More than 200 prospective buyers have signed up to bid for the Gherkin after one of London’s most distinctive landmarks was put up for sale.
The winning bidder is expected to pay at least £650m to secure the building in the capital’s Square Mile. The Norman Foster-designed tower is being sold for the second time in its 10-year history after its current owners, private equity firm Evans Randall and German property investor IVG, defaulted on a loan. Savills and Deloitte Real Estate were appointed to conduct the sale after the building went into receivership in April.
Around 40% of the registered potential bidders are from Asia, according to Julian Stocks, head of UK markets at Deloitte Real Estate. He said: “Over 200 interested parties registered from all around the world. We will now be undertaking inspections and looking to move towards bidding in mid-September.”
Interest in owning the Gherkin has been fuelled across the world, with around one in five of the prospective buyers from North America and a further 15% from the Middle East. Gulf investors already claim ownership of Britain’s biggest tower, the Shard, which is owned by Qatar Holdings.
Stephen Down of Savills said that several sovereign wealth funds were among the prospective bidders. Although the list will be whittled down, he said: “I suspect there could be at least 100 institutions and ultra high net worth investors who could bid.”
Down said the Gherkin’s prominence had brought further international interest into an already booming commerical property market, with around £20bn worth changing hands in London last year. He said the sale had attracted “names that may not be looking at London generally. But because of its trophy status it’s brought out a few one-off investors.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010