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London landmark put up for sale


Swiss Reinsurance Co. has confirmed that the company is looking to sell an interest in its landmark London building at 30 St Mary Axe. Opened in 2004 and designed by architects Foster and Partners, 30 St Mary Axe—affectionately known as "the Gherkin" by Londoners—is home to Swiss Re's London employees, as well as German insurer Allianz A.G. and private bank Coutts & Co., among others.

The Swiss reinsurer said that it is in the process of evaluating the sale of an interest in the building, in "an attractive market environment".

"Swiss Re remains committed to London as one of the most important cities for the financial services industry. As such, the portion of 30 St Mary Axe currently occupied by Swiss Re would not change in the foreseeable future. If a transaction takes place, Swiss Re will make a further announcement," the company said in a statement.

Meanwhile, London-based broker Willis Group Holdings Ltd., which is building a landmark office in Lime Street close to the Lloyd's of London building, announced it has sold its current headquarters—10 Trinity Square—to a United States-based development firm.

Willis said it had sold the building to Atlanta, Georgia-based Thomas Enterprises Inc., for $185 million (€145.4 million).

Thomas Enterprises plans to turn the building, which opened in 1922, as the home of the Port of London Authority and also hosted the inaugural reception meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946, into a luxury hotel.

Willis will lease back the building from Thomas Enterprises until its new headquarters—slated for completion in 2008— is ready.

Sarah Veysey contributed to this article