Built by Laing O'Rourke, designed by Graham Stirk of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and developed by British Land and Oxford Properties, the new Leadenhall Building is 225 m (737 ft) tall, with 48 floors. With its distinctive wedge-shaped profile it has been nicknamed the Cheesegrater, a name originally given to it by the City of London Corporation's chief planning officer, Peter Rees, who upon seeing a model of the concept "told Richard Rogers I could imagine his wife using it to grate parmesan. [The name] stuck."
The planning application was submitted to the City of London Corporation in February 2004 and was approved in May 2005. In 2006 Scheme Design (RIBA Stage D) started. In a statement made to the London Stock Exchange on 14 August 2008, British Land said it was delaying the project, which was due to start in October 2010. On 22 December 2010, the developer announced the project was moving forward with contracts being signed for the 50/50 joint venture with Oxford Properties.
The new tower features a tapered glass façade on one side which reveals steel bracings, along with a ladder frame to emphasize the vertical appearance of the building. It also appears to anchor the tower to the ground, giving a sense of strength. Unlike other tall buildings, which typically use a concrete core to provide stability, the steel megaframe, engineered by Arup, provides stability to the entire structure and is the world's tallest of its kind. The base features a 30 m high atrium. This will be open to the public and will extend the adjacent plaza. The flat side of the building is also encased in glass, and houses the mechanical services – in particular the elevator shafts. These have been turned into an architectural feature in a vein similar to the neighboring Lloyd's building – they deliberately show off the elevator machinery with bright orange painted counterweights and the actual elevator motors themselves.
This unusual design's main drawback is the building's relatively small floorspace (84,424 m²) for a building of its height. However, it is hoped that the slanting wedge-shaped design will have less impact on the protected sightline of St Paul's Cathedral when viewed from Fleet Street and the west.
The development is expected to cost approximately £286 million.
In July 2011, British Land and Oxford Properties announced that Laing O'Rourke was the main contractor for the works of the new Leadenhall Building. Throughout 2011, construction began with the basement floors. By December 2012, the steelwork had progressed up to the fifth mega-level, with topping out expected in February or March. The glass cladding had also begun to rise. By June 2013, the steelwork of the building was completely topped out with the glass cladding covering almost half the building.
The construction of the building was the subject of an episode of the Super Skyscrapers documentary series by the American television channel PBS in February 2014.
In November 2014 two bolts on the fifth floor failed in-service and dropped to ground level. Following this, the bolts were tied to prevent bolt loss. A third bolt failed in January 2015, but was retained by the installed ties. The bolts were determined to have failed by a process known as hydrogen embrittlement. Subsequently, further at-risk bolts were to be replaced