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London skyscraper to rise again after AXA real estate deal

[LONDON] Construction of the partially built "Pinnacle" skyscraper in London's financial district will resume this year after it was bought by AXA Real Estate in a deal announced on Friday that is reported to be worth 300 million pounds (S$627 million).

Work originally started on the building - planned to be the tallest tower in the capital's City financial area - in 2008, but was halted four years later when funding dried up. It is currently a seven-storey shell on the Bishopsgate thoroughfare.

However, AXA Real Estate said on Friday that it had exchanged contracts on the building on behalf of an international consortium of investors, and that it would partner with Lipton Rogers Developments to build the tower.

British media reported the deal was worth up to 300 million pounds. AXA Real Estate declined to comment on the value.

Building will start by the end of this year, AXA said, with completion scheduled for the end of 2018.

The planning application for the new building will be submitted in the next few months, with the Pinnacle name scrapped. There are no details as yet on whether the moulded glass panels for the original twist-shaped design of the top of the tower still feature. "We have developed an innovative design for an exceptional office tower with art and character, shaped to respect views of the City," said Stuart Lipton, a partner at property developer Lipton Rogers.