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Financial Times: Shell expected to embark on revamp of its South Bank complex

Headline: Three skyscrapers planned for site next to Waterloo station

By Jim Pickard,Property Correspondent
Published: June 29 2007 03:00 | Last updated: June 29 2007 03:00

Plans for a £1bn scheme featuring three skyscrapers will today be unveiled for a site next to Waterloo station currently occupied by a 1960s eyesore.

Elizabeth House, just to the edge of Waterloo, is a multi-let 1960s office block that vies with the likes of Centerpoint as London’s least charming modern building.

It was built to house government workers by architect John Poulson, whowas later jailed for corruption relating to the building of council housing in the north of England.

P&O Estates and Morgan Stanley, the owners, have submitted plans to Lambeth council for two speculative office blocks of 28 and 22 floors apiece and a 33-storey residential tower on the site. The scheme would have 1.4m sq ft of space in total – the equivalent of nearly three Gherkins.

The project is one of a series of schemes that are set to breathe new life into the area. Shell is expected to embark on a revamp of its South Bank complex this summer by inviting developers to build around its landmark tower. Meanwhile,Network Rail is poised to carry out a redevelopmentof Waterloo station.

The new plan for Elizabeth House is the third proposal from its owners in only a few years. At first P&O hired RHWL, the architects, to build a 33-storey, sail-shaped structure that proved controversial and was dropped.

The group then wonplanning permission three years ago for a “three sisters” scheme that would have included a 460ft tower with 32 stories.

However, it subsequently dropped this plan and asked Allies & Morrison, the architects, to come up with a new plan. The new trio of towers are significantly shorter at 295ft, 350ft and 383ft.

The ports company, which agreed a takeover bid byDP World more than a year ago, sold a 90 per centstake in Elizabeth Houseto Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds in February last year.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

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