While the Shard at London Bridge soars above the City, another major skyscraper is in trouble: City AM this morning reported that construction work on the Pinnacle tower on Bishopsgate, also known as the Helter-Skelter, may be halted next year due to funding problems.
The building's core is already peeking out above the construction site, but according to the newspaper, only £330m of the expected £1 billion project cost has been raised thus far by developer Arab Investments, who are going cap-in-hand back to the building's original backers for additional funding. HSBC agreed in principle earlier this year to pour in £600 million, but this is contingent on a pre-let target of 300,000 sq ft of the available 1m sq ft. The bank may, however, be ready to compromise a little on this position.
While the fleet of new skyscrapers scaling the London skyline is championed by many, not least by this website, the apparent precarious position of the Pinnacle's funding does put in question the wisdom of throwing up so many new towers at a time of economic uncertainty. The market is being flooded at the moment with new or re-started schemes — the Cheesegrater and Walkie-Talkie towers are now proceeding as planned, and by the time the Pinnacle opens (presumably) in 2013, rivals like the Shard and the Heron will already be open. Will there be anybody left to fill those 63 floors?