UK - Oxford Properties, the real estate division of Canadian pension fund OMERS, has entered into a 50:50 joint venture with British Land to develop the Leadenhall Building in the City of London, otherwise known as the Cheesegrater.

When completed, the 47-storey building, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, will be one of the tallest in the city, at 736 feet, or 224 metres, providing 610,000 square feet of office space.

The total development cost is expected to be approximately £340m (€381m), and the final agreement between Oxford and British Land is expected to be signed by the end of the year.

But detailed planning consent is in place, and demolition and preliminary basement works have already been completed.

The shell and core of the building is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2014, and on-site construction will start immediately following the construction tender process, which will commence in January 2011.

Chris Grigg, chief executive of British Land, one of the UK's largest real estate investment trusts, said: "With its unique and iconic architecture, [Leadenhall] is a building that will provide an unbeatable combination of style, presence, location and office floor space in the heart of the City of London."

As well as offices, the Leadenhall Building will provide public space, retail and leisure facilities, with the four-storey landscaped public space at the base of the building covering nearly half an acre.

British Land said the efficient and adaptable floor plates - which range from 21,000 square feet at the base of the building to 6,000 square feet at the top of the tower - were already generating interest from a broad range of occupiers from across the insurance, financial, professional and corporate business sectors.

Oxford Properties became active in the UK in 2007 when it acquired a 50% stake in London's Watermark Place development, which opened in 2008.

The OMERS subsidiary has been building up its European operation, including the appointment of Simon Marriott from MGPA at the beginning of the year to head its acquisitions in the UK.

Last month, OMERS acquired the remaining stake in Watermark Place from UBS, giving it full ownership of the City office building.