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Private equity firm the Blackstone Group PLC and British Land have been given the green light to demolish the building currently situated on 5 Broadgate, in what is being seen as a shock decision by the UK government. The redevelopment of the site, intended to be the new headquarters in the United Kingdom for Swiss banking company UBS AG (UBS), was given planning permission two months ago back in April.
However, the project was thrown into turmoil when English Heritage petitioned the British government to prevent the scheme from going ahead and to have the current building, which was constructed in the 1980s, be declared a listed site due to its historical and cultural standing.
It is very rare for the British government to ignore such a petition from English Heritage, but on this occasion, that is exactly what has happened, much to the clear delight of the Blackstone Group PLC and British Land. The decision “allows Broadgate to continue to evolve as a sustainable and flexible office location that will meet the future needs of occupiers whilst maintaining the sense of space and place for which it is rightly renowned around the globe”, according to Chris Evans, the chief executive officer of British Land.
The two companies can now press ahead with their plans to demolish the current building and replace it with a new commercial property with up to 700,000 square feet of offices to rent.
English Heritage has said it is disappointed by the British government’s decision.
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