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LONDON-Minerva has dropped plans to build what would have been the tallest office building in London. The firm states that the project was too big for a company of its size. Planning permission was granted in April 2004 to build a 50-story structure totaling one million sf.

“For a company the size of Minerva to deliver a building of this size speculatively into the market is, if you excuse the pun, a very tall order,” group development director Tim Garnham says. The firm says the site would instead be developed into a 14-story building of around 530,000 sf of offices and retail. The scaled down project could also completed in a shorter time frame.

Officials of the company, hit by the bankruptcy of department store chain Allders (of which it was a joint owner), also said its net asset value per share was 311.5 pence per share at the end of June, down from 314.9 pence a year earlier. “We have had a very busy 12 months,” chief executive Salmaan Hasan says. “The results are a marker saying this is a transition point and the company is confident that we will deliver upside in terms of value and profits.

“On new business, we are pleased with the progress we have made,” he continues. “We have achieved a level of new business that is beyond our expectations.”

Chairman Andrew Rosenfield, who is expected to be replaced by Oliver Whitehead at the group’s annual general meeting, said in March of last year that the group planned to reduce its borrowings dramatically, increase cash reserves and strengthen the board.

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