The Connecticut-based insurer has UK staff operating from Manchester office space and City of London office rental on Lime Street, EC3. The new City office is likely to become the UK headquarters for W. R. Berkley Insurance (Europe).
Limited Site assembly work has already begun with the acquisition of a 98,000 sq ft of EC3 office space at nos. 52-54 Lime Street last year. Berkely paid PRUPIM £38m for the building and is now understood to be in negotiations with Legal & General to purchase the neighbouring property at 34 Leadenhall Street.
KPF Architects has been appointed to produce a redevelopment scheme for the City of London office site. The firm most recently designed the Heron Tower, which was formally opened last year. City of London planners will consider the development proposals and if approved the ‘Berkley Tower’ would first skyscraper scheme to win approval for almost four years.
Back in 2008, The Pinnacle at 100 Bishopsgate, was the last high rise scheme consented by the City of London Corporation. Berkley’s proposed skyscrapers would join a select list of five office towers that are currently being built in the City of London. The most notable among these rival schemes are the ‘Walkie Talkie’ tower and the ‘Cheesegrater’. Both of these eye-catching skyscrapers have secured pre-lets from major international insurance companies, with Markel taking space in the former, while Aon is set to occupy 191,000 sq ft within the later.
Commenting on the strength of demand for City office space from insurers, Savills’ director of commercial research, Mat Oakley said "The insurance industry is to some extent counter-cyclical, and that explains what is happening... It is a sector going through consolidation and expansion, hence the need for new space."
WR Berkley’s spokeswoman said: “WR Berkley can confirm it has appointed the world class architects KPF in respect of an office development scheme at 52-54 Lime Street in London. Our plans are in development and are engaged in discussions with the Corporation of London. We will make an announcement in due course once we have finalised our proposals.”