Blackstone Development Hits Snag

The planned development by private equity company Blackstone Group and British Land is in trouble following the recommendation by an architectural watchdog that the site of the proposed project, the Broadgate office complex in Central London, be given “listed” status due to its special historic and architectural interest.

Blackstone Group and British Land have been intending to build the new development, expected to comprise more than 700,000 square feet of space, including trading floors and office space, as a new headquarters for Swiss banking firm UBS AG, but the announcement that English Heritage has advised the United Kingdom government to adopt the existing Broadgate office complex as a listed site may have just put paid to those plans in a very permanent way.

While the UK government does not necessarily have to abide by the recommendations of English Heritage, it would be extremely rare for them to actually go against them. English Heritage says that the Broadgate office complex should be listed as it is one of the most iconic and successfully developments undertaken during the 1980s and serves as an emblem of the importance to the economy of the United Kingdom that the financial community became during the period when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

A final decision on the matter will be made by UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, rather than Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose, due to the fact that Penrose’s wife is involved with British Land, thus causing a conflict of interest.

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