Expected tenant pulls out of 22 Bishopsgate prelet

Insurance firm Aspen, one of the first companies that was expected to move into 22 Bishopsgate, EC2, has pulled out of preletting 70,000 sq ft at the upcoming 1.4m sq ft 62-storey skyscraper.

The business, which was acquired last August by American equity firm Apollo Global Management for $2.6bn (£1.9bn), confirmed its decision to back out of the move, which it was first linked with in July 2017.

“We have been reviewing our London office location and after careful consideration we have decided not to pursue new office space – including 22 Bishopsgate – and, instead, will remain at Plantation Place, EC3,” the spokesperson said.

Aspen was bought last summer after a string of natural disasters and falling premium prices hit the Bermuda-headquartered business.

In February 2018 it reported a net loss after tax of $266.4m and an operating loss after tax of $355.7m for the year ended 31 December 2017 and it subsequently put itself up for sale.

Earlier this year it reported a net loss after tax of $145.8m, but recorded an operating income after tax of $31.8m for the year ended 31 December 2018.

If it had proceeded with its prelet at 22 Bishopsgate, it would have joined fellow insurers Beazley, which has prelet 12th and 13th floors on a 15-year lease, with an option to expand with 12,500 sq ft on the 11th floor, and Hiscox, which has taken 75,000 sq ft across three floors on a lease expiring in 2037.

Axa Investment Managers is expected to occupy 65,000 sq ft, while Nasdaq is also understood to have placed around 25,000 sq ft under offer. Law firm Cooley and US serviced office group Convene are also in talks to lease around 135,000 sq ft combined.

Once complete, 22 Bishopsgate will provide 1.2m sq ft of office space, along with 100,000 sq ft of amenity space, including a food market, gym, innovation hub and relaxation and wellbeing centre, as well as a members’ club.

A spokesperson for Axa Investment Managers, which is building 22 Bishopsgate along with Lipton Rogers, said:  “As a matter of policy we do not comment on leases until they are signed.

“We are still on track to complete 22 Bishopsgate by the end of year, with tenants moving in in early 2020.”

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