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W R Berkley Looking to Sell The Scalpel for £820m 

W R Berkley Looking to Sell The Scalpel for £820m 
20 October 2020

The Scalpel, one of the most recognisable London skyscrapers, is to be put up for sale.

Property Week revealed that insurance firm W R Berkley is looking for around £820m for the Lime Street property.

The City of London tower acts as W R Berkley’s European headquarters, and according to Property Week, the majority of The Scalpel’s 500,000 sq ft of space is let, with just four floors of 35,157 sq ft of space remaining.

Eastdil Secured and Cushman & Wakefield are to be the property’s selling agents.


What’s Going on in the London Office Market?


According to JLL’s Q2 report of the London office market, there was just 1.1 million sq ft of take-up in Q2, the lowest quarter since Q1 2009. 

London’s West End experienced its slowest quarter since 1991. However in East London there was 309,000 sq ft of transactions, 15 per cent above the long-run average. However, almost three-quarters of this activity was attributed to one deal - BP’s pre-let of 205,000 sq ft at Cargo, E14.


London’s Younger Workforce Could Mean it’s at an Advantage


When it comes to economic recovery, JLL’s report states that London could be at an advantage compared to the rest of the UK, as it’s workforce is considerably younger.

47 per cent of Central London’s workforce was aged under 35 as at the 2011 census compared to 35 per cent across the rest of England and Wales. 

This group is less likely to suffer serious COVID-19 symptoms and more likely to feel confident about resuming everyday activities, including using public transport. In London, this group is also more likely to live in shared accommodation which may not be conducive for effective homeworking. 

This is backed up by JLL’s May 2020 Human Performance Survey which covered 3,000 respondents globally. The survey found that 58 per cent of respondents missed the office “a lot” and this figure rose to 65 per cent for under-35s with a higher majority of this younger workforce stating that they missed working in an environment that allowed them to focus.

Picture: a photograph of the Scalpel, taken from below

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 October 2020


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