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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Leadenhall Building, London, United Kingdom

British Land halt construction of landmark London build in preparation for construction cost reductions
British Land have confirmed this morning that London’s upcoming tallest building, the Leadenhall Building - nicknamed the Cheesegrater, has been delayed mid-construction in a money saving initiative following losses to the company of £572 million. The news follows the publication of British Land’s first quarter report yesterday and spurs concerns over the many commercial projects in the UK capital.

Designed by Richard Rogers, Leadenhall was due to rise to 736 ft and its 47 storeys would provide 612,000 sq ft of high quality office space. But with the market downturn, British Land have taken into account that office space is not at a premium and are looking into money saving measures on the scheme. They have already confirmed that the initial deadline of 2011 will not be met and are hoping that the project will now complete in 2012. Chief Executive Stephen Hester told UK newspaper the Telegraph:

"If we were to meet our 2011 schedule we would have to begin letting the property in 2010 and we don't believe we would be able to achieve premium rates at this time. We also think we are passing the peak of the contract cycle and steel prices are starting to fall, so we hope to get some of the costs down involved with the building."

Currently the project is at the demolition stage for the existing building, which is being deconstructed from the bottom up, but there is no indication as to when this will complete. As one of the most high-profile builds, and one which was already underway, the delay of the Leadenhall Building is further evidence that the UK construction industry is in crisis-mode brought on by the Credit Crunch. But the move by British Land and their confidence in construction cost reduction could mean a rope is due to be thrown to troubled developers.

Niki May Young
architecture NOW

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