Saturday, April 14, 2007

Broadgate Tower signage

drive carefully
Yesterday's surfeit of signs has spurred me on to add this photo. I think the 'DANGER pedestrians crossing' may be a little overkill on the building site safety front. I doubt traffic goes very fast on this particular thoroughfare, being as you have to go round a sharp bend and get some gates opened for you to get this far.

Broadgate Tower poster - imposingHere's another sign. The wording at the bottom says 'Two imposing new office buildings.' Given the level of dialogue surrounding all the other new skyscrapers - 'it's impact on the view will be minimal... it'll fit in just fine... damging to the skyline's character? Pshaw!' - it's quite refreshing to see that one of them is unabashedly proud to be a colossus.

On the other hand, maybe this is how it pans out after planning is granted. All meek proclamations (eg 'It may be 35 stories, but they are very small storeys... honest') when you need approval, but as soon as the licence is signed, out come the heavy metal music and the tattoos and dirty high-rise machismo. If the Walkie Talkie gets approved maybe the posters round the construction site will say somethingalong the lines of '20 Fenchurch Street - an eyesore, and proud of it.' The Leadenhall Building will have similar fare - 'The Leadenhall Building - I'm the daddy now.' Bishopsgate Tower - 'Mwahahahahaha'.

Broadgate Tower may be imposing, but it has had some difficulty attracting tennants (maybe it's the mixed messages of the imposing image combined with the namby pamby corporate responsibility of the billboards around it). In 2002 (from the Telegraph):

British Land is in discussions with Ashurst Morris Crisp, the firm of lawyers, over pre-letting around 400,000 square feet of its 700,000 sq ft ... BL has simply been waiting to pre-let part of it before starting. John Ritblat, the executive chairman of British Land, has been saying for some time that he would start the scheme speculatively if no occupier would take a pre-let. Several occupiers have looked at the scheme including Lehman Brothers, Accenture, Barclays Bank.

But that's all in the past now Law firm Reed Smith have agreed to let most of the tower. It's a good job there are billions of anonymous finance, law and consultancy companies out there that no-one's ever heard of. Ridiculous number of them. They all hang out in a city bar called 'The Underwriter.' Smoking cigars made out of gold bars. And eating truffles wrapped in rare manuscripts such as the dead sea scrolls. Philistines!

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