Banks have pledged £196m for the first phase of Renzo Piano's London Bridge skyscraper

Developer Sellar Property Group has secured interim development finance for the initial construction phase of the Shard at London Bridge.

The firm announced today that £196m was in place from a syndicate of banks led by Nationwide Building Society.

Part of the £196m is being used to fund the purchase of the PwC occupational lease of Southwark Towers – the building that will be knocked down to make way for the Shard.

The Renzo Piano-designed scheme will consist of two buildings – the Shard/London Bridge and the adjacent New London Bridge House – comprising a total of 1.6m sq ft around London Bridge Station.

PwC will vacate Southwark Towers by the end of 2007, but a deal has been struck to allow for earlier access to the building, which means enabling works can start sooner. Sellar said that this means the building will be ready for occupation between 2010 and 2011.

Sellar has secured the funding on behalf of the scheme’s joint venture called Teighmore. The JV also includes CLS Holdings and Simon Halabi’s Halabi Family Trust.

The interim financing comes on the back of last month’s announcement of a pre-let to TfL, which is taking 190,000 sg ft of offices on the lower floors of the Shard on a 30-year lease.

Shangri-La Hotels has also pre-let 200,000sq ft for a luxury hotel on floors 34-52 in the Shard.

Irvine Sellar, chairman of Sellar Property Group, said the existing building would be demolished next year. He said: “This represents a significant step forward for us. We can start demolishing the existing building towards the end of next year and deliver the completed project between 2010 and 2011. This financing also gives Teighmore time to consider its options for financing the construction phase of the project.”