AXA IM Alts to build a £1 billion net-zero office tower in the City

AXA IM Alts is planning a £1 billion net-zero office development in London after acquiring a long leasehold at 50 Fenchurch Street in the heart of the City from The Clothworkers’ Company, a 500 year-old livery company.

A CGI of the planned office development in Fenchurch Street

The 60,000 sq m “next generation” office will have “exceptional environmental credentials”, the real estate portfolio and asset manager said, and it will be delivered into “a heavily supply-constrained market for prime, sustainable and amenity-rich offices in the City of London”.

The 36-storey tower, designed by Eric Parry Architects, will form part of an extensive new public realm with retail and dining at ground level and a public roof garden at the top with views over the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

The project, on a prime 1.2 acre site, will retain the Tower of All Hallows Staining and Lambe’s Chapel Crypt, two historic listed buildings currently on the site, and it will also deliver a new Livery Hall for The Clothworkers’ Company.

Sustainability and wellbeing are a key focus of the 36-storey people-centric building, which will incorporate innovative vertical urban greening that is designed to mitigate air and noise pollution and improve biodiversity, enabling the scheme to target BREEAM Outstanding and net zero in operation.

The building will provide a flexible approach to space coupled with state-of-the-art technology and amenities, with features aimed at enhancing occupier health and enjoyment. YardNine will act as developer with construction due to start in 2024 and delivery targeted for 2028.

Historic buildings on the site will be retained

“Since the pandemic there has been a pronounced increase in demand from occupiers for high quality, sustainable and wellness-focused offices,” said Isabelle Scemama, global head, AXA IM Alts & CEO, AXA IM Real Assets.  “We expect this flight to quality to become even more acute over the coming years as businesses adapt to new working patterns. 50 Fenchurch presents us with another rare opportunity to secure a prime development site in the City of London, which we continue to believe is one of the most desirable office locations in the world.”

AXA IM Alts has first-hand local market insights from its experience at nearby 22 Bishopsgate, where over 93,000 sq m of space has been let little more than a year after the 62-storey vertical village’s completion. The success of this flagship development “has reaffirmed our conviction in the strength of demand for best-in-class ESG-optimised workspace in the heart of the City of London”, Scemama said.

AXA IM Alts has delivered more than 300 development projects in Europe since 2000, with a total value of €19 billion, and currently has a further €8 billion of schemes underway across nine countries.

“When this ambitious development is complete, it will be part of a new generation of buildings upholding environmentally-aware standards, provide state-of-the-art office facilities and help improve the built environment and public space for people living and working in the Square Mile,” said Jocelyn Stuart-Grumbar, clerk to The Clothworkers’ Company and CEO of The Clothworkers’ Foundation. “For us it’s not just an exciting new building development; it is part of our long-term strategy to secure our philanthropic legacy for the next 500 years.”