The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Boy From Brazil Lifts London Trophy Building

10 November 2014 | Updated 01 January 1970

Bids for the old Swiss Re building at 30 St Mary Axe aka The Gherkin were lodged recently from around the world with the expectation that a number of financial institutions would take shares. The agents for the sale (Savills and Deloitte Real Estate) had in excess of 200 interested parties. It has just transpired that a single Brazilian-Swiss Bank (J. Safra Sarasin) has scooped the lot for a reported £700 million.

The J in J Safra stands for Joseph - who is said to be responsible for the bold move despite European operations being conducted by his son Jacob. Joseph is the patriarch of the Brazilian connection that bought Sarasin and merged European and North American operations into it. The original Brazil Safra bank's wealth comes from old money - the Safra family can trace its history from Persia and Syria to the New World. Safra Asset Management has offices around the world including Mayfair in London. Safra owns property around the world including high-profile properties in New York. In a press statement, The Safra Group said 30 St Mary Axe has excellent value growth potential. We intend to make the building even more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants.

The Gherkin - or Aubergine as Sir Norman Foster wanted its moniker to be back when it opened in 2004 - was sold by Swiss Re (which is short for Re-insurance) for a profit in 2006. Though Swiss Re remained (and still remains) as a tenant, the fund that bought the building (a partnership between Germany's IVG Immobilien and UK Evans Randall) defaulted on loans and the property went into receivership. It has taken this long to find a buyer as no-one was prepared to step in and take a risk even at a knock down price during the recession...this was partly why a consortium was expected to be formed.

But now property, especially in London, is booming, the boy from Brazil is sure to be confident of making a Real or two as he single-handedly lifts one of London's trophy buildings.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 10 November 2014


Related Articles

Sinking Feeling Over Leisure Facilities

Leisure centres could fall into a state of disrepair and even be forced to close without urgent new investment from government, councils have warned. The Local...

 Read Full Article
Piccadilly Lights - LandSec's London Landmark Re-lit

London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights were switched back to life on October 26 after a nine month period of renovation. A spectacular display of colours, which were...

 Read Full Article
Buildings Of The Future - Time To Rethink The Bottom Line

The availability of measurement models that accurately reflect return-on-investment is often the biggest hurdle in the design, construction and maintenance of Buildings...

 Read Full Article
Squaring It With Qube

MRI Software has acquired Qube Global Software, a UK based provider of property and facilities management Solutions. The acquisition, according to MRI, extends the...

 Read Full Article
Jurassic Parks at Tower Top - 14 Rescued by Helicopter

Merlin Entertainments, the biggest ride and attraction company in the UK and with sites across the world, have suffered another embarrassment as 14 people including a...

 Read Full Article
Up and Down and Side to Side - First Multi Lift Unveiled

More than 160 years after the invention of the conventional elevator, Thyssen Krupp has unveiled the first functional multi-directional lift at a 246 metre tall test...

 Read Full Article
NOW That's What I Call Remote Working

London City Airport is to become the first UK airport to install a digital air traffic control tower – operational in 2019. The digital solution is a multi-million...

 Read Full Article
Cosmo Guardians Take Vacant Options

As pressure on private rental accommodation in the UK’s major cities forces up costs, young people are finding it impossible to combine their career hopes with...

 Read Full Article
A City That Never Sleeps - Longer London Hours

For the period January to December 2016, the UK region with the highest average actual weekly hours worked (for all workers) was London at 33.7 hours, followed by...

 Read Full Article
Are You Experienced?

BT has launched its first 'Customer Experience Lab' (in Dundee) to test new ways of supporting its 1.1 million business customers across the UK. Designed to...

 Read Full Article