So, What’s Happening With The Pinnacle Skyscraper?

Had things gone to plan, the City of London’s tallest building — The Pinnacle, also known as the Helter Skelter — would be looking something like this right now:


Instead, the Bishopsgate tower remains a stump, little bigger than when the shot below was taken in 2011.


Image by mattomatto in the Londonist Flickr pool.

So what happened? And will it ever get built?

Construction of the behemoth began in 2008, coinciding with the start of the credit crunch and a long period of economic woe (you might just remember). The project was always under financial pressure and stalled completely in March 2012 through lack of funds and interest from potential inhabitants (termed pre-lets).

Things went quiet. Then reports circulated that the building was being redesigned. Perhaps it would lose its distinctive shape, or be reduced in height. New plans might even call for the existing seven-storey concrete core to be demolished and rebuilt.

Towards the end of 2013, more details emerged. The project’s architect and developer had agreed to a major design review that would cut costs by radically altering the floor-plates. Fans of the scheme’s helter-skelter shape were relieved to find the exterior would be largely left alone, a decision that also reduced the need for fresh planning permissions.

Now, further details are out. The current owners, Sedco, Wafra and Arab Investments, plan to sell most of the freehold for £220 million to an investor willing to build the redesigned scheme speculatively (that is, going ahead without first finding commercial tenants). Agent CBRE is hopeful a deal can be announced in March, with building work resuming by the end of the year, and completion by the end of 2017. The optimism is driven by an improving economy and (believe it or not) a growing shortage of suitable office space in the financial centre.

What would this tower mean for Londoners? The new plans suggest that it could have a public viewing gallery on the upper floors — always a bonus, although it would be competing with similar views from the nearby Shard and, soon, the Walkie Talkie. As things currently stand, a new 288m building would mean that London could boast the first (Shard) and second (Pinnacle) tallest skyscrapers in the European Union, although Paris is working on several schemes that might take the crown. As its name suggests, The Pinnacle would also serve as a visual high point, uniting the mish-mash cluster of new towers in the Square Mile into something surely more harmonious.

Much, much more detail over at Estates Gazette.

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  • Rod Taylor

    If it was in Shanghai, would have been finished long ago!

    • Mark Walley

      Well yes, but that’s because the UK has safe-working conditions and at least the veneer of planning laws.

      • Rod Taylor

        Need to build, and grow, road, rail, and airports need to really expand.
        We’re twenty years behind the times!
        I think you mean Red Tape, and behind the times Civil Servants….

        • Kay

          totally agree – I’m writing an article on that right now. either we move forward with a “London Plan” or we risk just being left in history’s books as East grows and becomes a powerhouse of economy, culture, architecture and urbanism.

    • Mombasa69

      Finished but mostly empty like many of the buildings in China.


    I hope this tower will see fruition here. My suggestion: Dedicate the uppermost 20-25 floors to super-prime luxury condominium residences each individually bespoke designed by boldface name interior designers like Thomas Juul-Hansen, Yabu Pushelberg, Jacques Grange, Adam Tihany, or even your own Kelly Hoppen or Laurence Llewlyn-Bowen. And offer up the most unparalelled amenities like indoor swimming pool in the sky/state of the art fitness centre with training rooms, private dining room/catering kitchen, screening room, business centre, wine lockers/Sommelier, 24-7 concierge with global reach, top specced chauffeur-driven Mercedes S500, and a menu of amazing 5* services associated with top London hotels (say Savoy, Dorchester, Lanesborough!)!!!! Am I having fun here Keith??? I am sure there will be Moby Dick whales who’d want to buy into this game-changer of a building. To maker sure it stays desirable – mandate the residences be owner-occupied to ensure high resale values down the road.

  • London Marc

    Why not revert to it’s original height? some 14 meters was lopped off because the CAA said that it interfered with planes flying over the city “rubbish” if it was
    to become the tallest building in London it would be far easier to rent (or sell) as it would become the no1 prestige building in the U.K.