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LONDON-In a contra-cyclical move Blackfriars Investments and Royal London Asset Management are to make a speculative construction start on the 300,000-sf Palestra development on Blackfriars Bridge Road on the South Bank, making it the only major speculative office development to start in the city this year.

The developers believe that by starting now they will deliver the striking building, designed by Will Alsop, to the market at a time when the current oversupply of offices will have evaporated. Blackfriars Investments chief executive Malory Clifford says: “We consider this the best time to be starting Palestra. When competed it is likely to be the only building available to occupiers looking for headquarters space.”

Sole letting agents DTZ Debenham Tie Leung will market the building as a whole or in floors, with completion expected in mid 2006.

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