Canary dwarfed! Iconic skyscraper in London's Docklands set to be overshadowed by £1bn 800ft residential tower block

  • Hertsmere Tower will have 700 apartments costing £1,600 a square foot
  • Building will be tallest residential skyscraper in western Europe
  • Warnings that 'oversupply' of luxury homes will fall into foreign hands

One of Britain's most iconic skyscrapers could be outstripped by a £1 billion tower - just 23ft taller.

A 75-storey residential block is planned within spitting distance of London's One Canada Square, better known as the Canary Wharf tower - which was Britain's tallest building for 20 years.

It will be the highest residential building in western Europe, holding more than 700 luxury apartments with breathtaking views over the capital.

The 75-storey skyscraper, left, will be called Hertsmere Tower and rise 23ft above the iconic Canary Wharf

Irish property magnate Tom Ryan is behind the plans after his firm Ryan Corporation (UK) bought the east London site for £100m.

It already has planning permission for the tower but the scheme was put under review during the recession.

Mr Ryan is set to enter talks with Tower Hamlets council to change the tower from a mix of offices, homes and a hotel to an exclusive housing-only block whose 714 apartments will cost a staggering £1,600 per square foot.

Its name will change from Columbus Tower to Hertsmere Tower and it could be finished in 2018.

Chief Operating Officer Richard Berridge said: 'We're at a moment in time when residential is something that is very popular in London and we came across a project which we thought was incredibly exciting and in an area where we think has a lot of growth.'

An old design for the skyscraper when its name was Columbus Tower. Permission has already been granted

The tower will still be more than 200ft shorter than the Shard, the tallest skyscraper in western Europe

The 794ft tower is the latest in a stream of luxury developments in the capital.

One of the newest is the 594-ft St George Wharf Tower in Vauxhall, south London, which made headlines when a helicopter crashed into the crane used to build it, killing two people.


London's clay foundations make it unable to compete with countries like the United Arab Emirates - which has eight of the world's 10 tallest residential-only skyscrapers.

1. Princess Tower - Dubai, United Arab Emirates (1,356ft)

2. 23 Marina - Dubai (1,289ft)

3. Elite Residence - Dubai (1,248ft)

4. The Torch - Dubai (1,105ft)

5. Q1 Tower - Gold Coast, Australia (1,058ft)

6. HHHR Tower - Dubai (1,042ft)

7. Ocean Heights - Dubai (1,017ft)

8. Cayan Tower - Dubai (1,008ft)

9. Etihad Towers - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (1,002ft)

10. Capital City Moscow Tower, Moscow, Russia (990ft)

Source: Council on Tall Buildings

The Heron Tower in the City of London, near St Paul's Cathedral, is the capital's third-tallest and has apartments selling for more than £4 million.

Homes in the ultra-luxurious One Hyde Park development were reportedly selling for more than £20 million when it was finished in 2009 - but there were claims that many of them were empty.

But the rush of developments has prompted estate agents Savills to warn that London, which has an affordable housing crisis and sky-high rents, could soon have too many luxury homes.

A huge proportion are not bought by British residents - instead falling into the hands of foreign billionaires.

One high-end estate agent, London Property Partners, revealed earlier this year that 85% of its buyers were from overseas.

Savills director of residential research Susan Emmett told the Financial Times this week: 'Since the recession developers have moved upmarket, targeting buyers who are cash-rich, so we have seen a disproportionate amount of building at the top end.

'A lot of the buyers are foreign investors looking to rent it out and we are questioning whether there is the level of demand for rental properties at that price level.

'Some of that stock justifies the price but we are worried that not all of it will'.

The Canary Wharf tower was the tallest building in Britain for 20 years after its completion in 1990.

It was beaten only by 1,017ft Shard, which was built in 2010 thanks to cash from investors in Qatar.

Sky-high: London has a host of luxury flats including the Heron Tower, left, and St George Wharf tower, right