Two more London based developers, St George and Essential Land, are also understood to be in competition for the development. Although no details for bid prices were available, the upper ceiling has been fixed at £150 million by Beetham, sources said.
Irvine Sellar’s latest move to acquire One Blackfriars comes as his another landmark property – the Shard, located behind London Bridge station and measuring over 1,000 ft, approaches completion.
Originally planned at 220 meters and 60 storeys, One Blackfriars (also known as Mirax-Beetham Towers) was later scaled down after facing opposition from the heritage lobby, the Royal Park authority and neighbouring Westminster council.
It may be recollected here that the maverick Russian chairman of the Mirax group had announced in March that the group has decided to “shut down the Mirax brand”. Mr. Polonsky had cheekily announced “I’m not a businessman anymore,” though he quickly added that the company will honour all its obligations and after the brand’s liquidation, all other projects would be developed under different brand names. Some of its projects under development were taken over by creditors, including the tallest European skyscraper, the 506 meter (1,660 ft) Federation Tower in Moscow’s new financial district. The state run OAO Sberbank, a prominent Mirax creditor, decided to complete the Federation Tower project. A Sberbank official later confirmed that the Mirax board’s decision to liquidate the brand would not impact the bank’s interest in the Moscow Federation Tower project.
Other projects in Moscow that Mirax was obliged to complete included the fifth building of the Mirax-Park residential complex, the Kutuzovskaya Milya project, including the Fort Kutuzov Tower, the Wellhouse na Dubrovke residential complex, parking garages in the Kutuzov Riviera complex and a handful of projects in the Wellhouse na Leninskom residential complex.
Mirax Group has been struggling with its finances for some time now. In 2008 after the financial crisis had struck, Polonsky was the first Russian developer to cancel future development projects due to fund crunch.
In August 2009, The Federation Tower and Mirax Plaza complexes were seized after an arbitrage proceeding went against the company and favoured Alfa-bank’s $241 million unpaid debt. In September of that year, the company managed to convince the bank and the outstanding debts were restructured.
In May 2010, Mirax technically defaulted on Alfa-bank’s loan and total outstanding liabilities for the group were calculated at $593 million, as on beginning of March 2011. Of this figure, $307 million were CLNs, $203 million loans, $83 million rouble denominated bonds, news agency RIA Novosti had reported.