Gherkin sale: London's iconic skyline 'worth £7.2bn'

London's skyline Image copyright Emma lynch/bbc

London's Gherkin skyscraper has been sold to investment giant the Safra Group in a deal reportedly worth £726m. BBC News spoke to a consultancy firm ahead of the sale to gauge how much the capital's iconic skyline might now be worth.

It is estimated that 10 of the buildings that make up the city's world-renowned skyline could be worth more than £7.2bn ($11.4bn).

Click or scroll down the images below to find out more about the value of London's iconic buildings.

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  • Cheesegrater - Estimated Value: £850m


    Based at 122 Leadenhall Street, the building is owned by Oxford Properties, a Canadian real estate investor and developer, and British Land.

    Mike Rayner, head of development at Oxford Properties described the building as a “trophy asset” which the company was “proud to own”.

  • Tower 42 - Estimated Value: £400m


    Built in the 1980s, Tower 42 is owned by The Kirsh Group, a company chaired by South African billionaire Nathan Kirsh, and the 42-storey building contains offices, a gym, a restaurant and a champagne bar.

    Philip Lewis, the group’s head of real estate, said: “People have become familiar with it. It’s in the background on the news, it’s on postcards and sketches of the London skyline.”

  • Heron Tower - Estimated Value: £400m


    The 755ft (230m) tower is one of the tallest buildings in the City of London, containing bars, restaurants and Britain’s largest, privately-owned aquarium.

    It is owned by property investment company the Heron Group, and spokesman Henry Columbine said: “Its breath-taking panoramic vistas have made the tower a much talked-about London destination.”

  • The Gherkin - Estimated Value: £650m


    Seen by many as an iconic symbol of 21st Century London since its opening, The Gherkin is to be sold for the second time in its 10-year history.

    Brazilian investment group Safra is set to purchase the building for £726m, and said in a statement: 'While only 10 years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential.'

  • One Canada Square (Canary Wharf) - Estimated Value: £679.4m


    The building is owned by the Canary Wharf Group. It was the tallest building in the UK until The Shard was built.

    “It is seen as the main symbol for the entire development here at Canary Wharf,” say its owners.

  • BT Tower - Estimated Value: £150m (land value only)


    The tower, as its name would suggest, is owned by BT. Suzi Williams, one of the company’s directors, said: “It’s an icon, an instantly recognisable symbol of communications and technology.

    “It was built 50 years ago to connect London to the rest of the country and it is still doing that today as a major hub of communications and broadcasting.”

  • Big Ben (and the Houses of Parliament) - Estimated Value: £900m


    Big Ben’s “real name” is, in fact, the Elizabeth Tower. The title to it and the surrounding buildings, including the Palace of Westminster, is held by the Queen as sovereign.

    A spokesperson said Big Ben is “one of the greatest landmarks in the world and part of a Unesco World Heritage Site”.

  • London Eye - Estimated Value: £50m (land value only)


    The Eye is owned and managed by Merlin Entertainments, which also owns attractions like Madame Tussauds.

    “It offers a unique view of London,” said a spokesperson. “It is also a wonderful example of what London does so well which is to juxtapose stunning modern architecture alongside iconic historic buildings.”

  • St Paul's Cathedral - Estimated Value: £300m (land value only)


    The cathedral is not owned by the Church of England, as perhaps would be expected. Instead the title deeds are held in trust by the Corporation of the Cathedral.

    “It effectively means it wouldn’t be possible to sell it,” said Oliver Caroe, surveyor of the fabric of St Paul’s. “We are here to sustain St Paul’s and make it viable to serve as a central and iconic place of faith.”

  • The Shard - Estimated Value: £2bn


    The Shard is owned by Sellar in partnership with the State of Qatar. Standing at 1,017ft (310m), the 87-storey building is the tallest, occupiable skyscraper in Western Europe, say its owners.

    “We believe it has caught the public’s imagination and has been a fantastic addition to London’s skyline,” a spokesperson said.

  • Walkie Talkie - Estimated Value: £800m


    Due to open in 2015, the Walkie Talkie has been constructed by property developers Land Securities and the Canary Wharf Group.

    The 38-storey building at 20 Fenchurch Street will include a mixture of commercial and retail premises, plus a 'sky garden' set over the top three floors of the building.

EC Harris said it had arrived at its valuations by measuring their Gross Development Value (GDV) - which takes into account the income they generate, based on their floor value, quality and location.

"All commercial buildings have a GDV but public and ecclesiastical buildings such as the London Eye, the BT Tower and St Paul's are more difficult to value, other than their land value for an alternative use," said Mark Farmer, head of residential.

Estimated values were provided by EC Harris in October 2014. The total figure includes the original £650m estimate for The Gherkin and is for illustrative purposes only. The owners of Big Ben and Canary Wharf have provided their own valuations.

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