It's become one of the City of London's most iconic landmarks - but now it's for sale. The Gherkin building is looking for new owners who have in the region of £650 million to spend. Joel Flynn reports.
It's the building that heralded a new era in the London city skyline. Unmistakably the symbol of London's powerful financial industry. But now the Gherkin is up for sale - it could be yours for a cool 650 million pounds. SOUNDBITE: Reuters reporter, Joel Flynn, saying (English): "The 41 floor Gherkin, or 30 St Mary Axe as it's properly known, was built in 2004 for the insurance company Swiss Re, designed by Lord Foster. But it was sold two years later to a small consortium and this year fell into recievership." London based investment bank Evans Randall and German real estate group IVG Immobilien joined forces to buy the building for 600 million pounds. But IVG paid for it in Swiss francs - a currency that has since risen by by close on 60 percent against the pound. Neal Kimberley is from Reuters. SOUNDBITE: Reuters FX Analyst , Neal Kimberley, saying (English): "I don't know why, but as foreign exchange sale desks around the world know, it's very rare for corporates not to hedge overseas receivables, so to me, somebody took a bet that the Swissey wasn't going to firm up, and they've come a poor second." Administrators Deloitte have been called in, as well as estate agents Savills. They say that the commercial property market has begun to boom - and the sale couldn't come at a better time. Stephen Down is head of central London investment at Savills. SOUNDITE: Savills Head of Central London Investment, Stephen Down, saying (English): "Not withstanding the iconic brand of this building, behind this is a very strong, robust income flow. Swiss Re provide almost 50 percent of the income for 17 more years, and then the rest of the building is multi-leased and the rents are relatively low compared to today's market values." Rents could go up after the sale is expected to conclude in mid-autumn. But whether a buyer chooses to invest in this London landmark or - for around the same money - 1600 average London houses depends on where property goes next.