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Land Securities in talks to restart £300m Walkie Talkie tower

Land Securities is in talks with potential joint venture partners about restarting the Walkie Talkie skyscraper after seeing a “sharp turnaround in the UK commercial property investment market”.

In its results for the year to 31 March 2010 Land Securities said it is in talks to find a joint venture partner for 20 Fenchurch Street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie – a £300 million 36-storey skyscraper in the City of London.

Land Securities said today they are looking to start on site in January 2011 with the building work completed by Q1 2014. The developer will update on its progress in November.

The group has four other central London developments underway producing 110,170 sq m for delivery between 2010 and 2013.

A further 111,100 sq m of London development and refurbishment opportunities are currently at design stage while 272,200 sq m of London development schemes have secured planning permission.

In its results Land Securities said the UK commercial property investment market  saw rapid recovery in the second half of the year.

Chairman Alison Carnwath said: “Our aspirations certainly match our capabilities, as our desire to restart the spectacular scheme at 20 Fenchurch Street underlines.”

Land Securities portfolio rose in value by 10.3 per cent to £9.5 billion in the year to March 31 while net rental income fell 12.1 per cent to £567m over the period, largely because of asset sales.

Land Securities chief executive Francis Salway said: “During the year we stood back and tested our strategy. The review reaffirmed our confidence in the opportunities we see in the two largest segments of the UK commercial property market, London offices and retail.

“We have an unrivalled pipeline of potential projects in our London Portfolio, with over 110,000 sq m of developments already underway and up to a further 400,000 sq m of development and refurbishment opportunities.

“In retail we have plans aligned to the ongoing evolution in the sector and, through a focus on leasing and delivering occupier led developments, we will drive growth in capital values.

“We maintain our view that property values will rise over the next five years but, with the likelihood of volatility in consumer spending and business investment, the path may not always be smooth.

“We see any ripples in the trajectory as being likely to offer attractive buying opportunities. We believe strongly that, in our balance sheet, the skills of our people and our plans for our portfolio, we have the platform to create long-term value for our shareholders.”

Yesterday rival developer British Land said that it was reviving plans to build the Cheesegrater tower on Leadenhall Street, close to Land Securities’ planned development.