Walkie Talkie's publicity good for business?
Developers of the London skyscraper that melted part of a Jaguar car on Monday have erected a quick fix to the problem, but analysts said the debacle may actually boost the building's global profile.
Previously known as the Walkie Talkie because of its unusual shape, the building was dubbed the "fryscraper" this week after its glass walls reflected sunlight so intense that a Jaguar parked on the street below began to melt. The façades of some local businesses were also damaged.
The building's developers, Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group, said the "phenomenon" was caused by the exact elevation of the sun during a two-hour period, and would remain an issue for the next two or three weeks. On Tuesday night they erected scaffolding over the building to form a sunshield, as a temporary solution to the problem.
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However, analysts said that far from hurting Land Securities and Songbird Estates (the majority owner of Canary Wharf Group), the media storm could actually benefit the companies.
"I can't see this putting off tenants who want to let the building," Alison Watson, head of real estate research at Liberum Capital, told CNBC on Wednesday.
"In some ways it's free publicity for the development, which is currently only half pre-let. It's created global publicity for the scheme, as it's become a news story across the world and so maybe it might help them let up the rest of the space."
Watson said the problem was unlikely to affect the companies' share prices unless remedying the problem proved very expensive, which looks unlikely at the moment.
Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, agreed the media storm could boost investor interest in the building. "Other buildings such as the millennium dome suffered some bad early publicity and have gone on to prosper," he told CNBC. "As always, only time will tell."
(Read more: London's latest skyscraper space is half-booked)
Land Securities' share price has fallen by around 2.4 percent since Friday, while Songbird Estates' stock is down 1 percent.
The two developers said the decision to erect temporary scaffolding was reached after liaising with local businesses.
"This solution should minimize the impact on the local area over the next 2-3 weeks, after which time the phenomenon is expected to have disappeared," the companies said in a joint statement. "We are also continuing to evaluate longer-term solutions, to ensure this issue does not recur in future."
Investec real estate analyst Alan Carter said investors' eyes would be on the cost of a permanent fix, as the problem could reoccur at different points of the year.
"The market's only concern is whether the long-term solution will cost a lot of money. Will it be covered by insurance or the architect's firm? We don't know yet," Carter told CNBC. "It's a sentiment thing. It's probably not going to prompt a serious collapse in the share price, but it's just not good news for the companies involved."
Carter was skeptical that this was a case of "no such thing as bad publicity".
(Read more: Europe's tallest tower empty despite lofty ambitions)
"I don't think it will work like that," he said. "Potential future tenants will already know about the building, as it will have been canvassed to them by the agents. And the world of commercial real estate and letting new buildings in a difficult market isn't the same as the show business of c-list celebs."
New tourist attraction
The 37-floor skyscraper, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, has however become something of a tourist attraction since its metal-melting properties became known. On Wednesday, the hashtag #fryscraper was trending on Twitter and visitors have flocked to the scene - with some even attempting to fry eggs in the heat of the reflected rays.
The Jaguar in question's owner, Martin Lindsay, said he left his car for an hour opposite the building, and returned to find that the wing mirror, panels and Jaguar badge had been warped. Local business owners also complained that the bright light has damaged paintwork and burnt carpets.
Lindsay has since received compensation from Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group.
—By CNBC's Katrina Bishop. Follow her on Twitter @KatrinaBishop