At last. As concerns continued to mount that The Shard was struggling to find tenants for its 590,000 sq ft of office space, it emerges developer Irvine Sellar is within a whisker of announcing the first corporate residents of his Qatari-backed skyscraper.
The contracts with two prospective occupants are in the closing stages of being signed off as the lawyers fine-tune the small-print, with the space-takers set to be formally announced in the next couple of weeks.
Last summer, speculation emerged that Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera and US management consultant AT Kearney were in talks with Sellar Property Group, which is in charge of filling the space with agents Jones Lang LaSalle and Knight Frank.
So when a spokesman for Sellar Property reconfirmed that media and financial services companies are among the firms being courted to relocate to The Shard, you can forgive Diary for making the logical link. “Our leasing policy is mixed-use, and we want our tenants to reflect that,” is all my man in London Bridge would disclose.
Meanwhile, The Shard’s 10 residential apartments, which sit between the soon-to-be-completed viewing gallery and the Shangri-La Hotel, are taking longer to shift. But this is absolutely fine with the state of Qatar, which provided 95pc of the tower’s £450m cost. The Qataris are, apparently, “playing a long game” as they diversify their assets away from oil and gas. When the super-prime penthouses are eventually leased or sold, the Qataris’ business partner Irvine Sellar expects they will go for “record prices”. “I think London will owe a great deal to Qatar,” the developer predicted.
= Chinese walls too thin =
James Henderson, boss of spinners Pelham Bell Pottinger, has been in a delicate position ever since his client Leni Gas & Oil threatened another of his clients, Mediterranean Oil & Gas (MOG), with legal action.
Not a problem, claimed Henderson, who told Diary only last September that he “would like to retain both clients”, reassuring that solid Chinese walls were in place.
Not solid enough, it seems. When Leni Gas went through with its High Court action over Maltese exploration licences yesterday, it appears MOG’s comms adviser had magically changed to … FTI Consulting (NYSE: FCN - news) .
= Antwerp has its benefits =
Jobs for graduates are scarce, meaning those begging for internships can’t be choosers. So hats off to young Angenika Kunne for taking the plunge at Macquarie, despite clearly wishing she could do something anything else.
“It wasn’t my childhood dream to become an investment banker,” admits the LSE alumnus in an interview designed to persuade other graduates to enrol as interns. But there is an upside to working on Macquarie’s tram financing project in Belgium, says Ms Kunne. Travelling to Antwerp every week gives her “time to catch up on work in my hotel”. Every cloud...
= Sultan’s son plays it low-key =
Billionaire Twitter founder Jack Dorsey celebrated New Year’s Eve on a yacht off the coast of St Barts with his supermodel girlfriend, Lily Cole. Billionaire Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich saw in 2013 by throwing a £5m party on the same Caribbean island, flying in Kings of Leon to entertain 400 of his closest friends.
Good to see, then, that the billionaire Sultan of Brunei’s son, Prince Azim, kept things more low-key. He simply took over the hotel owned by his family, The Dorchester, for a ball for 500 where actress Lindsay Lohan was guest of honour. Of course, Ms Lohan is a close friend and needed no financial incentive to make a charming toast.
= Plenty of dinners for Adair =
The Bank of England has made up for not bestowing Adair Turner the top honour of becoming its next governor by showering the FSA chairman with hospitality.
Between September and November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) , the central bank treated Lord Turner to two non-executive directors’ dinners, a Bank of England Court Lunch and the leaving reception for former MPC (KOSDAQ: 050540.KQ - news) member Adam Posen.
But Turner’s treats didn’t stop there, reveals the FSA Gift Log. The Reserve Bank of South Africa whisked the rate-setter to Johannesburg, Pretoria and Pilanesberg for “speaking engagements”, while Standard Chartered (Other OTC: SCBFF - news) chaperoned him to the British Bankers’ Association’s chairman’s dinner.