London's 'Walkie Talkie' now UK's priciest building

Hong Kong outfit beats Qatari record with tower purchase

The top of Walkie Talkie skyscraper, at 20 Fenchurch Street. The tower is now the most expensive in the UK. Oli Scarff / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

A Hong Kong firm is buying up a London tower for £1.3 billion (Dh6.27bn), the highest price ever paid for a single building in Britain, the property agents said on Thursday.

The famous 34-storey building known as the "Walkie Talkie" is in the City of London's insurance district and hit the headlines when it was blamed for damaging a parked car by reflecting the sun's rays.

"Since the vote to leave the EU, capital targeting London from the Asia-Pacific region has increased to record levels," said James Beckham of the commercial property majort Cushman & Wakefield which advised on the deal.

"This is partly due to currency fluctuations but is more indicated of longer-term confidence in London and investment strategies which are not derailed by short-term political uncertainty," he said.

"This is the UK's largest ever office deal."

Lee Kum Kee, a food and health products conglomerate, is buying the two 50-per cent stakes in the building owned by Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities.

The building, which is fully let, includes a three-tiered sky garden with a restaurant.

The deal comes months after the Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung Kiu bought another London landmark - the "Cheesegrater" building - for £1.15bn.

The previous highest price for a single piece of British commercial property was the HSBC tower in Canary Wharf which was bought by the Qatar Investment Authority in December 2014 for £1.17bn.