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London's iconic Gherkin tower up for sale for £640 million

Gherkin expected to be snapped up by a foreign buyer

London's Gherkin skyscraper has been put up for sale after it was placed into receivership and could fetch up to £640 million.

The sale of the iconic City skyscraper will be jointly managed by Savills and Deloitte Real Estate and is likely to fall into the hands of a foreign buyer looking to acquire a piece of London's burgeoning property market.

"The Gherkin is one of London's famous landmark buildings and the most iconic office tower in the City’s skyline," said Jamie Olley, head of City Investment at Deloitte Real Estate.

"For investors, this prime office property provides an attractive combination of stable and reversionary income with opportunities to add value via asset management," he added.

The tower, formally known as 30 St Mary’s Axe, was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it for £630 million from original owner Swiss Re at the top of the market in 2007.

But the financial crisis sent its value plunging and the buyers defaulted on a £400 million loan from a five-bank consortium in 2009. The skyscraper was placed into receivership in April this year after Germany's IVG Immobilien, which co-owns the tower, filed for insolvency.

The Gherkin was commissioned by Swiss Re to replace the Baltic Exchange, damaged by an IRA bomb in 1992. Architects Foster and Partners designed the building, which would become one of the design companies most famous creations.

Work on the construction began in 2001 and the Gherkin opened three years later, with more than 76,500 square metres of commercial space including a club on the top floor with panoramic views.