CBRE Tapped to Manage London’s Gherkin

CBRE Group is taking over management of the 516,668-square-foot, 40-story skyscraper in central London known as The Gherkin. One of the world’s most iconic commercial buildings, the mixed-use high-rise is nearing its 10th anniversary.
The Gherkin, London

The Gherkin, London

CBRE Group, Inc. is taking over management of the 516,668-square-foot, 40-story skyscraper in central London known as The Gherkin. One of the world’s most iconic commercial buildings, the mixed-use high-rise is nearing its 10th anniversary.

The skyscraper, located at 30 St. Mary Axe, is owned by a joint venture between IVG EuroSelect 14, a closed-end fund managed by IVG Private Funds Management GmbH, and Evans Randall, a United Kingdom investment firm. The joint venture partners bought the building in February 2007 from Swiss Re, which is still the property’s largest tenant. Other tenants include Kirkland and Ellis, a United States-based law firm, and ION Trading, a financial technology company along with several more financial and professional services firms.

Designed by Foster and Partners, the tower was completed in December 2003 and officially opened in April 2004.

“This is unquestionably one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, and one that has become synonymous with the  City of London,” David King, chairman of property and asset management UK at CBRE, said in a news release. “It is imperative that The Gherkin continues to deliver occupiers with the quality of space, service and experience befitting such an iconic building through the next phase of its life cycle.”

CBRE, which will add the building to its Global Premier Properties program, will be responsible for day-to-day management and maintenance of the building. It will also oversee all service procurements and handle tenant relations with the building’s 20 occupiers.

“CBRE was appointed to manage The Gherkin after a competitive pitch process. Given the iconic status of the building the competition was fierce and CBRE’s Global Premier Properties Program was one of the determining factors,” Nigel Biggs, head of Global Premier Properties at CBRE, told Commercial Property Executive. “The challenge is to provide The Gherkin’s tenants with a standard of service that sets the building apart from its competitors.”

Biggs said CBRE does that by “drawing on its experience of managing more than 235 Premier Properties around the world, pulling in knowledge and applying techniques from other major cities, including Hong Kong and New York, to its London properties.” Some of those techniques include “hotel style” training for onsite reception and management staff and international quarterly conferences for general managers of the Premier Properties to share best practices and help with problem solving, Biggs added.

The firm now manages 215 million square feet around the globe through the Premier Properties program, including 29 million square feet in London. Other major buildings managed by CBRE in the program include the Shanghai Tower and the Iberdola Tower in Bilbao, Spain. In addition to The Gherkin, other London Premier Properties are City Point for Beacon Capital, 88 Wood Spring for Rockspring, 1 Finsbury Circus for China Overseas Investments and London Bridge City for St. Martins, according to Biggs.

CBRE in London is reporting that leasing in the UK office market is off to a strong start in the first half of the year. With leasing volumes well above long-term averages, CBRE noted in a July 8 national report that, “2013 has the potential to be one of the strongest years for occupier activity since the recession started.” Another CBRE report, the Central London Property Market Review for the Second Quarter, noted that office leasing was improving in Central London with leasing rising 33 percent over the quarter to reach 3.4 million square feet, the highest point since the fourth quarter of 2010, when 4.2 million square feet of space was leased.