Chinese owner reportedly seeking contingency plan if insurance giant decides to leave grade I-listed building
Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners has been asked to draw up plans to transform the Lloyd’s Building in the City of London into a hotel or events space, according to reports.
Building owner Ping An, an insurance firm based in Shenzhen, China, has instructed the practice to look at ways to repurpose the office to ensure it remains commercially viable if its current occupier leaves, according to property website React News.
The news comes six months after Lloyd’s revealed it was delaying a decision on its own plans to rejig the building in response to the rise of flexible working.
The insurance giant said in January that it would revisit its intentions for the building this year when it has a “stronger grasp on the working practices of our market participants and corporation employees”.
Although the lease does not run out until 2031, it includes a break clause in 2026 which the firm could use if it wants to jump ship early.
Lloyd’s said on Friday: “As we adapt to new structures and flexible ways of working, we are continuing to carefully think about the future requirements for the spaces and services our marketplace needs.
“Currently, like many other organisations, we are considering a range of options around our workspace strategy and the future leasing arrangements for Lloyd’s.
It added that it aims to share its plans by the end of this year.
Lloyd’s statement in January appeared to leave open the possibility that the firm could leave its headquarters, something first mooted in 2014 after a former chief executive complained about the cost of maintaining its services which are famously on the outside in order to maximise floor plates.
The world-famous building was the first major commission after the Pompidou Centre won by Richard Rogers, who died last year aged 88.
It was granted grade I protection in 2011, the day it turned 30. At the time it was the country’s youngest building to receive the honour. Under the rules it could not have been listed any earlier without being under threat.
The Twentieth Century Society has warned Lloyd’s it will be watching carefully and said the building’s listing alone is not enough to protect it from potentially damaging alterations.
Ping An has been contacted for comment. RSHP declined to comment.