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Bovis tunes in to cut down City 'walkie-talkie' tower

CONTRACTS - COMMERCIAL

BOVIS Lend Lease is negotiating a £205 million deal to build a new office block in the City of London dubbed the 'walkie talkie' tower because it looks like a handheld radio.

The development has been at the centre of a planning dispute for the past few months over its proposed height. Planners were concerned that it could block some views of London.

But after a meeting at the Corporation of London last month, developer Land Securities has decided to reduce the height of the 45-storey tower by nine storeys to preserve views of St Paul's Cathedral from Ludgate Hill.

This has had adverse implications for the developer as the top of the tower contains the most f loor space.

A spokesman for Land Securities said: 'We discovered there was a problem with the view from Ludgate Hill and we are working on revisions.'

Located on 20 Fenchurch Street between Aldgate and Monument tube stations, the current building is a 20storey 1960s tower occupied by investment banker Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

This building will be completely demolished to make way for the revised 150 m high development designed by New York architects Rafael Vinoly.

A decision on the tower's revised plans will now go before a planning committee in September.

If this redesign is given the go-ahead, Land Securities hopes construction will start next year. Completion has been inked in for 2011.

One insider at Bovis Lend Lease said: 'We can confirm we are currently negotiating on this but there is still a long way to go. I don't think a contract award will be made until next year.'

Any deal will mark the latest in a series between Land Securities and the contractor which has seen the pair link up for the £300 million St David's Shopping Cent re in Cardiff.

And Bovis is in final negotiations for the £200 million One New Change building, a stone's throw from St Paul's Cathedral.