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‘Scalpel’ tower gets go-ahead in London

Planners in the City of London have officially given the go-ahead for developers to start work on the so-called ‘Scalpel’ tower, which is set to become the European headquarters of the US insurance giant WR Berkley.

Designs created by the architect firm Kohn Pedersen Fox were revealed last year and incorporate the creation of roughly half a million square feet of commercial space. Most of that space will be Grade A offices but there will also be a restaurant and some retail areas as well.

WR Berkley is to fund the project and will work with the Property Group Partners (PGP) to see the ‘Scalpel’ emerge onto the City of London skyline over the course of the next few years. The insurance firm looks set to occupy roughly a quarter of the offices that will be made available within the tower.

William R Berkley, chairman and chief executive of WR Berkley said that because his company is to finance, develop and eventually occupy the building at 52-54 Lime Street, its plans represent a “real, financial and physical commitment” to the British capital.

“We are delighted to have received the backing of the City of London today. We continue to develop our business operations in Britain and Europe,” he said.

“We plan to build on London’s rich heritage in the insurance sector by creating a fantastic new headquarters for our European business in the heart of the City of London.”

The ‘Scalpel’ is the latest in a series of major office space development projects to be undertaken in the City of London and specifically in the insurance district in recent years. Others include the under-construction towers dubbed the Cheesegrater and the Walkie-Talkie, both of which will be over 500 ft tall on completion.

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