British Land and Oxford Properties are in advanced talks to sell the “Cheesegrater” skyscraper in London, with reports indicating that the buyer is an investment company of Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung Kiu.
A sale of the distinctive central London office building will give an indication of the health of the UK commercial property market following last June’s Brexit vote. The Leadenhall Building, also known as the “Cheesegrater” due to its distinctive design resembling the kitchen utensil, is reportedly being sold to China’s CC Land for £1.02 billion ($1.3 billion) by owners British Land Co. and Oxford Properties Group Inc.
It was reported earlier in February that Cheung’s Hong Kong-based property vehicle, C C Land, was in talks to buy British Land’s 50% stake in the tower. “It is not certain that these discussions will lead to a sale of the building,” British Land said in a statement.
If successful, the deal will be the biggest single property purchase in the UK since 2014. The valuation would make it the second most expensive building sold in London behind the HSBC tower in the Canary Wharf financial district. The Chinese company beat state-owned rival bidders Korea Investment Corp. and Temasek Holdings of Singapore to secure the deal, according to a report by CoStar News.
British Land’s shares rose as much as 1.7% to the highest in more than a month. For British Land, the sale would allow the company to accelerate its transition toward campus-orientated office portfolios, while disposing of a building that is now fully let. The Cheesegrater has achieved record rents for London’s financial district of more than £100 per square foot. British Land plans to use the money raised from the sale to finance the construction of an office building at the Broadgate complex, next to Liverpool Street railway station.
The UK market has speculated that an overseas group would buy the building as the pound’s slide to multi-year lows since the Brexit vote has drawn in foreign buyers, especially from China.
What other iconic buildings with funny nicknames do you know? Here are some you may be familiar with:
The Flatiron Building
One of the most iconic buildings in New York. Originally called the Fuller Building, it is a triangular 22-story steel-framed landmarked building located at 175 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City.
The Bird’s Nest
The Beijing National Stadium was given the nickname due to its unique exterior that looks like a bird’s nest. The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics and will be used again in the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, also known as the Esplanade Theatre, is a performing arts centre in Singapore. It is colloquially referred to as the “Durian” by locals thanks to its spiky exterior (they are actually aluminium sunshades) similar to the king of fruits.
The Two ‘Jagungs’
This one needs no introduction. Our beloved Petronas Twin Towers is also sometimes affectionately referred to by locals as the twin ‘jagungs‘ (jagung means corn in Malay). They were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004, and remain the tallest twin towers in the world.