W. R. Berkley Corporation, one of the world’s premier property casualty insurance providers, is in the process of planning a major new European headquarters at 52-54 Lime Street in the heart of London. The company will be funding the 35-storey building themselves, which will draw together all of W. R. Berkley’s London presence into one place. The firm's employees will initially occupy approximately 25% of the building, as other occupiers have already expressed interest in the project.
Designed by multi-award winning international architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), who also designed London's Heron Tower, the planned building is approximately 190m tall, consisting of 35 floors of offices above ground and mezzanine levels with an additional two basement and two roof plant levels. Entrance to the building will be accessed via Leadenhall Street and from a new public square.
The floor plates will range in size from 9,000 sq ft to 22,000 sq ft and are arranged around a side core located to the south side of the building, which optimises floor plate dimensions, limits solar gain and offers views of London to the, north, east, west and south west.
The public space created by this development will include a ‘square’ of approximately 11,000 sq ft, which will complement the existing precinct around the Willis Building. The space will include public seating and planting as well as potential space for public art, and tables linked to a specialist ground floor coffee shop, echoing the 17th century origins of the specialist insurance markets at Lloyds Coffee House.
With Lloyd’s of London and Willis adjacent to the new public square and Aon to occupy 122 Leadenhall Street, W.R. Berkley’s new European headquarters will effectively create a global ‘HQ’ of the insurance industry in London. KPF’s work is being led by Bill Pedersen, one of the world’s most decorated architects and seven time winner of the American Institute of Architects National Honour Award.
William Berkley, founder and chairman of W.R. Berkley Corporation commented: “This major investment is a signal of our belief and confidence in London as the centre of the global insurance market. Creating a new European headquarters on Lime Street, alongside of some of the largest companies in the industry, is an affirmation of the City of London as the centre of the insurance and reinsurance industries.” Work on the project is scheduled to start by 2013 and it is anticipated that the development could be ready for occupation by 2017.