Detailed plans to build the City’s tallest skyscraper, which will rival the Shard in height and make it the second loftiest tower in Europe, are being drawn up and will be submitted to the City of London Corporation by the end of the year.
The Aviva Tower, which is also known as St Helen’s and sites opposite the Gherkin would be demolished to make way for the gigantic office block, according to early proposals.
It is also thought that images are being circulated and detailed plans will be submitted by the end of the year following a lengthy public consultation.
A spokesman for the City of London Corporation said: "As far as we are concerned, everything to do with the Undershaft is still private because they have not been submitted. We couldn’t comment or speculate on images that are circulating."
The developers, Aroland Holdings, are seeking permission to erect a 304m (997ft) building, just a few meters shy of the 309m Shard on south of the Thames, which would dwarf 22 Bishopsgate - the stalled Pinnacle scheme.
The site - Number One, Undershaft - was bought by Singaporean magnate Kuok Hong Khoon - the founder and chief executive of the world’s largest palm oil company, Wilmar International.
Mr Kuok owns the Aviva building and site with his fellow Wilmar board member, and Chinese Indonesian businessman, Martua Sitorus.
The architect, Eric Parry, is thought to be leading the project, having recently finished the Green Properties office building at St James’s Square which achieved record rents for the area in April.
However, one property expert said that the plans will spark fresh controversy over the cluster of skyscrapers springing up in the City.
It may also prove difficult to achieve planning consent as 22 Bishopsgate was originally set to be 307m but was later scaled down to 288m, following concerns from the Civil Aviation Authority.
“Eric Parry is a very well regarded architect but the plans will cause a stir,” said a source. “Since the Walkie Talkie melted a car [by reflecting sunlight off the concave building and on to the street below] tall towers have become controversial again.”
He claimed it would cause people to worry about the London skyline and the impact on the Tower of London.
The computer-generated images of Number One, Undershaft, have been compared to Canary Wharf’s One Canada Square, only much taller.
A spokesperson for Aroland Holdings confirmed that they are developing plans for a new project on the site and said: "It is important that our plans for a new tower on the site are right and we are taking our time to ensure the building showcases the very best of British architecture while also creating the City of London's finest and most sustainable offices."
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