsgate.

Risks to aviation have already been flagged by Heathrow airport, which said in a response to the preliminary application that the scheme “could conflict with safeguarding criteria”.

London City Airport also warned the tower had the “potential to conflict” with its safeguarding criteria and suggested a number of conditions be imposed on the application, including and assurance that the scheme will not impact Heathrow’s radar.