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Goldman Sachs talks to Norman Foster over new European HQ in London

Bank holds discussions with Foster and Partners, Kohn Pedersen Fox and SOM over redevelopment of Farringdon site

Goldman Sachs is pressing ahead with plans for a new European headquarters in London by holding discussions with Lord Foster and two other leading firms of architects.

The US investment bank – whose boss has gone on an internal "muppet hunt" – has discussed plans to build a new campus for its European operations on Farringdon Street with Foster and Partners, the architects behind the Gherkin and Wembley Stadium, and two US practices, Kohn Pedersen Fox and SOM. KPF designed Goldman's existing London offices.

The bank, which employs about 6,000 people in London, wants to redevelop a 1m sq ft site on Farringdon Street, around the corner from its current main offices, although construction is not imminent. It has long owned one building at the site and recently bought an adjacent one. Both are empty.

Goldman's plans suffered a setback in November when the government granted Grade II listed status to 1960s murals on the front of Fleet Building, which used to be London's largest telephone exchange. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport followed advice from English Heritage that the nine ceramic tile murals by Dorothy Annan, which depict pylons, cables, telegraph poles and generators, were of "historic interest" to the telecoms industry and had "relative rarity as surviving works of 1960s mural art".

Goldman had opposed the listing of the murals and relocating them could be costly and time-consuming.

The bank's two main offices are in Fleet Street, while the firm's asset management division is based near the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square, next to St Paul's cathedral.

Possible candidates for the management of the bank's scheme include Tishman Speyer, which already managed the construction of Goldman's $2.4bn (£1.5bn) global headquarters in New York and rival US project management firm Hines. Goldman reportedly hired Tishman Speyer last June for general real estate advice in London. The company's finance chief Russell Makowsky previously spent 20 years at Goldman in the New York, Hong Kong and London offices.

Goldman again made headlines this week after it emerged that the chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, had begun scouring emails for use of the word "muppets," a fortnight after one of its London-based bankers resigned amid much furore, claiming that was what some people at the bank called clients.

The bank declined to comment on its plans for a new headquarters. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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