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Towers promise £225m boost for capital work

A number of large commercial projects in the City of London are expected to be signed off by the end of the year, in a potential £225 million boost to the services sector.

Developers of the Walkie Talkie and the Cheesegrater – known formally as 20 Fenchurch Street and The Leadenhall Building – are in talks with partners about the skyscrapers, which have a combined development cost of almost £600m.

In other deals, Mace and Sir Robert McAlpine picked up a major commercial project each last week. Mace is understood to won the race to build London Bridge Place – also known as the Baby Shard, and thought to be worth £200m.

But Sir Robert McAlpine is thought to have beaten Mace to the £130m Milton Court tower job for Heron Properties.

The project is to build a 36-storey mixed-use tower, known officially as The Heron, on Silk
Street adjacent to the Barbican Centre in the City of London.

The pair have been locking horns on a number of big London jobs recently and are likely to be interested in bidding for the Walkie Talkie and Cheesegrater.

These office blocks are set to lead to a recovery in work in the City for services firms.
A source from a leading building services firm said: “A highly specified building can mean that up to a quarter of the total cost goes on services.”

“The specification of the Walkie Talkie is pretty high end.”

If this estimate is correct, it could mean £225m of work from these four projects alone.

The Rafael Vinoly-designed Walkie Talkie is expected to incorporate the following: 

Fan coiled or chilled beam air conditioning.
·  A double deck lift system with six low-rise and six high-rise lifts.
·Grey water recycling and rain water harvesting for the sky garden.

Three low carbon and renewable energy sources are being considered:

·   Tri-generation CHP
·   Fuel cell CHP
·   Bore-hole cooling

These are expected to be supplemented with PV cells on the south facing roof fins.

The latest London Crane Survey from consultancy Drivers Jonas Deloitte concluded that now  was the right time to start commercial new builds, with the development pipeline heading towards its lowest level ever and rising rents making profit-margins more appealing.

Only 530,000 sq m of office space is under construction, and only 93,000 sq m will be delivered in 2011 – which would be the lowest annual figure since the survey began in the early 1980s.