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Last Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007, 10:06 GMT
Iconic 'Gherkin' sold for 600m
London scene, with the 'Gherkin' in the centre
The 'Gherkin' is one of London's most distinctive sights
Insurance giant Swiss Re has sold its iconic skyscraper in the heart of the City of London - known as the Gherkin.

German property firm IVG Immobilien and UK investment firm Evans Randall bought the building in the heart of the UK financial district for 600m ($1.2bn).

Swiss Re said it would stay on in the building as a tenant until 2031, holding 50% of the office space.

Further reports claim HSBC may sell and lease back its Canary Wharf tower block - a deal that could net more than 1bn.

The bank would then look to rent back the 45-storey building, at 8 Canada Square, for about 45m a year, a report in the Hong Kong Economic Times said.

"Everything is under discussion at the moment and no figures have been confirmed," said HSBC spokeswoman Vinh Tran.

'Impressive'

The Gherkin was built in 2003, at a cost of 138m and is one of the capital's most distinctive structures.

Officially called 30 St Mary Axe, it was built on the site of the bombed Baltic Exchange in the heart of the financial district.

Designed by Lord Foster it maximises daylight and natural ventilation so that it uses half the energy typically required by an office block.

Each floor rotates five degrees from the last and the only curved piece of glass on the entire building is the very top piece.

As winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize in 2004 it was described as "elegant and impressive".




SEE ALSO
Insurers 'face 2bn storm payout'
26 Jan 07 |  Business
Swiss Re set to shed 2,000 jobs
25 Sep 06 |  Business
Hurricanes hit Swiss Re profits
02 Mar 06 |  Business
Costliest year yet for insurers
20 Dec 05 |  Business
Swiss Re to buy GE insurance firm
18 Nov 05 |  Business

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