The Shard office block in Central London, soon to be one of Europe’s tallest towers, is now under construction and is slowly creeping up month after month.
Due for completion in 2012, The Shard will tower above the other office blocks in London at 310 metres. It will have 80 floors, 600,000 square feet of office space and a 5* hotel. It marks a major commitment to the London commercial property market at a time when many developers chose to freeze existing developments at the height of the recession. About a third of the office space has been pre-let to Transport For London but Irvine Sellars, of Sellar Property Group, now has a challenge ahead.
He promised his Qatari investors he would be able to achieve rents of around £70 per square foot – the highest rent amount since the 1980’s and a staggering 60% more than the best offices in the nearby financial district. Rents previously reached this height back in the 1980’s during the famous property boom – a far cry from the dishevelled state of the capital’s property market today.
Despite nearly two thirds of the building remaining un-let, Irvine Sellars remains positive that he can fulfil his promise.
In an interview last week he said; “We won’t be pushing the market — the market will come to us. Office rents reached £70 probably 25 years ago in the City of London, so we’ve been there before.”
Although office rents in Central London rose in the last quarter for the first time in 3 years, many believe Sellars will struggle to secure tenants at this elevated price.