Walkie Talkie set for debut letting

By James Buckley - Monday, April 02, 2012 15:02

Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group are close to agreeing terms on their debut letting at the iconic Walkie Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3, CoStar News can reveal.

Insurer Markel is in advanced talks to take around 60,000 sq ft of office space in the 690,000 sq ft tower in a move away from its current City headquarters at 49 Leadenhall Street, also EC3.

Markel, whose talks are the most advanced of at least six occupiers considering the 37-storey tower, will pay around £65 per sq ft.

The investor regeared its 70,000 sq ft lease in August 2010 on a short term lease for a further four years. The regear was intended to give Markel more time to find a suitable new HQ.

The insurance firm’s lease was originally due to expire last year.

Jones Lang LaSalle has since been handling Markel’s search, which has taken in the City’s insurance district. Buildings in EC3, including 70 Mark Lane, 6 Bevis Marks and 51 Eastcheap, have all been considered.

The City’s lettings market is being buoyed by occupiers in the insurance sector, with several large-scale requirements becoming more active this year.

Specialist underwriter Amlin, advised by Savills, is looking for around 100,000 sq ft of officess it weighs a potential move from the Aviva Tower, 1 Undershaft.

Royal & Sun Alliance, advised by AOS Studley Spring4, is looking at options to move in to up to 130,000 sq ft in the EC3 area ahead of lease expiries in 2014 at Leadenhall Court and Plantation Place 1.

Separately, Liberty Mutual, advised by CBRE, is understood to be reviewing options for between 60 and 80,000 sq ft as it considers a move from its home at Plantation Place South, 60 Great Tower Street.

All of these occupiers, as well as Brit Insurance and Miller, are understood to be considering the Walkie Talkie for a potential relocation.

Construction on the Walkie Talkie began in January last year with final completion anticipated in early 2014. When complete, the floor plates will range from 14,000 – 28,000 sq ft, and will bring of Grade A offices to a supply constrained central London market of 2014 as more than 3m sq ft of leases are expected to expire or see breaks potentially exercised per annum during the next four years.

jbuckley@costar.co.uk

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