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Gherkin sold for £700m

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Foster & Partners-designed landmark bought by Brazilian billionaire Joseph Safra

Foster & Partners’ London skyscraper, the Gherkin, has been sold for more than £700m to a Brazilian group.

The 180m high City of London building, completed in 2004 for insurance giant Swiss Re and officially known by its street address, 30 St Mary Axe, was bought by the Safra Group, owned by Brazilian billionaire Joseph Safra.

In a statement, the banking group said: ‘The acquisition of 30 St Mary Axe is consistent with our real estate strategy of investing in properties that are truly special - at the best locations within great cities.

‘While only 10 years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential. We intend to make the building even better and more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants.’

The 40-storey Gherkin won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2004 for its ‘elegant and impressive’ design.

Swiss Re continues to occupy around half of the Gherkin but sold it in 2006 during the last property boom for £600m.

The purchasers - a fund managed by Germany’s IVG Immobilien and UK private equity group Evans Randall - had long been in default on the £395m they borrowed to fund the purchase and Savills and Deloitte Real Estate were appointed earlier this year to sell the building.

that we are firmly minded to continue our involvement in.’

30 St Mary Axe declined to comment on the announcement.

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