One of London’s most iconic buildings, the Gherkin, has been sold to a Brazilian Multi-Billionaire in a deal reportedly worth £726 million.
Brazilian banker Joseph Safra, owner of the Safra group brought the 180 metre tower following the appointment of Savills and Deloitte Real Estate to find a buyer early this year.
The Safra Group said: “The acquisition of 30 St Mary Axe is consistent with our real estate strategy of investing in properties that are truly special – at the best locations within great cities” adding that they had grand plans for the development of the already world-famous building.
“While only 10 years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential.”
“We intend to make the building even better and more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants,” Safra Group said.
The Safra Group runs banking interests in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia that manage assets worth more than $200bn.
Joseph Safra, 75, is thought to be personally worth about $15bn.
30 St Mary Axe
The Gherkin (official name 30 st Mary Axe) was designed by Lord Foster, and constructed for the firm Swiss Re, who are still the largest occupier of the building, occupying 50,000m² of office space along with law firm Kirkland & Ellis. The pickled cucumber-shaped structure cost £183 million to build and was completed in 2004.
The building won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize in 2004 for its “elegant and impressive” design laid out over 41 storeys maximising daylight and natural ventilation. It also uses about 50% less energy than a typical building of the same size.
The building was last sold in 2006 for £600 million by Swiss Re, at the height of the last property boom.
It was bought by a fund managed by Germany’s IVG Immobilien and Evans Randall, a UK private equity group but over the last five years have been in default on the £395 million they borrowed to purchase the building.