One of London’s most recognizable modern landmarks, The Gherkin, is in a pickle of a financial situation. The modern masterpiece designed by Norman Foster fell short of finding viable tenants who could pay their debts. After owners Evans Randall and IVG failed to pay back their loans, the building itself, also known as 30 St Mary Axe, was turned over to financial firm Deloitte, which has listed the London landmark for a cool $1.1 billion.
The phallic tower has had a short, yet torrid past. The Gherkin was originally owned by Swiss Re, financed with a loan against the Swiss franc, which has since risen to much greater value than the dollar and pound, making the company’s debt expansive. Swiss Re (who is coincidentally still a rental tenant) sold the iconic tower to Evans Randall and IVG in 2007 and then they also defaulted in 2009.
Fast forward to today and the 40 floor Gherkin is once again available. With 505,000 square feet of office space in the City of London center, the 10-year-old tower is expected to fetch around $1.1 billion, if not more. Aside from Swiss Re, the building still has 19 other tenants, including a reception hall for weddings.
But the Gherkin isn’t expected to be filled by another London company. Real estate agents anticipate interest from Middle Eastern or Asian companies, who will have the capital to back the sale. We hope the Gherkin’s future owner takes our lead, and decides to green-up the Foster icon.