AXA Buys London Pinnacle Site for Redesigned Skyscraper

By and | February 20, 2015

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, the property unit of France’s AXA Group, has bought the London site of the halted Pinnacle skyscraper and plans to build a tower of its own design.

The building at 22 Bishopsgate will have more than 1 million square feet (93,000 square meters) of offices, shops and restaurants, the Paris-based company said in a statement Friday. It’s paying £300 million pounds ($461 million) for the property, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The City of London is facing a shortage of office space after developers struggled to get funding during the financial crisis and construction projects like the Pinnacle halted. Office vacancies in the district will reach a 15-year low of 4.8 percent this year, BNP Paribas SA’s real estate unit said last week. Construction of the redesigned tower is scheduled to begin by the end of this year and be completed by the end of 2018.

“While we in the property team adore skyscrapers and the evolution of London’s skyline, timing for this development again looks at risk of being late to the party,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts including Tim Leckie said in a note Tuesday. “The 12 to 18 months letting environment after completion, especially for large-scale developments, is crucial for achieving full occupancy.”

Construction stopped on the Pinnacle in 2012. AXA Real Estate has hired Lipton Rogers to develop the property, which will be designed by PLP Architecture.

“The acquisition of 22 Bishopsgate represents a significant opportunity to purchase a prime office development site at one of the most desirable office locations in the City of London,” Anne Kavanagh, global head of asset management and transactions at AXA Real Estate, said in the statement.

–With assistance from Neil Callanan in London.

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