The City of London Corporation’s planning applications sub-committee has approved what they hope will be a tourism-boosting new building to be erected at Central London’s 85 Gracechurch Street. The new 32-storey skyscraper will provide unique views of Leadenhall Market, from which it has also taken design inspiration. It will also act as a hub for retail, pedestrian activity, office working, and even education.
As part of the building’s construction, much of the existing site’s lower levels will be completely repurposed, with a ground-floor public hall including food, retail and event spaces. They will also reopen a historic pedestrian route between Gracechurch Street and Lime Street Passage, whilst also providing access through to Leadenhall Market itself.
The construction will restore the existing building’s façade, and the new structure will be built behind the nine-storey frontage.
The new building hopes to bring new life to the centre of the city, where many businesses shut over the weekend. Since many of the buildings in the area are dedicated office spaces, the area sees significantly decreased footfall over the weekend.
Said City of London Corporation Planning Applications Sub-Committee Chairman Shravan Joshi:
“Developments such as this are a vote of confidence in the City as a global business hub and will helps us meet the continued demand for high-quality office space in the Square Mile…. This development will create new jobs, boost the economy of the Square Mile and drive significantly increased footfall to Leadenhall Market, helping to boost the market’s appeal as a major visitor destination in its own right.”
Inside 85 Gracechurch Street
The building will feature a new public hall, retail space, increased pedestrianization, cultural exhibitions, urban greening, and ‘destination office space.’
(Because with so many of London’s workers still able to, or wanting to, work from home, what we really needed was more office space…)
The Museum of London has partnered with the building developer to offer an interactive cultural space which will display finds from nearby sites, with an educational facility for schools. There are also talks of a virtual reality experience that will drop visitors into life in Roman London. This will pay homage to the building’s history as the site where once stood the Forum and Basilica – the heart of Roman London.
The urban greening will accent the entire building with densely planted garden space. There will also be a fifth floor heritage garden. A wraparound public walkway will in turn provide views over the rooftops of the neighbouring Leadenhall Market and across the City beyond.
New construction in London
The new skyscraper at 85 Gracechurch Street is one of a number of buildings being constructed as part of the city’s new Eastern Cluster. The area includes buildings already under construction, and those that have received permission but have yet to start construction. The previously written-about 55 Gracechurch Street building is another of the planned sites in the Eastern Cluster.
London’s skyline is going to change considerably over the coming years. And should visitor excitement increase, as hoped, the centre of the city may no longer be the calm in the storm that it so often is over the weekend…
If you want to read the entire planning proposal, you can find it here.