'Scalpel' tower in London's Lime Street given go-ahead

Design of the tower
Image caption The Scalpel would be higher than the Gherkin which stands at 180m (590ft)

A 38-storey tower has been given the green light to be built in London's insurance district.

The tower - dubbed The Scalpel due to its straight-edged design by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox - will be built in Lime Street in the City.

Standing at 190m (620ft) tall, it will be the European headquarters for the US insurance company WR Berkley.

City of London said the building was a "major vote of confidence in the City's status as Europe's financial capital".

Planning documents show the tower will be taller than the Gherkin which stands at 180m (590ft) and the company said it would provide more than 500,000 sq ft (45,000 sq m) of commercial space, of which WR Berkley would use 25%.

It said the rest of the building would be occupied by other leading specialist insurance professionals.

A new public space at street level would be created, as would a restaurant below ground.

Work on site is expected to begin by the end of 2013.

Chairman William R. Berkley said: "We are acting as financier, developer and occupier so these plans represent a real, financial and physical commitment to London. Today's decision moves us a step closer to making our plans a reality."

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