London’s latest skyscraper space is half-booked

Arjun Kharpal, special to CNBC.com
Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 | 10:03 AM ET
Land Securities's outlook is strong: CEO
Robert Noel, CEO of Land Securities tells CNBC from the top of the Walkie Talkie that despite a challenging retail market, occupancy has been maintained and interest is growing for their schemes.

More than half of the office space in London's new "Walkie Talkie" skyscraper has been pre-let, the building's developer said on Wednesday.

The 37-story tower, which flares out at the top, is due to be completed in April 2014.

"The City of London requires new space all the time as people move on and grow," Robert Noel, CEO of Land Securities told CNBC.

He added that there was an "increased level of interest" from potential occupiers.

The group has pre-letting deals for 52 percent of the tower's floor area and Reuters reported that it should be two-thirds let by the time it opens.

(Read More: Europe's Tallest Tower Empty Despite Lofty Ambitions)

Commercial rent rates in London have soared due to a lack of new development.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"The City of London requires new space all the time as people move on and grow," Robert Noel, CEO of Land Securities told CNBC.

He said the financial crisis caused companies to stop building, and decided this was the best time invest.

"With the hiatus in the development we spotted a supply constraint market on the horizon so we took the decision to build and that's what we did, and started off with this building amongst others and they are coming to fruition right now, just at the point the economy is beginning to show signs of recovery."

The tower, situated in London's financial district, is part of more than one billion pounds worth of schemes in the City, financed in part by selling older buildings. Land Securities sold off 152.6 million pounds ($231 million) of property in the three months to the end of June.

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