Making a legend

Best known as the Cheesegrater, The Leadenhall Building is probably our most high-profile development to date.

Yet getting this project off the ground proved to be challenging in more ways than one – as a senior project executive explains.

“The iconic building you see here almost didn’t happen. We had agreed on its unique design and had already started work on demolishing the old site when the 2008 financial crisis came along. Suddenly it was not a great time to be embarking on such an ambitious project, so we halted construction while we reviewed our options.

“We considered alternative designs that would have led to a more modest building. But in the end, we were able to stick to our original vision – by sharing our financial exposure with another real estate business. It’s this kind of calculated risk-taking that I think sets British Land apart.

“Once construction was back underway, there were considerable logistical challenges to overcome too. This building is located in one of the busiest and most constricted spaces in London, so we had to prefabricate most of the components off-site. These were then delivered and assembled at the site – often in the dead of night.

“We knew about these construction challenges before commissioning the project, but that didn’t stop us from having a few sleepless nights. I’m glad to have been a part of it though. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing that distinctive shape on the London skyline and knowing I helped to make it happen.”

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