Work gets underway on Land Securities’ and Canary Wharf Group’s £500m London skyscraper

Construction work has begun on Land Securities’ and Canary Wharf Group’s £500m London skyscraper, dubbed the ‘Walkie Talkie’.

The Rafael Viñoly-designed tower at 20 Fenchurch Street will be 37-storeys high.

The 690,000 sq ft project was shelved in 2009 due to the recession but was resurrected last October when Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group agreed a 50-50 joint venture.

Work officially got underway at a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday. Final completion of the project is expected in early 2014.

Canary Wharf Group chief executive George Iacobescu said: “It’s a fantastic combination – it’s a dream ticket to have these two big developers working together. It’s going to be a boost for the London economy.

“This is our second project in the City and we hope to continue our diversification by working in the West End and the City.”

Robert Noel, managing director of Land Securities’ London portfolio, said: “In January 2010 we were the first property company to commit to starting major developments in London in this cycle, as we saw a supply constrained market evolving for prime office space between 2012 and 2014.

“In starting work on 20 Fenchurch Street with the Canary Wharf Group today, we begin an exciting journey that will bring together our complementary skills in development, leasing and construction to create a new landmark for London.”