Minerva's City plans

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The Independent Online
ANDREW ROSENFELD and his Minerva property group are proposing the biggest building schemes in the City since Godfrey Bradman and Stuart Lipton built the Broadgate centre over Liverpool Street station in the 1980s.

Mr Rosenfeld has put forward plans to the City Corporation for 1 million square feet of prime office space on two sites in the Square Mile. The schemes will provide working space for 10,000 people and will have a combined value of over pounds 800m.

The first scheme is at St Botolph's House, near Liverpool Street, designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners. The 14-storey glass building will sit on a 1.3 acre site and will include a 450-seat auditorium with a suspended glass road running above it.

The second is as Walbrook, between the Bank of England and Cannon Street Station, designed by Foster & Partners. The latter will create scope for one of the City's biggest trading floors, rivalling anything available in Canary Wharf, a mile to the east of the City.

The shortage of the large floor plates needed for modern global trading operations in the Square Mile has been one of the factors behind the success of Canary Wharf in London's Docklands.

Analysts say that the City is facing a severe shortage of prime office space, despite a glut on the market of small, secondary office buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s.

The City Corporation has recently relaxed planning regulations in an effort to encourage bigger developments, thus staving off competition from Canary Wharf.

Both HSBC and Citicorp are building gigantic head offices in Canary Wharf. HSBC's will cost over pounds 500m and will be the biggest single-occupier building in the country, with 8,000 occupants.

It is understood that Minerva will not go ahead with its projects until it has signed up tenants. When completed it is expected to sell the buildings. Mr Rosenfeld and David Garrard, chairman of Minerva, floated the company three years ago and have a combined stake in it worth over pounds 100m.