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Walkie Talkie bags second letting

By James Buckley - Thursday, May 10, 2012 15:30

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Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group have agreed terms on the second letting at their Walkie Talkie office tower in the City, amid a wave of demand from occupiers in the insurance sector.

Insurer Kiln Group has gone under offer to occupy around 80,000 sq ft on the lower four floors of the Walkie Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3. Kiln is thought to have agreed a rent in excess of £60 per sq ft.

The letting comes hot on the heels of the 690,000 sq ft tower’s debut letting to Markel, which CoStar News revealed last month. Markel is under offer to take around 80,000 sq ft of office space in the 37-storey development in a move away from its current City headquarters at 49 Leadenhall Street, also EC3. However, both Markel and Kiln have not yet signed for the space.

Kiln Group occupies around 47,000 sq ft at 52 Leadenhall Street, EC3, where it has a lease expiry in 2014.

The City’s lettings market is being buoyed by occupiers in the insurance sector, with several large-scale requirements becoming more active this year. CBRE claims there are currently 13 insurers actively searching for a combined 1m sq ft in central London.

Specialist underwriter Amlin, advised by Savills, is looking for around 100,000 sq ft of offices as it weighs a potential move from the Aviva Tower at 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 1 Plantation Place.

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

Prudential is also looking for a new 60,000 sq ft HQ, and has hired Savills to conduct the search for options, which are expected to include The Shard, SE1, Heron Tower, EC2, and The Walbrook, EC4.

A source said: “It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Walkie Talkie could be a third let or under offer by the end of this quarter. The sudden surge of interest from insurance occupiers is creating competition which the City’s occupational market has lacked in recent months, which is expediting transactions.”   

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.

Newton Perkins advises Kiln Group. Knight Frank and CBRE act for Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group.

All parties declined to comment.

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