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LONDON-International law firm Allen & Overy has concluded six months of negotiations by signing an agreement for lease on Hammerson and the Corporation of London’s Bishops Square development. The move–one of the City’s biggest-ever pre-lettings–clears the way for a start on site on the proposed 750,000-sf building subject to planning consent.

Allen & Overy has agreed a 25-year lease, with tenant’s break option after 21 and a half, at a rent of £45 ($70) per sf. The developers conceded a 21-month rent free period and a fitting out contribution.

Hammerson and the Corporation of London have also exchanged contracts for the joint development to proceed. Both agreements are subject to planning consent. A planning application for the scheme was submitted in March 2002 and planning permission is expected to be granted later this year. Work on the development is scheduled to start early next year, with completion in 2005.

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