Construction on 33-storey scheme not expected to start before 2028

Stanhope is aiming to submit a planning application for its rejig of its 70 Gracechurch scheme in the City of London in the next couple of months.

The developer has gone back to the drawing board on the KPF-designed office tower in a bid to improve its sustainability after buying the site from Hong Kong firm Tenacity two years ago.

A full planning application will be submitted by July at the latest, according to the project team, although construction is not scheduled to start until 2028.

Original plans for a 33-storey tower were approved in 2021 but did not progress before Stanhope purchased the site in partnership with Cadillac Fairview, the real estate arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. 

The new scheme is expected to be the same height but will re-use parts of the site’s existing 10-storey building, currently occupied by Marks & Spencer, which would have been completely demolished under the former plans. 

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Stanhope’s new proposal for 70 Gracechurch

It will include three new cultural spaces consisting of two multi-purpose spaces and one pop-up market on the ground floor aiming to contribute to the Square Mile’s plans to become a ‘destination city’.

Much of the former project team is understood to still be in place, with the team for the new application including structural engineer Arup and transport consultant WSP along with planning consultant DP9.

An image of the new proposals appears to show changes to the facade of the consented scheme, including the removal of two vertical lines of planted terraces under plans due to be submitted later this year.

Stanhope senior development director Nick Jarman said the tower had been reimagined with a focus on re-using part of the site’s existing 10-storey building.

“Our development team have reimagined the plans for this prominent and brilliantly located site within the City of London, with a focus on sustainability and the reuse and retention of substantial elements of the existing building,” Jarman said.

“This will minimise the carbon impact of redevelopment, alongside creating new cultural spaces and routes for wider public benefit. We look forward to showing these emerging plans at the public exhibition and encourage people to come along and have their say.”

The revised plans come a month after the Square Mile formally approved plans to prioritise retrofit projects in planning decisions.

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KPF’s consented designs for the site

The City 2040 plan will require developers to take a ‘retrofit first’ approach and assign significant importance to the refurbishment of existing buildings over new build schemes.

The plan also intends to transform the borough into a ‘destination city’ with more cultural and leisure offerings, a vision which Stanhope said the new plans for 70 Gracechurch are aiming to align with.

Historic England criticised the design quality of KPF’s approved plans for the site prior to the plans being approved and warned that the scheme would harm views of St Paul’s Cathedral and reduce daylight at the nearby Leadenhall Market.

The 70 Gracechurch project is one of a group of proposed towers on the south-western edge of the main City cluster including neighbouring sites 85 Gracechurch Street, designed by Woods Bagot, and the 3XN-designed 60 Gracechurch which was unveiled by Sellar last week.