LONDON-In another blockbuster deal for the city involving a renowned international financial institution, JPMorgan has tabbed British real estate investment trust Hammerson plc to upgrade St. Alphage House into a premier headquarters building totaling one million sf. Work is expected to commence in 2008 following approval of the project’s design.

Under the terms of the agreement announced this week, Hammerson will work in partnership with the City of London Corp., which currently owns the property, as development manager to overhaul and expand the tower. JPMorgan would acquire the leasehold interest in the building and have an ownership interest going forward. According to Hammerson chief executive John Richards, the undertaking will not only provide a “prestigious” new European headquarters for JPMorgan, it will “maintain the bank’s long tradition of operating within the Square Mile,” London’s famous financial district.

“We are delighted with this agreement,” adds City of London Corp. official Michael Snyder. “This new building and JPMorgan’s continued presence in the city will reinforce London’s pre-eminent position as Europe’s leading financial capital.” Along those same lines, HSBC Corp. announced this week that it will sell its London headquarters for $2.2 billion USD, but signed a leaseback provision there committing to the city for another 20 years. That 1.1-million-sf building at 8 Canada Square is located in London’s Canary Wharf, an area of the city that has seen several high-profile companies move to in the past decade.

On the St. Alphonse redevelopment, a preliminary design has been created by KPF Architects and KKS Strategy has created interior spaces as requested by JPMorgan. Project officials expect to submit a planning application in the coming months to the city. A completion date on the redevelopment will depend on when work can commence, Hammerson explains.

Hammerson and the City of London Corp. were advised by Knight Frank in the negotiations with JPMorgan, while the tenant was advised by DTZ. Jones Lang LaSalle advised the City of London in its capacity as owner of St. Alphage House.

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