One of London’s most eye catching and recognisable landmarks, the Gherkin, has been sold to Brazil’s second richest man in an estimated £700mn deal.
The office tower, which is officially known as 30 St Mary Axe, has been bought by The Safra Group, fronted by billionaire Joseph Safra.
“The acquisition of 30 St Mary Axe is consistent with our real estate strategy of investing in properties that are truly special – at the best locations within great cities” said a statement on the group’s website.
“While only 10 years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential. We intend to make the building even better and more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants” it also said.
Safra, 75, made his $15.9bn fortune in the banking sector, with the Safra Group offering banking services in Europe as well as North and South America.
The tower cost £138mn to build and was designed to be as green as possible. The curved structure is used to maximise natural light while natural ventilation is used to keep the ambient temperature at a constant level. As a result, the building uses 50% less energy than a normal building of its size.
The deal comes just days after the Qatar Investment Authority launched a take over bid on another of London’s major landmarks, Canary Wharf, as previously reported by Retail Gazette.